The Mr. Topsoil Difference
When it comes to landscaping your home or business, it only takes a seed of an idea to begin something special. At Mr. Topsoil, we specialize in helping that dream grow into reality with unmatched landscaping supplies like mulch, topsoil, and sod.
As trusted landscaping suppliers in Johns Island, we know how important it is to have quality materials to reflect the beauty and style that you're looking to achieve. Unlike big-box stores, Mr. Topsoil offers attention to detail and stellar customer service that you just won't find anywhere else. There's a simple reason we've been in business for 34 years, and it's because we offer quality products and the best customer service in Johns Island. At the end of the day, we do right by our customers by offering them reliable deliveries and honest pricing. That's just the Mr. Topsoil way.
As locals who are born and raised in Johns Island, SC, we have a deep appreciation and comprehensive understanding of Lowcountry landscaping. Whether you're a business owner or a homeowner, Mr. Topsoil is your natural choice for landscaping materials.
Here are just a few reasons why customers consider us the best instead of the rest:
Impeccable Service - If you already know what landscaping materials you need to begin your project, let us know. We make life easy by delivering your topsoil, mulch, or sod right to your front door. If you're not quite sure, our dedicated team of professionals is here to help guide you.
Reliable Delivery - Part Mr. Topsoil's commitment is to provide dependable delivery of your landscaping materials. Time and safety are big concerns when dealing with landscaping, especially when dealing with large quantities of materials. That's why Mr. Topsoil uses a fleet of delivery trucks and drivers to cater to your needs. Curious whether we deliver to your home or business? Contact our office today to find out!
Highly-Trained Staff - At Mr. Topsoil, our landscaping experts have been around the block once or twice. There is no substitute for real-deal knowledge of landscaping, and our team has got it in spades. We're here to make your landscaping project easy and feasible, and we're here to assist with advice and best practices whenever we are able.
If you're ready to transform your yard or storefront into an outdoor oasis, look no further than Mr. Topsoil in Johns Island, SC.Contact Us
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The Premier Topsoil Supplier in Johns Island, SC
Topsoil is much more than just dirt - it enhances just about every other aspect of your landscaping project. If you're looking for long-lasting, beautiful landscaping, it all starts with high-quality topsoil that is sourced for Johns Island's climate.
Topsoil can be used in many ways to improve the overall quality and health of your lawn or garden. Generally, topsoil consists of the top layer of dirt that is found in the first 5 to 6 inches inside the ground. Topsoil, especially the organic variety, is mineral-dense, nutrient-dense, and chock-full of organic matter. That makes it a top choice by amateur and professional landscapers alike.
The best quality topsoil for gardening and growing plants isn't found in bags - it's found right here at Mr. Topsoil. We optimize our topsoils to give customers a well-balanced mix of pH levels, nitrogen levels, and the perfect mineral content. Unlike some competitors, our topsoils are formulated with the correct chemical composition needed for South Carolina's climate and native plant life. That means longer-lasting beauty, less maintenance, less back-breaking labor, and more cost savings for you and your family.
Perhaps the most essential tool at your disposal is topsoil. Topsoil can be used in a variety of ways to improve the overall health and quality of your garden and lawn. Whether you're a rookie gardener or a landscaping connoisseur, there's never a bad time to learn about topsoil uses and how topsoil can play a role in your outdoor space.
Common Uses for Topsoil in Johns Island
When it comes to essential tools in your garden, you might think a spade or sprinkler system would top the list. You wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but few folks think of topsoil as a crucial tool for gardening and landscaping. Topsoil is used in many different ways, but its main goal is to improve your lawn or garden's health and ability to grow.
So, what are some common reasons why you might need topsoil?
Keep Plants & Gardens Healthy
Flowers and plants must draw nutrients from the soil they live in to survive. These nutrients must often be replenished, and one of the best ways to do so is by adding a fresh layer of topsoil. Of course, not all topsoils are the same. You'll want to choose topsoil meant for your needs and your location. For instance, topsoil meant to help fresh veggies grow near the coast may differ from topsoil needed to reduce inland soil erosion. To find the best topsoil for your residential or commercial project, be sure to contact Mr. Topsoil - our team is ready and waiting to help answer your questions!
If rainfall causes puddles to form in your garden or grass, you might need to apply a new layer of topsoil. When soil is densely packed, drainage issues abound because water isn't able to seep into the soil. You can remedy this issue by adding a sandy layer of topsoil to areas where water is pooling. By tilling the new and old topsoil together, you will break up compacted dirt, improve circulation, and ultimately help drainage issues around your plant's roots.
