Food & Drink

First Look: Charleston Chef Jason Stanhope’s New Restaurants

An exclusive look inside Lowland and the Quinte

A man sits in an elegant dining room with his feet on a chair and notebooks at his hand

Photo: Matthew Williams

Chef Stanhope at work in Lowland’s second-floor Dining Room in front of a hand-painted Dean Barger mural.

This August, after fifteen years in the kitchen at FIG, chef Jason Stanhope announced he was stepping away from the award-winning Charleston restaurant founded by Mike Lata and Adam Nemirow. “I had a ten-year plan at FIG,” says Stanhope, who joined Lata’s team in 2008 and was named executive chef in 2014 before taking home Best Chef: Southeast honors at the James Beard Awards in 2015. “But then I started making babies, and then the pandemic hit, and so my timeline stretched to fifteen.” And while he received plenty of offers during that time, it wasn’t until the team at the Philadelphia-based hospitality group Method Co. approached Stanhope that embarking on a new endeavor finally felt right. “No other offer checked all the boxes as far as my work life and my personal life,” he says. 

The new partnership was ambitious. It meant reimagining Method Co.’s existing restaurant the Quinte, an atmospheric raw bar off King Street that shuttered in June, while also launching Lowland, which offers both a tavern and a tasting menu experience, all in a matter of months. The pair of restaurants falls under the hospitality umbrella of the Pinch, Method Co.’s twenty-two-suite boutique hotel on the corner of King and George streets. (Charlestonians know it as the longtime home of the former Bob Ellis shoe store.) Both restaurants are slated to open today, Thursday, November 16. If you head to Resy now, you might still snag an early table. 

Located directly below the hotel, down a cobblestone alley off George Street, the Quinte 2.0 pulls inspiration from its former life as a billiards room popular with visiting sailors and has been redesigned as a more approachable space—less precious but still special. “I envisioned it as the kind of place where somebody who just came home from a fishing trip is sitting next to somebody in a suit and tie who just got off work,” says Stanhope, who collaborated with Method Co.’s in-house designers to dress down the moody space. Starting with a Wes Anderson–inspired Life Aquatic color palette, the team installed new lighting, including hand-painted globes by the artist Reverend Michael Allen, and swapped out much of the art to reflect Stanhope’s new vision. (Vintage rock-and-roll prints mingle with antique oil paintings.) Finally, they draped a large sailcloth above the restaurant’s twelve-seat oyster bar. 

Even the raw bar offerings are scaled down, with build-your-own shellfish platters replacing larger fixed towers. The rest of the well-edited menu includes a roster of oyster-bar classics such as a local seafood chowder, mini lobster rolls, and a Stanhope spin on traditional Crab Louie, as well as a few standout turf offerings like the roast beef sandwich with house-made pickled vegetables and horseradish. 

Across the cobblestone alley, Lowland’s two new concepts—the Tavern and the Dining Room—occupy the first and second floors of the restored Lequeux-Williams House, a former private residence that dates to 1843. The first-floor tavern is more casual than the second-floor tasting menu concept, but both lean into the warmth and nostalgia of American taverns, British pubs, and Japanese izakayas. 

“On the first floor you can get a burger at the bar, but you can also get an incredible bottle of Burgundy or highly allocated champagne,” Stanhope says of the Tavern. The menu here is relatively small, with comforting classics like crispy quail and a deceptively simple grilled fish in a buttery broth, as well as house-made biscuits and pepper jelly. Stanhope got a crash course in biscuit making from the Savannah pastry queen Cheryl Day. “It’s important to me that our menu tiptoes the fine line that connects approachable with deft technique,” he says. That balance of luxury and approachability extends to the redesigned Tavern space, which retains the building’s original wood-burning fireplace and pine floors. A copper bar, custom bronze wall lanterns, leather armchairs, and a collection of other antiques and objets d’art, many from nearby Tucker Payne Antiques, complete the look of the comfortably elegant space.  

The second-floor Dining Room is swankier with emerald-green banquets, mahogany tables, and a floor-to-ceiling mural by the artist Dean Barger. Reservations won’t open up for the tasting menu experience for another few weeks, but Stanhope describes the forty-seat space as a culinary playground for his talented kitchen staff. If you’re thinking tiny, fussy plates and even smaller wine pours, think again. Instead, personality and playfulness inform the robust, rotating menu. “[The Dining Room] is this really collaborative effort where we pick something we love and then we just go for it,” he says. “We may do a red sauce night and just do our takes on old Italian classics. Or one of my favorite restaurants is in San Francisco, the House of Prime Rib; we’ve tossed around doing a ‘House of Prime Rib Night,’ where it’s creamed spinach and potatoes and prime rib and martinis and Yorkshire pudding.” 

Underscoring the convivial nature of both the Quinte and Lowland, Stanhope has let loose his passion for champagne, developing a comprehensive program that runs from prominent Grandes Marques labels to smaller, hard-to-find grower champagnes, all chosen to complement the seafood program at the Quinte, Lowland’s homier menu items, and it’s more refined plates alike. 

A dark dining room with a marble bar and bar stools

Photo: Matthew Williams

Hand-clipped tile flooring with a custom floral mosaic, stained wood paneling, and a personal collection of vintage rock-and-roll prints and antique oil paintings lend the Quinte a relaxed elegance. 

Matthew Williams

The Quinte’s custom twelve-seat, marble-topped oyster bar is the dining room’s real star.


A table with wine glasses and a seafood tower

Photo: Matthew Williams

Chef Stanhope takes a relaxed yet reverent approach to champagne and has developed a unique collection designed to complement both Lowland’s high-low menu and the Quinte’s raw bar offerings.


Matthew Williams

The wood-paneled Bar Room inside Lowland’s first-floor Tavern.


A long, cozy dining room with exposed beam ceilings and brick walls

Photo: Matthew Williams

An antiqued copper bar greets guests inside the Bar Room at the Lowland Tavern. Original floors, Venetian damask wallpaper, restored wood-burning fireplaces, and custom bronze lanterns add warmth to the atmospheric space.


A dining room with a set table, painted wallpaper, and windows with draped curtains

Photo: Matthew Williams

The second-floor Dining Room’s swanky bar.


A dining room with painted walls and a couple of set tables

Photo: Matthew Williams

Velvet banquets, mahogany tables, and artist Dean Barger’s floor-to-ceiling mural set the stage for Lowland’s second-floor tasting menu experience.


A parlor room with yellow walls, pendant lights, a set table, and a pattern painted on the wood floor

Photo: Matthew Williams

Thoughtful details like hand-painted floors elevate the Lowland Tavern dining rooms.