Kristen Kish Will Open her First Restaurant in Charleston, S.C.

The former Barbara Lynch Gruppo chef and Top Chef winner will say goodbye to Boston, her home of 10 years—for now.

All good things must come to an end, including Kristen Kish’s time in Boston. The former Menton chef and Top Chef season 10 winner announced over the weekend she’s opening her first restaurant in Charleston, S.C.

Kish is joining forces with Brooks Reitz, a restaurateur of the hospitality firm Neighbourhood. Kish has been frequenting Charleston for about three years, and met Reitz through a mutual friend. He “is incredibly talented, I jive with him, our conversations were always fantastic and inspiring,” Kish recalls. “What [the Neighbourhood group is] really great at is creating independent restaurants that don’t necessarily feel like they all belong together.” 

Reitz and Kish are in the real estate phase of development right now, and a name for the restaurant and its full concept remain to be determined. “At the end of the day, I’m bringing what I know how to do best. It’s clean, it’s simple, it’s refined, it’s classic. I don’t look at it as fancy, but I look at as a bit more artistic and polished version of my cooking, all based on technique,” Kish says.

The menu will be well-rounded, with influences from the city’s proximity to the coastline, as well as nearby dairy and cattle farms; “salad-y kinds of things,” and house-made pasta, thanks to nearly a decade of Barbara Lynch’s guidance

“The possibilities are quite endless, very similarly to being in Boston. We’re right on the water, so there’s New England seafood, but there are also really great wheat products, grains, meats, vegetables,” Kish says.

So, could Boston hold onto hope that she may return someday?

I’m thinking about taking one step in front of me, which is finding the right space and opening a really great restaurant in Charleston,” she says. “This experience, and the way I’ve looked at my life since leaving Menton, is to have experiences where one can lead to another and another, and open up many, many doors and other options. There’s no telling what this one will make me do.”

In a handful of months, Kish will move full-time to Charleston.

Boston really is and will always remain a version of home for me—that’s where my best friends are, it’s the city I’m most familiar with. Outside of being raised in Michigan for 18 years, it’s the one city I’ve stayed this long, which is huge for me,” she says. “Boston will always be there. Maybe I will come back. Who knows? It’s been an incredible city to watch my career grow. The support in Boston for me, bar none, has been some of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It really shaped who I am as a cook.”

Keep in touch with Kish and Reitz on Instagram as they develop their Charleston restaurant, so you know when it’s time to book your visit.