Hidden F&B: Alec Gropman
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.”
Bodega is the outgrowth of a successful pop-up at Uptown Social on King Street while Share House brings the vibe of a beach restaurant downtown.
It takes a visionary — or maybe a madman — to open two restaurants at the same time just as Charleston is climbing out from a pandemic. But that’s what Alec Gropman andUptown Hospitality Groupdid when they openedBodegaandShare Housein the alley near theChildren’s Museum.
The two restaurants share a kitchen and a chef. Bodega is the outgrowth of a successful pop-up atUptown Socialon King Street while Share House brings the vibe of a beach restaurant downtown. Read on for Alec’s take on various food-related topics.
Favorite kitchen tool or gadget
AG: My KitchenAid with pasta roller. One of my first jobs was rolling pasta for two hours a day and I fell in love with fresh pasta.
In my refrigerator (3 things)
AG: Always Kewpie Mayonnaise and some sort of fresh-squeezed orange juice. And bacon. I can’t get enough of bacon.
In my pantry (three things)
AG: Vanilla bean — it’s great not just for baking, but lemonade, cocktails and my sauce work. Also spices like dried chiles. And xanthan gum because you can thicken anything with it and not affect the flavor.
AG: Coffee. I can’t live without it.
AG: Anything with rice. I like it cold with sushi or hot in a paella.
Most underrated ingredient
AG: Gochujang (red chili paste). I think five years from now, it will be everywhere.
Favorite meal to cook at home
AG: Pasta. I make a simple crab angel hair pasta about once a week.
Best advice a mentor gave you
AG: A chef I worked for came over to me and took me by the shoulders and told me a chef isn’t determined by being perfect, a chef is determined by how quickly you can react. I watched her and I saw that she made mistakes, but she just quickly fixed them. It really stuck with me.
Hear from Alec, himself, as we chat about these topics and more on this month'sHidden F&B podcast for Charleston Grit.
Curious who's hiding elsewhere? Listen to national episodes athelenmitternight.com.