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Last call for chicken biscuit at renowned Charleston eatery

April 9, 2019 GMT

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — An acclaimed South Carolina restaurant that built its reputation by elevating simple Southern food is closing at the end of April, with the owner saying he’s ready for something new.

Hominy Grill owner Robert Stehling, who won a James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef Southeast in 2008, announced the news Monday, the Post and Courier of Charleston reported . Stehling was the first of three Charleston chefs to win the prestigious prize in the span of three years, cementing the city’s reputation as a culinary destination.

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“Things have a beginning, a middle and an end,” he said. “I felt like at this point in my life, I would like to be open to new experiences.”

Stehling said that he opened Hominy Grill with a mission of focusing on the culture and history of the South.

“I wanted (Southern cuisine) to feel respected,” Stehling said when asked about Hominy’s legacy. “The food at Hominy made people look at their food, and think, ‘The food I grew up with stands up with French cuisine and Italian cuisine.’”

He said he doesn’t have any big plans for the restaurant’s last month, in part because he doesn’t know if his longtime employees will stay until Hominy Grill closes. He said he expects a crush of farewell visits, including from devotees of the restaurant’s signature chicken breakfast biscuit.

“I’m trying to make as much sausage gravy as I can,” Stehling said, noting a key ingredient in the biscuit sandwich.

Stehling said he isn’t anxious to jump into another project — beyond seeing his daughter through her senior year of high school.

“I need to really decompress,” he said. “I’ve got a few good years to have fun. I don’t want to make up my mind yet.”

Stehling said he ultimately decided against selling Hominy Grill, which means he isn’t bound by a non-compete agreement that would bar him from reviving his favorite elements of the restaurant in a different setting. Monday, he mused that he might be interested in doing a pop-up restaurant.

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Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com