The Larder

Nestled among the trees and homes of North Augusta’s Hammond’s Ferry is a new local eatery and bar led by Manuel Verney-Carron, chef and owner of Manuel’s Bread Café, Blue Clay Farms and now, his newest addition, The Larder. Designed to serve as a neighborhood deli, grocery store and bar, The Larder features pre-made deli items, a selection of gifts and spreads, tapas-style small bites and a bar boasting craft cocktails with the freshest of ingredients.

With a name that alludes to what Kentucky knows as a “root cellar” and what England knows as the “pantry,” The Larder’s name is perfect for its atmosphere and offerings, all tucked among a thriving and social community. “We see it becoming the neighborhood hub,” Verney-Carron says—a place where locals can join for coffee and a quick breakfast, a cocktail on the patio, to purchase a gift basket for a friend or even for a little jaunt on The Larder’s bikes before a picnic. “You can order from the lunch menu and with the purchase of a picnic basket you’re welcome to borrow the bikes,” says Verney-Carron. “We’ll prep the meal and have a picnic spot ready for you when you return.”

With inspiration coming from French and Mediterranean cooking, diners and bar-goers can expect lots of local items, plenty of herbs and even seasonal specialties like soft shell crab and fresh Beaufort, S.C., shrimp. Inside the cozy and well-decorated space, the walls feature a variety of artwork from local artists.

With a few current offerings and more in the works, diners can also purchase premade meals for a quick “home cooked” meal, such as beef burgundy and lasagna. A few of their notable items include a Cuban sandwich inspired by Verney-Carron’s time working and living in Miami, a Pan Bagna sandwich which he describes as a niçoise salad on a ciabatta bun, a daily selection of homemade empanadas and a giant meatball where the diner can choose the type of meat and the sauce to finish it off. Verney-Carron recommends the pork and veal with fennel topped with a tomato-basil sauce for a delicious and traditional nosh.

Finally, the Larder’s inspired deli, market and bar isn’t the only thing visitors can look forward to. Verney-Carron says they are hoping to host a local farmers market in the wooded area next to the restaurant beginning spring 2017. Menus and more can be found at hflarder.com.

“You can order from the lunch menu and with the purchase of a picnic basket you’re welcome to borrow the bikes.”
       -Verney-Carron

 


 

Lagniappe
“A little something extra”

Created to fill the need for a local bar and lounge, The Larder’s full liquor bar provides delicious cocktail options for every palette, day and night. With freshness as a priority, The Larder incorporates produce and herbs from Blue Clay Farms and even fresh squeezes citrus for its cocktails. Try out the Southern Spritzer featuring hibiscus-infused Tito’s vodka, simple syrup, lime and allspice dram. Also, interested in a slow Saturday morning? Stop by for a Bloody Mary Bar in the morning to pair with your bagels and lox or even a fried-to-order beignet.

 


 

Sip

Sometimes a little bit of creativity can go a long way when building a business. Marty Koger, owner of Tip Top Taps in Evans, found himself dreaming of something new when he closed his gas station on Washington Road in May 2014. After discussing ideas with family and seeking inspiration from growler shops throughout Atlanta, Koger opened Tip Top Taps, a craft beer growler shop. Featuring an interior design inspired by a neighborhood pub and décor crafted and built by Koger and a colleague, Tip Top Taps features a rotation of 20 taps on the “wall.” Changing consistently, guests will always find one tap the same: ACE Pineapple Cider. In addition to that, a local brew from Riverwatch Brewery and soon one from Savannah River Brewing Company will always be part of the lineup.

Other than those taps, beer-lovers can check out the daily offerings online through Tip Top Taps’ DigitalPour system, all hand-selected by the shop’s barkeeps, who are not only beer aficionados, but also many of them homebrew their own beer. “They have the passion for beer,” says Koger. “They understand what goes into it, how it’s made, the hops in the particular beers and what each one contributes.” And the best part about it? When a keg is blown, a new beer goes on tap. “This gives our customers the opportunity to find new styles and new breweries to enjoy each time they visit.” Plus, in Columbia County customers can sample the beer before making a decision and committing to a Growler (64 ounces), Howler (32 ounces) or a Party (gallon Growler). The most recent addition to the lineup is a 32-ounce Crowler, a recyclable can perfect for a spontaneous beer fill-up.

Speaking of traveling, beer lovers have even more opportunities to get their craft beer fix. The Tip Top Taps team leads brewery crawls in Asheville, N.C., allowing customers to head directly to the source and experience some of the finest beer the Southeast has to offer. Beer lovers can find the currently tapped kegs and details about tours at tiptoptaps.com. If you see something you like, head on over to the shop before the keg runs low!

Other than the few taps that remain consistent, Koger says, “We are also well known for the imports we offer. So many of our customers have traveled the world with the military and are familiar with these beers.” 

 


 

Artisan

“To take a bite out of childhood hunger one bar at a time.” That is the mission of Antebellum Chocolate Company, a locally owned handmade chocolate company dedicated to fighting childhood hunger. Founder and Chief Food Giver, James Stefanakos, grew up in the kitchen alongside his mother, the director of a gourmet cooking school. After years of visiting his favorite chocolatier near his parents’ home in Ohio, Stefanakos had a sweet idea. He knew he needed access to delicious chocolate after his parents’ move—so in 2014 he decided he would make it himself.

Stefanakos knew there was one thing that was of the utmost importance to him. With every bar purchased, Stefanakos donates a meal to a local food bank. To date, more than 9,100 meals have been donated through the Golden Harvest Food Bank and Hungry No More. Passionate about eliminating hunger and giving back to the local community, providing meals to children isn’t the only way he is supporting the CSRA. Antebellum is partnering with Megiddo Dream Station, a comprehensive program designed to creative self-sustaining families, to offer internships to students in the hospitality and culinary programs. Finally, Stefanakos purchases as many of his ingredients from local vendors as possible. Fan favorites with local flair are his two coffee bars: Midnight Oil and Rocket Fuel, which feature coffee from Buona Caffe hand swirled into the bar.

Every bar is made in small batches in his Graniteville shop. From melting the chocolate to adding unique flavor pairings, Stefanakos takes pride in the process from start to finish. Once the bars have hardened, he hand-bags, seals and labels the bars with labels featuring artwork created by his
three children.

Constantly inspired by his kids, three of Antebellum Chocolate Company’s bars are named after them: Maia, Xander and Phebe. “The PheBe & H bar was inspired by my daughter’s favorite sandwich: peanut butter, honey and cinnamon,” Stefanakos says. This bar is not only a perfect flavor pairing, but the honey is sourced locally in Bamberg, S.C., at Colston Honey Bee Farm.

With the holidays right around the corner, Stefanakos is prepping for seasonal favorites like the Country Pumpkin and the Christminty.

Do you have a flavor combination you think would be a winner? Antebellum Chocolate Company even offers Chocolate Workshops each month, as well as private workshops, where visitors can try their hand at handcrafting a bar of their own. While you’re gathering inspiration for your flavors, you can purchase bars online and find retail locations at antebellumchocolates.com.

“The PheBe & H bar was inspired by my daughter’s favorite sandwich: peanut butter, honey and cinnamon.”
     –Stefanakos

This article appears in the October 2016 issue of Augusta Magazine.

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