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The Establishment to open Thursday

Staff //May 14, 2018//

The Establishment to open Thursday

Staff //May 14, 2018//

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The Establishment will open at 28 Broad St. on Thursday. The restaurant is owned by Concentrics Restaurants, which also owns Dockeryƒ??s on Daniel Island. (Photo/Patrick Hoff)

The Establishment is scheduled to open for dinner service Thursday.

The restaurant, at 28 Broad St., is owned by Atlanta-based Concentrics Restaurants, which redesigned the interior of the 1791 building to upfit it for the restaurant’s needs and to combine 26 and 28 Broad St. into a single facility. The design and construction took over two years to complete.

“It took a while, and it usually does when you’re working with older buildings, because there are guidelines that you have to follow,” said Concentrics partner Todd Rushing.

“We look at restaurants sort of like an artist looks at a canvas,” he said. “What is it going to give you? And that’s what was really exciting about this, because the interior makes you excited, but then you look at the exterior and the really wonderful neighborhood around us.”

Concentrics also owns Dockery’s on Daniel Island, which opened in November.

Rushing said the company was attracted to Broad Street for The Establishment because it sees opportunity, between the businesses located there and the foot traffic from tourists.

“We wanted to be a restaurant that was part of the community, be a restaurant that had some — you know, could be a staple, and also find an area that we think things are going into,” Rushing said.

He said one of his main goals is to make The Establishment a comfortable place for Charleston residents, who he said often get lost in the crowds of tourists.

“We wanted to be a place where people were comfortable coming and being their neighborhood spot, and being a place where they’re … recognized,” Rushing said.

Rushing said The Establishment will be open only for dinner because he said a restaurant’s reputation is built on dinner; he added that he would rather focus on that than be one of the many restaurants that fight for customers in the hour-and-a-half lunch time frame. He said, though, that The Establishment may consider serving brunch in the future.

This will be the 46th restaurant Rushing, who lives in Atlanta, has opened. He lauded Charleston as a culinary destination but said it’s the toughest market he’s ever experienced in terms of staffing.

“There’s not enough hospitality workers to support its current level of restaurants, and my guess is hotels are probably in there as well,” he said. “I don’t know why that is, because I don’t live here, but … you know, it’s frightening.”

Rushing said he can usually staff a restaurant in about 30 days, but with The Establishment, he started looking for staff at the beginning of the year and was still looking for people in April.

The Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, the Charleston Area Hospitality Association and the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau have been working with local partners to find solutions to the industrywide workforce shortage, including finding alternative sources of employees and making sure employees have a way to get to work. One initiative is the Hospitality on Peninsula Park and Ride Lot and Shuttle, which started last month.

To make his business more attractive to employees, Rushing offers free parking to staff and gives bonuses to any employee who recommends a friend who gets hired and stays at least 90 days. The new employee also gets a signing bonus.

“We try to be competitive because, I mean, the shortage is pretty vast,” he said.