HIDDEN F&B: Michael Shemtov

Helen Mitternight

By Helen Mitternight 

(Editor’s Note: Charleston is such a foodie town that food and beverage superstars are hiding in plain sight, out of theJames Beardlimelight, but still very much creating and serving amazing food and drinks. This series profiles Charleston’s “hidden F&Bs.")

We're continuing to profile heavy hitters hit hard by the pandemic. Our latest special Coronavirus Edition features Michael Shemtov.

The entrepreneur andCollege of Charlestonalum is convinced that the restaurant industry won’t be profitable until the second quarter of 2021. And, if that sounds grim, keep in mind he runs several successful restaurants — so pay attention to his forecast. Shemtov ownsButcher & Bee,The Daily,restaurant incubator/exploratory food courtWorkshop,as well as severalMellow Mushrooms.

Mellow Mushroom kept doing pizza takeout throughout the shutdown, and The Daily did limited takeout. The decision about what to do at each restaurant was “staff-driven,” he says, with staff pledging to curtail activities and contact to keep each other safe.

“The health of one is the health of all," he adds.

Shemtov is the driving force behindPay it Forward Charleston,a group of restaurateurs who solicit donations to buy food that would go to waste during the restaurant shutdown, and package it into bags of weekly groceries for food and beverage employees.

“We have people from about 200 different restaurants signed up, and we peaked at about 1100 bags of groceries in one week,” he explains.

Even after the Coronavirus crisis is over, Shemtov says the initiative will continue as an ongoing emergency fund for hospitality staff who always, in his words, “live right on the margin.”

You can do your part to help by making adonation.

Want to find out what else he has to say? Tune in toEpisode 23 of the Hidden F&B podcast with Michael Shemtov here!