Refresh Your Garden's Curb Appeal
Weeding, mowing, and planting new flowers are great for refreshing the look of your garden, but adding fresh topsoil helps complete the look. This is especially true after a long winter. Cold weather can strip the nutrients from your topsoil, leaving it dull and ineffective. Adding a new layer of topsoil instantly enhances how your garden looks!
Quality Mulch. Gorgeous Landscaping. Unbeatable Service
At Mr. Topsoil, we proudly provide premium mulch, available for homeowners and commercial businesses. With several colors and varieties to choose from, you won't have to worry about searching high and low for your one-stop mulch shop. Our mulch helps reduce weed development, retains ground moisture, moderates your soil temperatures, and even helps stop soil erosion.
Looking to keep your garden or lawn in tip-top shape all year long? Mr. Topsoil's bulk mulch products are perfect for what you need, whether you own a home or work as a property manager and need to maintain your tenant's lawns. By buying in bulk, you get the benefit of mulch delivery straight to your front door at the lowest costs around. As your top mulch supplier in Johns Island, SC, you can rest easy knowing our team loves to help our customers find the best ways to improve their landscaping. While it's true that you can buy bagged mulch at your local hardware store, these products are typically packaged weeks, months, and even years ahead of time. In many cases, these bags are stored outdoors where the mulch absorbs rainwater, chemicals, and nasty contaminates. As if that weren't bad enough, this kind of mulch is very expensive, making the price of a large residential or commercial landscaping project unrealistic.
At Mr. Topsoil, our mulch is produced from local trees and is made fresh and available immediately to our customers. With affordable rates and flexible delivery options, choosing Mr. Topsoil for your mulch delivery in Johns Island makes all the sense in the world.
Benefits of Adding Mulch to Your Home or Business in Johns Island
Gardens and other landscaped areas come in many sizes, shapes, and styles. Flower gardens add that extra special something to your home or commercial property. Veggie gardens are great for cutting back on grocery bills and add their own aesthetic appeal. If it's green and it grows, chances are it can benefit from mulch.
There are many reasons to use mulch, including:
Improve Soil Quality
As mulch breaks down and decomposes, it leaves micro-nutrients in your soil, which helps it stay fertile and great for growing. In addition, studies show that tree roots located below a layer of mulch have high counts of mycorrhiza, which help your trees live and thrive.
Conservation & Prevention
If you have a garden, you know how important it is to keep your plants watered. When you add mulch to your garden, it actually helps conserve water, meaning you may not have to break out your watering or sprinklers as often. In addition, mulch helps prevent pesky weeds from springing up in your flower beds, gardens, and outdoor living areas.
Sure, mulch adds a unique ambiance and feel to your garden or landscaping, but mulch also fosters the presence of earthworms. These slithery creatures add nutrients to your soil and help its structure so that your plants and vegetables grow healthy and strong.
Superior Sod Supplier in Johns Island, SC
Buying the right sod for your home or business in Johns Island speaks volumes. Proper sod placement can turn a dingy, dilapidated outdoor space into a pristine place where you love to spend time with friends and family. At Mr. Topsoil, we source the highest quality sod products from local farms, providing our clients with fresh, durable, clean grass. Whether you're upgrading your lawn or giving your commercial property a facelift, we have premium sod and timely delivery options to cater to your needs.
Having been in business for more than 34 years, we know that most customers have an idea of the kind of sod they want but don't know what it's called. Other times, they know the name but don't know how to install the sod. As a full-service sod provider, we can help with those issues and much more. It would be our pleasure to travel to your home or business and help you decide which kind of sod is best for your lawn our gardening project. If you need help applying the sod, our team of professionals are ready and waiting on your call.
Here are just a few ways we assist customers with their residential and commercial sod needs:
Sod Delivery in Johns Island
Mr. Topsoil's team has been delivering sod for years. Over that time, we have built an incredible amount of experience working with nurseries and landscapers. We source our sod from local farmers, so its quality is never in question. From home gardens and lawns to local golf courses and sports fields, there is no job too small or large that we can't handle.
