Originally constructed in 1850 by the S.C. Railroad Co., the train depot has previously been the location for a multi-restaurant concepts Scarecrow, Feathertop, and Wise-Buck Smoked Meats.
Now completely transformed, Bodega’s bright and bold graffiti-filled walls and colorful tiles are a nod to bodegas found in New York with custom works from local Charleston artist Jennifer Griffith. Next door, Share House features coastal cantina beachy décor with a large bottle-cap mural and sea glass and crushed shell tabby-topped bar.
The establishment is the first permanent brick-and-mortar for Bodega, which gained popularity as a weekend pop-up serving oversized New York-style breakfast sandwiches inside the hospitality group’s Uptown Social on King Street.
Keith Benjamin, co-founder and senior operating partner of Uptown Hospitality Group, said the team began looking for a permanent location for Bodega in 2019 that offered a similar square footage to Uptown Social.
“We had our eye on 23 Ann St. for some time,” Benjamin said. “Being downtown was a must for us at the time, either on or around King Street. On a whim, we reached out to the leasing agent and as they say, the rest is history. We knew right then that we had a home for the two concepts we had been dreaming about.”
It took 15 months to build out the space for the two concepts, Benjamin said.
The restaurants have an open-air indoor-outdoor layout featuring expansive garage doors opening onto a patio that overlooks a pedestrian walkway that spans the entire block. Both are overseen by executive chef Alec Gropman.
Bodega keeps to its pop-up menu featuring New York style-sandwiches. It also offers afternoon “Bodega Boards,” a take on charcuterie.
Bodega’s coffee program from Brianna Berry, a cocktail and coffee consultant, features “Soon to be Famous,” an espresso martini made with vodka, butterscotch liqueur and cold brew concentrate.
The menu at Share House features beach bites snacks such as shrimp and avocado empanadas and street corn hushpuppies along with a slider menu that includes a crab cake on a house-made Hawaiian slider roll.
“When you walk into this place, you’ll truly feel that you’re in a beach town,” Benjamin said. “It’s really the perfect space for locals and visitors.”