Located on a quiet stretch of upper King St. in Charleston, South Carolina, the recently opened St. Alban is something of a chameleon. It’s a coffee shop, but ending the description there doesn’t do justice to its robust and delicious food menu. Or you could call it a restaurant, but with a casual, order-at-the-counter and linger awhile vibe. You could even call it a shop, since the sun-dappled front room features a cute little cabinet of curios for sale (including, we’re proud to say, Short Stack Editions).
Essentially, it’s as close as we’ve ever come to finding that perfect European-style, all-day hangout spot stateside. Named after an English martyr, St. Alban is the latest endeavor of entrepreneur Brooks Reitz. Brooks first caught our attention as the creator of Jack Rudy, a line of bar tonics and syrups that we adore. But he’s been a fixture of the Charleston restaurant scene for years, formerly posted at chef Mike Lata’s fabulous spots, FIG and The Ordinary.
When we caught up with Brooks by phone, he was chatting mid-bike ride. We asked him what it was about Charleston that enabled him to be such a force, and he replied, modestly, “I hate to be cliché because I feel like this is what everyone says when asked this question, but truly, for me, it’s the community here in Charleston. There’s no way I could have done what I’ve done if i was anywhere but Charleston. It’s just been insanely generous. And of course the beaches and weather and all the natural beauty here doesn’t hurt either.”