Sod Supplier in Johns Island
As Johns Island's top sod supplier, it's no surprise that we work with local farms to get the highest-quality sod available. Quality sod means great grass and happy customers, and that's what we're all about. Our team of helpful pros will make sure your sod is delivered promptly and without error. When it's all said and done, the only thing that matters to Mr. Topsoil is your satisfaction, which is why we're not afraid to deliver near or far to meet your needs.
Yard Sod in Johns Island
Our selection of residential and yard sod is the best in our region. Our customers demand all sorts of yard sod, and we're happy to accommodate them. From different hues and textures to high durability sods meant for heavily trafficked areas - we've got it all. Need a little assistance on how to properly prep your yard? Our friendly team are happy to give you tips, tricks, and best practices to ensure your project is completed correctly.
Ready to Get Started?
Whether you're looking for a topsoil supplier in Johns Island, SC, who can deliver to your home or a sod supplier for your small business, Mr. Topsoil is here to serve you. Whether you're a landscape gardener or a weekend warrior, we've got everything you need in one place, at a price you can afford. Contact our office today for your free quote!FREE CONSULTATION
Latest News in Johns Island, SC
Kiawah Island real estate investment firm to build golf course on 885-acre Johns Is. tract
A real estate investment firm that owns the developer of Kiawah Island plans to build a private golf course on Johns Island and invest in new and existing resort and residential project locally and across the Southeast after raising $225 million in a new fund.South Street Partners plans to turn the nearly 900-acre Orange Hill tract into an 18-hole golf course community with homes. It will include a short course and a practice facility for members of Kiawah Island Club. The property between Bohicket and River roads is now used as an ou...
A real estate investment firm that owns the developer of Kiawah Island plans to build a private golf course on Johns Island and invest in new and existing resort and residential project locally and across the Southeast after raising $225 million in a new fund.
South Street Partners plans to turn the nearly 900-acre Orange Hill tract into an 18-hole golf course community with homes. It will include a short course and a practice facility for members of Kiawah Island Club. The property between Bohicket and River roads is now used as an outdoor sporting site by the private club.
The land use allows for a golf course and associated amenities as well as residential development, said Chris Randolph, a South Street partner. He said plans are still evolving for the site, and it hasn’t been determined how many homes will be part of the Orange Hill development.
The golf course will take up about 300 acres.
Part of the property is in a planned unit development through Charleston County that allows 181 home sites, a golf course, clubhouse, pro shop, amenity center and about 212 acres of preserved land.
“We are working with the county and other constituents on Johns Island for a plan that everyone is happy with,” said Randolph, whose firm is headquartered in Charleston and Charlotte.
A representative of the Johns Island Community Association did not immediately respond for comment on the proposed development.
He hopes to start development of the as-yet unnamed layout next year, followed by 12 to 18 months of construction. He also said it was too early to provide a cost estimate for the course, which will be one of the few to be built in South Carolina in recent years.
Randolph said the course would provide members with an additional golfing option and take some of the playing pressure off of the club’s two existing layouts, Cassique and the River Course, where usage has increased sharply during the pandemic. The average member played 40 more rounds in 2021 than in 2019, according to South Street.
“We think there is a new market of people who have recently moved to Charleston who would have an interest in joining a golf club like this given its proximity to the city and especially since it offers members access to the rest of the Kiawah Island Club amenities,” Randolph said.
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The course will be designed by Beau Welling of Greenville, who previously worked with River Course designer Tom Fazio. Welling also is partners with Tiger Woods in the golfing great’s golf course design business.
The vision for the new course is to create a playing experience that looks like it could have been crafted more than 100 years ago, according to South Street. It will be built around grand live oaks and feature “undulating fairways ... and Old World slopes and contours.”
The company’s future plans for Kiawah include additional residential development as well as the opening of the oceanfront Cape Club adjacent to The Cape on Kiawah, a condominium development on the sea island’s western end. The Cape Club is expected to break ground in August.
South Street also recently acquired the 131-year-old Two Meeting Street Inn on the Charleston peninsula for nearly $7.7 million. It will be refurbished and become an overnight accommodation for Kiawah Island Club members when it reopens in 2023.
Randolph said raising the money for the golf course and other developments was challenging during the pandemic but the effort attracted “outsized investor demand” because of “compelling opportunities.”
South Street Partners’ other investments from the fund include the acquisition and development of the 20,000-acre Palmetto Bluff community in Bluffton near Hilton Head Island.
The company also has its sights set on other resort properties across the Southeast from south of Washington, D.C., to Florida and west to Texas.
