James Beard semifinalists

Many familiar names in Charleston, along with a couple of new ones, showed up last week as semifinalists on the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards list.

The list of locals being considered for the “Oscars of the food world” is led by The Ordinary, which is nominated for Best New Restaurant. The oyster bar and seafood house opened in late December on Upper King Street and was recently named on GQ’s list of “The 12 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2013.” It’s the latest restaurant venture of Mike Lata, who previously won Best Chef Southeast in the awards, and business partner Adam Nemirow.

Sean Brock of McCrady’s and Husk restaurants is up for Outstanding Chef for the second consecutive year. He was declared Best Chef Southeast in 2010 before the opening of Husk later that year. Brock was recently among 20 chefs nationwide selected by Saveur magazine to be part of its first ever Chef’s Advisory Board.

Charleston also has three chefs among semifinalists for Best Chef Southeast: Jeremiah Bacon of The Macintosh, Craig Deihl of Cypress and Joshua Keeler of Two Boroughs Larder.

Charleston Grill at Charleston Place Hotel is a contender for Outstanding Wine Program.

On March 18, the foundation will reveal a list of five finalists in each category at the historic Lowndes Grove Plantation at 11 a.m. The winners will be announced May 6 during a gala ceremony in New York.

Sweet spot

Cupcake will make life sweeter by staying open later. Cupcake, 433 King St., will keep its doors open from 10 p.m.-midnight (or until sold out) Thursdays through Saturdays for Mini Madness.

A variety of mini cupcakes will be available for $1.25 each. Cupcake also will offer coffee, espresso and cappuccino. Call 853-8181 for more info.

Tea Room

The ninth annual St. Paul’s Tea Room and Gift Shop will be open 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. March 4-5. On the menu: signature tomato pie, a trio of salads and homemade desserts.

This year, they will feature a new cookbook and take-out. Call 873-1991 to place an order. Local delivery within 2 miles is also offered. Funds raised go to the various ministries supported by St. Paul’s, 316 W. Carolina Ave. in Summerville.

Go to www.stpaulssummerville.org for details and directions.

Going hog wild

Ted’s Butcherblock is throwing its annual BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival weekend event from noon-5 p.m. Saturday.

This year, Ted will be cooking up a rare acorn-fed Berkshire hog from Eden Farms and preparing it as a true Italian porchetta, served with sides of sauteed rapine and panzanella salad for $14 a plate.

There will be a selection of local craft beer on tap and live music from The Bushels.

Ted’s is at 334 East Bay St. Call 577-0094 or go to www.tedsbutcherblock.com.

Kosher fro-yo

Sweet CeCe’s is about to become fully kosher certified. Certification will assure that the ingredients, foods and production equipment used in making its frozen yogurt adhere to the standards of Jewish dietary laws.

Sweet CeCe’s is at 99 South Market St. Call 277-2108.

New chef

With the departure of chef Dusty Chorvat to Crust (see item under “Now open”), Vespa on Daniel Island has hired chef Amanda Beame, and she’s already brought changes to the menu.

New pizza toppings, additional sandwiches, pasta sauce and desserts are just a few of the changes to their menu.

Vespa is at 224 Seven Farms Drive. Call 881-0101.

Menu expansion

The Original Ms. Rose’s Fine Food & Cocktails, 1090 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., is now offering half-price burgers and $3 craft beers on Monday nights after 4 p.m. Call 766-0223.

Sunday service

Sermet’s Courtyard, 115 River Landing Road on Daniel Island, will be closed for Sunday dinner service, but it is expanding brunch hours and menu. New Sunday hours are 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Now open

Ninja Express has opened in the former Slices location at 6150 Rivers Ave. They are open daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Check out what Lunch Counter had to say about the spot on Page 11.

Crust, a pizzeria, has opened at 1956B Maybank Highway. This wood-fired pizza parlor is the business venture of Steve Watkins and chef Dusty Chorvat.

The Holiday Inn Charleston, 425 Meeting St., has opened The Meeting Room, a restaurant and tapas bar. It is serving breakfast daily 7 a.m.-10:30 a.m., Happy Hour 4-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and dinner daily from 5-10 p.m. Call 718-2327.

Sushi swap

Tropical Sushi at 320 Coleman Boulevard, Suite L, has closed. Tasty Thai and Sushi at 350 King St. will open its second location in this former pan-Asian eatery in Mount Pleasant.

Movers and shakers

Black Bean Co. is on a roll. It has closed the 116 Spring St. location and has moved into the site of Bubba Slye’s Deli at 429 King St. Plans continue to open another location on Savannah Highway by spring.

In the works

Mark and Nancy Oswald, owners of the franchise rights to Ruth’s Chris Steak House, are actively looking at properties in Charleston.

Past partners

Revolutionary Eating Ventures is no longer a partner in the Royal American, 970 Morrison Drive. REV’s loyalty cards can no longer be used at this bar and music venue.