#Huangry: The Anchorage
I haven't written about food in a while. That's partly because of time constraints — I ended 2016 on a tear of travel, which meant less time and energy to devote to writing my column. But the real culprit is simply this: I haven't actually been excited by any of the developments in Greenville's food scene.
THAT CHANGES WITH THE ANCHORAGE.
There are a number of reasons for my excitement.
There's the guy behind the restaurant, Chef Greg McPhee. I met him over a year ago, when he had just taken over as executive chef at Restaurant 17. I was interviewing him for TOWN — both a Q&A session, as well as a little feature on his bar burger at 17. Even then, I was struck by how articulate, personable, and considered he was. He was a genuinely nice, genuinely talented chef. That is a rare combination, in my experience.
There's the location. It's in the building across the street from the Community Journals office in the Village of West Greenville. It was a wreck of a space before the upfit, and even now, there are still substantial risks in setting up shop where there's little foot traffic and a neighborhood with a rep for being rough. But it could also be the catalyst that kicks off the Village's growth in earnest. I find that incredibly compelling.
There's the space. There's been a substantial upfit—including the tearing down and rebuilding, brick by brick, of an entire wall. But the result is worth it. Airy, tons of natural light, a lofted second floor where the bar resides, a nautical color scheme of deep blue and white; brass and gold fixtures — this space looks designed in conjunction with the restaurant concept. It's a rare thing in Greenville to have the space working to enhance the eating experience, rather than just serving as a dining room. It's also rare to have a space embrace brightness, rather than rustic and masculine design cues like dark woods, unfinished planks, and leather.
There's the local art. McPhee and his team took pains to include local artisans. Paintings, plant installations, light fixtures, plates, bowls...it's all from local craftspeople and artists.
There's the attention to detail. I'm not talking about the food or the drink. I'm talking about the bathrooms, where you can find mints, Q-tips, bobby pins (if you're in the women's restroom), etc. Even that experience has been thought out by McPhee.
There's the food and the drink. I'll be offering specific thoughts in another post, but for now, understand that I'm excited by every item on the menu, and everything I've tried has satisfied. There are, of course, standouts, but there hasn't been a single experience where I found myself wanting.
In fact, the only complaint I have for The Anchorage is that the (three-legged) barstools are too unstable for people who are drinking excellent, boozy cocktails.