By Stephanie Kalina-Metzger
Charleston will soon be home to a new sandwich shop thanks to Chef Michael Toscano who is, once again, investing in Charleston with a new eatery. Da Toscano Porchetta Shop is slated to open in the spring at 109 President St.
The acclaimed chef started his career in New York City as executive chef at Eataly in the Flatiron District, before moving on to open Perla Ristorante, a contemporary Italian eatery in Greenwich Village where he worked as executive chef.
While in New York, Toscano earned a number of accolades and was recognized not once, but three times, as a James Beard Rising Star Chef semifinalist.
A trip to Charleston for an event inspired Toscano and his wife Caitlin to move south approximately seven years ago. “I was invited to cook at the Charleston Wine+ Food Festival and we fell in love with the town, the chefs and the restaurants. By this time, we had our second child and knew we wanted to get out of New York City,” said Toscano.
When the couple arrived in Charleston, they continued their restaurant careers by opening Le Farfalle Osteria, at the former Leaf space at 15 Beaufain St. in Harleston Village. Those familiar with Le Farfalle know that it’s known for serving elevated Italian fare like Agnolotti with duck confit, funghi misti and Parmigiano Reggiano, coriander crusted duck breast, and lamb chop “scottadito,” which, according to Toscano, means “burned fingers,” because that’s what tends to happen when he serves chops so delicious that customers can’t resist eating them piping hot.
Toscano made the decision to open his newest restaurant after a successful pop-up held at his Beaufain Street restaurant.
“We decided to do the pop-up because my wife and I had been on a few trips, more recently to Tuscany and Florence, and we were inspired by little kiosks doing small sandwiches as street food,” he said. The couple gave it a try at Le Farfalle and people happily lined up to order porchetta sandwiches served on focaccia with aged provolone and Salsa Verde.
Toscano said that da Toscano Porchetta will be open for breakfast and lunch and will serve a signature sandwich he describes as a roasted whole pig, deboned and rubbed with rosemary, fennel, garlic, chili, black pepper and salt and rolled into a big log where the skin is exposed to make it crispy when cooked.
“Everything will be based on our warm and crusty focaccia made from scratch daily,” Toscano said. Additional offerings will include a prime rib sandwich, a vegetarian option made with marinated eggplant, ricotta and sun-dried tomatoes, a rotisserie chicken sandwich, along with a selection of salads and vegetables. “Most of the meats will also be sold by the pound,” said Toscano, who expects a brisk business. “It’s right by the hospital where there is a lot of foot traffic,” he said, adding that he’ll also be filling a niche by offering frozen take-and-bake dinners.
“We’re looking forward to cooking and serving the quality food that we are known for at our new location,” Toscano said.