“We are continuing to look for opportunities,” Randolph said.
Those could include existing properties or new developments.
South Street also owns The Cliffs communities across the mountains of South Carolina and North Carolina as well as The Residences at Salamander in Virginia.
Upcoming Johns Island restaurant will serve ‘traditional meets modern’ Mexican fare
Chef Alex Yellan is nearing the opening of what he hopes will be his dream Mexican restaurant.Named Colectivo, the destination at 2901 Maybank Highway will cater to a local Johns Island crowd, serving Mexican food that Yellan himself craves — dishes you might actually find in Mexico, perhaps with a cheffy twist.“I think for me that’s one of the things that’s most exciting, is having the chance to cook for a larger portion of locals,” Yellan said. “It’ll be cool to be a part of that grow...
Chef Alex Yellan is nearing the opening of what he hopes will be his dream Mexican restaurant.
Named Colectivo, the destination at 2901 Maybank Highway will cater to a local Johns Island crowd, serving Mexican food that Yellan himself craves — dishes you might actually find in Mexico, perhaps with a cheffy twist.
“I think for me that’s one of the things that’s most exciting, is having the chance to cook for a larger portion of locals,” Yellan said. “It’ll be cool to be a part of that growing Johns Island crowd out there.”
Born in Arizona, Yellan spent a summer living with a family in Mexico during college, taking residence there again in his 20s with a former co-worker. Colectivo’s menu will be influenced by this experience and techniques he learned throughout his career in professional kitchens.
“We’re trying to find that line between traditional and modern,” Yellan said. “Mexican food is living and breathing just like any other cuisine.”
After leaving his post as executive chef at downtown Charleston wine bar The Tippling House, Yellan started testing out Colectivo dishes at a friend’s house. Carnitas ribs, shrimp cócteles, bone marrow birria sopes, cochinita pibil and potatoes with Edam cheese are a handful of dishes that could land on the forthcoming restaurant’s menu, which will feature a mix of small plates and larger mains.
Colectivo’s tacos and burritos won’t arrive as they do in other Charleston restaurants. Similar to a barbecue restaurant, meats will be served by the pound along with sides and stacks of house-made tortillas.
The idea is to share among the table.
“You’re going to see the chef on some plates, but when it comes to the meats, I’m kind of over the idea of doing the chef-curated taco,” Yellan said. “What we just want to have is really nicely cooked meats with their garnish and their salsa and everyone’s grabbing at it and enjoying that family-style.”
Mexican meats and sides aren’t the only thing that will be shared at Colectivo, which will open for dinner Wednesdays through Saturdays. On Mondays and Tuesdays, Yellan will lend the 75-seat venue to former Xiao Bao Biscuit colleague Jamey Fairchild, who will serve food from his Gingerbug pop-up. Guests who visit on those nights can expect Thai curries and charcoal-grilled snacks.
Colectivo is targeting a fall opening. Before the restaurant debuts, Yellan plans to host a series of pop-ups starting in August.
James Island couple claims they’re out thousands after contractor never did work
JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A couple on James Island thought they were well on their way to renovating their back deck after hiring a Lowcountry contractor. But after the contractor took their money, they say the work never got done.Don Geddes and his wife have lived on James Island for more than two decades. They recently revamped their front steps and in September of last year decided they wanted to pull the trigger on renovating their back deck as well. They wanted a certain material and Geddes says Travis Tardiff of Tardiff Builde...
JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A couple on James Island thought they were well on their way to renovating their back deck after hiring a Lowcountry contractor. But after the contractor took their money, they say the work never got done.
Don Geddes and his wife have lived on James Island for more than two decades. They recently revamped their front steps and in September of last year decided they wanted to pull the trigger on renovating their back deck as well. They wanted a certain material and Geddes says Travis Tardiff of Tardiff Builders initially came recommended by the company that makes the material.
“The deposit was 50 percent of the job,” Geddes says. “The job was $15,000 and we wrote him a check for $7,500. And that’s the last time I saw him.”
Geddes says Tardiff started out by emailing them updates.
“I wrote him that check in September,” Geddes says. “We would get emails that told us where we were in the process. He said some of the material had come in, and then he said the material had come in but not the railing.”
The last email though came in March when Geddes says Tardiff dissolved the contract.
“He said the money orders are in the mail – but we never got that,” Geddes says.
Geddes also found, out after the fact, that Tardiff’s contracting license with the state expired months before even taking on the job.
