FED serving "American eclectic"

Nick Arbuckle, the 30-year-old owner of the newly opened FED in Mount Pleasant, has moved away from the Charleston area just once. And now that he's back, he's vowing not to leave again.

After spending eight years at Langdon's, Arbuckle helped open Latitude 32 outside of Atlanta. The short-lived restaurant featured global food from the 32nd parallel (don't bother consulting an atlas: it stretches from Georgia to Sichuan to Iran), which may help explain why Arbuckle chose a more basic concept for his first independent venture.

"American eclectic is the best way to describe it," he says. "It's not fine dining, but a step above average."

The main course portion of the menu at FED, which is an acronym for Friends, Eats and Drinks, includes three taco preparations, three burgers, meatloaf, grouper, smoked salmon, sesame-crusted tuna and pork chops. "Vegetarian dishes available upon request," the menu notes.

Arbuckle also notes the lobster ceviche and fried green tomato chips on the menu, which he calls "just small enough that it's not corporate."

There's seating for 80 at the restaurant, located at 1109 Park West Blvd. Arbuckle says plans call for the addition of an outdoor patio next year.

Although all of the beer at FED is bottled, Arbuckle says there are a few impressive entries on the wine list, which features varietals such as Picpoul and Mencia.

FED is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 531-5881 or check out facebook.com/FriendsEatsDrinks.

Lee Bros. offer Beard dinner

The James Beard Foundation journalism awards ceremony, at which Matt and Ted Lee are serving as emcees and first-course cooks, is a private affair. But a local sneak peek of the brothers' awards dinner dish is free and open to the public.

On April 29, the Lees and dish collaborator Matt Greene of Duvall Events will host a tasting demo at the catering company's North Charleston headquarters. The event includes wine, with liquor drinks available for purchase.

Details of the dish have not yet been disclosed, but the Lees are apparently pumped.

"Chef Greene pushes us to dream bigger than we often plan to with our menu, and we are excited to have him cooking with us at the prestigious James Beard Media Awards in May," Ted Lee is quoted as saying in a release.

Because there's an attendance cap for the 5:30 p.m. tasting, reservations are required: email info@DuvallEvents.com to claim a seat.

Duvall Events is at 2816 Azalea Drive.

'The Other Halls' is on track

One of the perpetual complaints about downtown Charleston dining is the dearth of upscale lunch options. The problem's particularly pronounced on Upper King Street, where burgers reign at midday. But a forthcoming lunchroom from Halls Chophouse may mitigate the problem.

According to an application filed with the Board of Architectural Review, the steakhouse wants to transform the former La Fourchette space at 432 King St. into "The Other Halls."

Although general manager Tommy Hall was reluctant to release any details, he revealed that plans include fine dining lunch service. The menu is still being developed.

Private events will be prioritized at night, but the room will provide overflow seating for Halls if it's not otherwise booked.

"We have big plans," Hall says.

The opening is projected for July.

High Cotton changeover

A Slightly North of Broad sous chef is taking over the High Cotton kitchen.

Shawn Kelly replaces Joe Palma, who, according to a press release, "after fulfilling his two-year commitment to High Cotton, is exploring entrepreneurial opportunities in the Charleston region."

Kelly, an Ohio native, graduated from Johnson & Wales in Charleston. He's spent 11 years working under Maverick Southern Kitchens' executive chef Frank Lee.

"In recent years, Kelly has been responsible for the Maverick element of the Slightly North of Broad menu, introducing unexpected seasoning and ingredients to familiar food of the region," the release says.

While at SNOB, Kelly created the restaurant's most popular drink: A cocktail of bourbon infused with local honey, ginger ale and orange bitters, originally designed to support a local farmer's fundraising efforts in the wake of a barn fire. In reference to the relationships Kelly forged with Lowcountry producers, the release says, "Chef Kelly is expected to pursue a similar culinary path at High Cotton."

High Cotton is at 199 E. Bay St.

Arnold bids goodbye to The Grocery

The Grocery's Hallie Arnold, who last fall memorably created a Post and Courier cocktail for StarChefs.com's Charleston event (OK, it looms large in our memories), has accepted a position with Bombay Sapphire.

According to The Grocery's Facebook page, Arnold worked her last shift the first weekend of April.

Arnold, a member of the last graduating class at Johnson & Wales' Charleston campus, racked up a series of awards while bartending for The Grocery. She was a finalist in Bombay Sapphire's national search for the "Most Imaginative Bartender," and her vodka cocktail was chosen as the official cocktail of this year's Charleston Wine + Food Festival.