Ruth’s Chris to open in former Tristan space in downtown Charleston

By Ashley Barker
Published June 2, 2014

Ruth’s Chris Steak House is planning to open a Charleston dining spot in the former Tristan restaurant space at 55 S. Market St., according to a news release.

The new restaurant’s valet service will be at the main entrance of the French Quarter Inn. The nearly 7,000-square-foot facility will also incorporate a portion of the current Harley-Davidson retail store at 57 S. Market St., which is moving to Summerville at the end of the month.

Ruth's Chris is planning to open its first Charleston location in the fall in the former Tristan restaurant space. (Photo/file)Tristan, owned by The InterTech Group CEO Anita Zucker, is now focusing on catering and events until a new restaurant opens at the end of the year at 492 King St. Executive Chef Nate Whiting will run 492, which is under renovation.

Ruth’s Chris will be co-owned by Mark and Nancy Oswald, the brand’s largest franchisees, and is expected to open in the fall with 75 employees. The Oswalds also operate Ruth’s Chris restaurants in Greenville, Columbia and Myrtle Beach, as well as Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

“It is exceptionally fitting that our Charleston restaurant will be situated adjacent to the French Quarter Inn, as New Orleans is the birthplace of the Ruth’s Chris brand and a significant part of our culinary heritage,” Nancy Oswald said in statement.

Michael O’Donnell, chairman and CEO of Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc., said the Oswalds, industry veterans, have had success building the Ruth’s Chris brand throughout the Southeast.

“Mark and Nancy are known for their involvement in the community they serve,” O’Donnell said in a statement. “I am confident they will bring this passion and dedication to Charleston and ensure guests have experiences that will delight and create memories for years to come.”

John St. John, who was general manager of High Cotton from 2009 to 2012, will work as general manager of Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Charleston. For the past year, he led the Ruth’s Chris in Atlanta.

Richard Morse and Joe Keenan, of Palmetto Commercial Properties Inc., represented the landlord, The Charleston Market LLC, in the property lease. Keenan also represented the tenant, Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

The owners are working on the project with officials from the French Quarter Inn and The Spectator Hotel, which is expected to open in spring 2015. Both properties are managed by Charlestowne Hotels.

Reach staff writer Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker on Twitter.

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