Attempts to reach Tardiff through multiple forms failed. The email account listed was not accurate and bounced back. Some of the phone numbers listed were out of service. One phone number made it to voicemail, but it was full. The address for the business listed is now occupied by another company.
At this point, Geddes has filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and says his next step is to take the matter to small claims court.
“We also need some kind of emotional closure to this – because it was a violation in a way for us,” Geddes says. “But doing the interviews with the new people are more exciting because I’m going to be counting on these people to do the work they promised to do.”
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.
The 12 Best South Carolina Islands to Visit
PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. You can learn more about that process here.You’ve already been charmed by Charleston, maybe even made the trip to some ...
PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. You can learn more about that process here.
You’ve already been charmed by Charleston, maybe even made the trip to some of South Carolina’s best small towns like Bluffton, Georgetown? and Mount Pleasant. But there’s a lot more awesomeness waiting to be discovered in the Palmetto State…or, shall we say, just off the coast. South Carolina has some really incredible islands that are perfect for vacation, whether you’re intrigued by pirate lore, love exploring salt marshes, fancy a birdwatching holiday or just need a stress-free escape where wild horses run free.
One of South Carolina’s most popular tourist destinations for a plethora of reasons, Hilton Head Island offers an incredible mix of natural wonder, upscale delights and outdoor activities. You can book whale watching and dolphin spotting boat charters, hit the links, go cycling, hiking and kayaking, play tennis and polo, do some shopping, snap pics in front of the red-and-white-striped Harbour Town Lighthouse and, of course, catch some rays on the beach.
No doubt you’ve heard of Hilton Head Island and Savannah in the neighboring state of Georgia. Sitting just off the coast between these well-known vacation destinations is a tiny hidden gem called Daufuskie Island with a population of just 500 residents. There aren’t hotels or big-name attractions. Instead, it's a place of peace, quiet and magical natural wonders—bottlenose dolphins bob in the waters and loggerhead turtles nest on the shore.
In terms of true vacation destinations, Kiawah Island is a hole-in-one. It has a huge gated luxury beach and golf resort with loads of swish accommodation and amenities like world-class fairways. You don’t need to be a guest to explore the island, which is open to the public. Daytrippers from Charleston often drive over to enjoy the sandy beaches, hiking and biking trails, tours at Heron Park Nature Center and Marsh Island Park.
4. CAPERS ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA
A pretty, undeveloped barrier island oasis, Capers Island is the perfect spot for a family vacation. Beaches, maritime uplands and salt marshes provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor adventure. It’s excellent for birdwatching and wildlife peeping. Be sure to bring your camera to the eye-catching “boneyard beach” where old tree stumps dot the sandy expanse. Bonus: accessibility from Charleston means no long travel days with the kiddos.
5. DEVEAUX BANK, SOUTH CAROLINA
By now you’ve likely gathered that birding is a big deal in South Carolina. Deveaux Bank, a horseshoe-shaped spit of sand at the mouth of the North Edisto River estuary, takes it to the next level as the island actually encompasses a 215-acre sanctuary that’s a protected nesting habitat for many sea and shorebirds. If you’re keen to see eastern brown pelicans and black skimmers, hightail it over to Deveaux Bank.
Seabrook Island is a downright dreamy place to live or visit. A lot of people choose to reside in this private, oceanfront community. That’s because it’s pretty as a picture with natural beauty galore, nationally recognized birdwatching, two award-winning golf courses, near-empty beaches, a racquet club, an equestrian center and stunning houses we’d happily call home. And the fact that it’s just a few miles from downtown Charleston yet retains a sense of seclusion definitely helps, too.
A nature lover’s dream, Bear Island feels rugged and remote despite sitting just an hour outside Charleston. This undeveloped and pristinely beautiful 12,021-acre Sea Island is part of the ACE Basin estuarine reserve area and managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. That translates to ample opportunities for bird watching (it’s among the top-ranked spots for twitchers in the entire state) and wildlife viewing, fishing, hiking and biking.
For a fantastic family-friendly holiday, consider Edisto Island. A laid-back Lowcountry Sea Island not far from Charleston (some people even call it home and commute into the Holy City, just to give you a sense of proximity) that’s approximately 68 square miles and has loads of low-key appeal in the form of sandy beaches and outdoor activities for all ages, including hiking and camping in Edisto Beach State Park.
Fripp Island doesn’t scream "Shiver me timbers" in that really obvious sort of way. But its treasure hunting past is really interesting and the legends live on. Though, these days, the most seaward of the barrier islands feels a lot less pirate and more residential vacation resort with sandy beaches, tennis courts and golf courses. It’s also a designated wildlife sanctuary. Visitors and residents frequently see great blue herons, wood storks and dolphins.
If you’ve spent some time in South Carolina or are generally familiar with the Palmetto State, Beaufort probably rings a bell. Port Royal Island is the island where the aforementioned seaside city resides. There are beautiful beaches, scenic walking trails, boat tours and tons of opportunities for birdwatching. It's also a popular pick for foodies, specifically seafood lovers who come from far and wide to sample fresh-caught Lowcountry fare.
11. CALLAWASSIE ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA
Callawassie Island may be one of the hundreds of barrier and sea islands, but this 880-acre private slice of paradise just 17 miles from Beaufort sets itself apart from the rest with its coastline, tidal creeks, lagoons, salt marshes and moss-draped trees. There’s also a butterfly garden and a golf course. Callawassie Island is accessible via the half-mile-long causeway that connects it to the mainland as well as by boat.
Sure, bigger isn’t always better. But, then again, sometimes size ups the appeals of a place. Sprawling 738 acres, Johns Island, the largest island in South Carolina and famously a filming location for The Notebook is enchantingly beautiful with miles of wooded trails, farms and lakes. Back to the whole size thing…its most famous feature, the massive ancient Angel Oak stands a whopping 65-feet tall and shades an area of 17,000 square feet.
Minero’s 2nd act provides space for new Johns Island restaurant to reach its full potential
For those who frequented Minero during its tenure on East Bay Street, driving from downtown Charleston to Johns Island for charcoal-grilled chicken wings, cheese-crusted burritos and catfish tacos might not feel right.That is until you pull into the spacious gravel parking lot and walk through the large covered patio to the hostess stand where you’ll put your name in the queue. A wait is almost guaranteed — especially as the new restaurant works through an industry-wide staffing shortage — but Johns Islanders and oth...
For those who frequented Minero during its tenure on East Bay Street, driving from downtown Charleston to Johns Island for charcoal-grilled chicken wings, cheese-crusted burritos and catfish tacos might not feel right.
That is until you pull into the spacious gravel parking lot and walk through the large covered patio to the hostess stand where you’ll put your name in the queue. A wait is almost guaranteed — especially as the new restaurant works through an industry-wide staffing shortage — but Johns Islanders and others who made the drive on June 22 didn’t seem to mind.
Some formed a short line at the indoor-outdoor bar for a margarita or pint from nearby breweries Estuary Beans & Barley and Low Tide Brewery. Others gathered outside, where there’s plenty of room to roam.
The new compound is a far cry from the tight downtown quarters Minero occupied from 2014 to 2020, a venue that required patrons to walk up steep stairs to a small, albeit quaint, dining room. Now, it takes just a couple steps for the up to 175 people that Minero can seat indoors and out to order the dishes and drinks that gained a following during its downtown days.
While the original Minero was wildly popular, the new space offers the restaurant room to reach its full potential with a lively ambiance that pairs with new and exciting flavors from executive chef Shamil Velazquez.
‘The guests know this food’
Velazquez isn’t new to the Charleston area. For three years, the Puerto Rican-born chef has been demonstrating his ability to deliver sophisticated, elegant food in a casual setting at Delaney Oyster House on Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston. Before that, he helmed the kitchen at a now-closed Husk outpost in Greenville, where he served the hyper-local Southern cuisine that’s become synonymous with the restaurant first opened by Sean Brock.
So we know Velazquez has range in the kitchen, but recreating Minero’s favorites presented a new challenge for the chef.
“The guests know this food, they know what they’re looking for, they know what it tastes like,” Velazquez said. “So I have to make sure it looks and tastes exactly the same as they had it so that food memory recall can just activate when they take that first bite of that wing or that catfish taco.”
Velazquez credited Minero chef de cuisine Teikel Stafford for helping with the transition. Stafford was a part of the opening team at the original Minero back in 2014, making him the ideal candidate to lead day-to-day operations on Johns Island, giving Velazquez the flexibility he needs to also lead the kitchen at Delaney Oyster House. Charcoal grilled wings tossed in Valentina hot sauce ($16), burritos ($13-$19) and the beef and chorizo double cheeseburger ($17) are among the options that returned to Minero when it opened in June.
Minero’s menu of seemingly rudimentary appetizers and entrees are anything but, starting with the tacos. Corn and flour tortillas are made in-house, a two-day endeavor. Right now, the kitchen is churning out more than 300 of each daily for fried catfish, al pastor, chicken, steak and cauliflower tacos (2 for $11, 3 for $16).
“We’re just striving for the best quality taco we can possibly provide to the guest,” Velazquez said. “It’s definitely been the most challenging thing to do even though it seems like the simplest.”
Labor of love
Tortillas aren’t the only labor of love at Minero. Others hint at Velazquez’ upbringing in Santa Juanita, Bayamón, located on the outskirts of San Juan. Eating empanadas was a near-daily occurrence for Velazquez during his youth in Puerto Rico. But the fried and filled savory turnovers weren’t initially slated for Minero’s menu, despite the success of his Caribbean beef empanadas at Delaney Oyster House.
Velazquez and his team instead set out to serve taquitos — a tightly rolled fried taco of sorts — but the cooking process was drying out the pork filling.
They turned to the empanadas ($15), one of Minero’s top sellers since its opening.
“We wanted to have some sort of fritter on the menu, and empanadas were at the bottom of the list just because they are very labor intensive,” Velazquez said. “We get to roast the pork for 24 hours the Puerto Rican way; Puerto Rican with a couple little Mexican flavors in there.”
The crispy kan kan pork tomahawk ($44) also combines Puerto Rican and Mexican flavors. Drawing on the popular island combination of pork and guava, Velazquez brines a custom-cut of pork before marinating it with sofrito, a paste-like sauce commonly made of onions, peppers, garlic, cilantro and other ingredients, depending on the chef. The colossal chop is then par-baked, fried and tossed in a guava barbecue sauce and served with avocado, sweet plantains, red rice and beans.
“It’s a lengthy process, but I think it’s worth every penny. It’s definitely something you have got to get used to because the skin is not something that everybody’s into,” Velazquez said, discussing the crisp, chewy skin that develops around the edge of the chop. “For me personally, gnawing on the skin and all that, it reminds me a lot of home and my childhood.”
The few flashes of Puerto Rican influence fit at Minero, and that’s by design. Velazquez’ detailed approach to the menu combines a desire to draw on nostalgic tastes while staying true to the Minero concept.
“I’m obviously not Mexican. I didn’t grow up with that culture, but it’s very similar in the sense that Mexico is also all about sharing and using the best resources around you to create something delicious to share with your family,” Velazquez said. “That resonates well with me, and that’s why I’m able to put some of my dishes and crossover between the two.”
Perfecting the process
Nearly half of Minero’s seats are located on the covered patio, separated from the dining room by an open garage door, where the bar is located. An outdoor overflow space is equipped with cornhole boards and benches, allowing patrons to have a place to sip on a drink from the bar while they wait for a table.
Having ample outdoor space was a big priority, said General Manager Kevin King, who joined Minero after previously leading day-to-day operations at Husk.
“We were definitely expecting to be busy so we wanted a place for people to feel comfortable,” King said, discussing the bar. “We have the garage door open, so you have that nice open feel.”
Speaking of the bar — King developed a cocktail menu that draws on the original Minero with a few new twists. The Minero Margarita ($13) is served as it once was, with reposado and añejo tequilas, fresh lime, orange juice, curaçao and agave. Between that, Minero’s do-it-yourself margarita and a “lite” variation served with blanco tequila, lime and sparkling water, King says they are selling quite a few margaritas.
The entire cocktail menu, which also features a frosé sangria ($10) and other boozy beverages, is void of sugar. Instead, King steeps lime husks in agave to create what’s called a lime cordial that adds citrus and sweetness to many of the drinks.
Minero is a big place, and diners might notice empty tables if they visit in the coming weeks. It’s a prime example of why patience and kindness are key in today’s dining landscape. King said decisions on how many tables the restaurant can handle are made daily with the goal of not overextending the staff.
“There’s a huge demand for the space,” King said. “You can do as much training as you want, but when it comes time for game time, we have to be on it.”
So far, getting enough business to dial in their process has not been a problem, as a line of excited diners usually forms just before 4 p.m. Wednesday though Sunday, the days Minero is currently open.
That line could get even longer and more frequent once the business reaches full capacity, allowing for the addition of its highly anticipated lunch and brunch services.