Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hallelujah Attacks!

Stanton asked me to post his shameless advertisement here so he can get back to to hot dog blogging:

"The most controversial piece of public art in Charleston comes to life and takes its revenge on naysayers!" Buy your print at Zazzle!

MOXXEE Coffee Update

While there have been signs of life at Moxxee Coffee lately, a peek in the window reveals that while it is no longer an empty shell it is certainly nowhere close to opening.
The last post on Facebook was in September: "Unfortunately, we hit a snag on the interior design, something we are using took a little longer than anticipated, and we cant move forward until it is in place. Sorry for the delays, but we are still trying to put on the finishing touches."
Seriously, Moxxee folks; It's almost November - the next November after you promised to be "open soon." Perhaps a realistic update? Leave a comment here or post to your Facebook page.
Just give us a sign.

Friday, September 03, 2010

It's September - Do you know where your Moxxee Coffee is?

The wait continues. They promised a soft opening in August. The place looks no closer to opening than it did in July.

A year and a half is a long time to wait on anything. To continue to lie to your potential customers about when you are opening is bad business.
At this point I have serious doubts about this place ever opening. This happens all the time in the business world: Someone is a good cook and opens a restaurant: Six weeks later it closes. Apparently these guys really like coffee: Really liking coffee doesn't mean you know how to open a business. Perhaps this book should be on their reading list.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hallelujah at Night

In October 2009 the Clay Center dedicated a 64 foot tall, 198,000 pound Albert Paley sculpture entitled "Hallelujah". Hallelujah has been a polarizing piece of art in Charleston since its installation last year in the center of the Clay Center's circular driveway. Many people say it looks like rusted wreckage of some kind while some are enthralled by its size and mixed-metallic finishes. Personally I like Hallelujah, although I don't think it goes well with the facade of the Clay Center. I'm sure that the museum architect groans every time he sees his work being dwarfed by the imposing presence of this huge sculpture. It looks like an afterthought - which is exactly what it is.

Hallelujah at night, isolated from the Clay Center building by darkness, takes on a completely different look. Ever since the lights were installed I have been wanting to get some photos of the sculpture against the black nighttime sky. Last evening I finally got the chance.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

MOXXEE Coffee Still Not Open

MOXXEE (MOXXEE) on Twitter: "Metal artist is completing bar. We will put finishing touches on and train staff. Then free soft open for twitter followers." That was their last post on July 12.
They have put a lot of money into this little building and while I can't say I like their exterior design choices, they seem to know what they want. These folks must have a huge bankroll to be able to let an investment sit this long with no return.

Their facebook page previously indicated a soft opening in August. It's late August and no sign of life.

Come on guys, you can't keep treating us like this. Tell us the straight scoop.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Moxxee Coffee Progress

While I'm not advocating holding anyone's breath due to their previous track record for slowness, there are signs of life to report at Moxxee Coffee: Some concrete and asphalt has been laid outside, a little work on the rear of the building has been done and Pray Construction have been sporadically onsite over the past several weeks. This could mean that the owners are finally serious about opening.

On June 8th their Twitter feed said "Finishing buildout within a month, then we will start training and perfecting cappuccino for you so we can aid that walk."

This tiny building could have been built from scratch four times in the 15 months that the "Coming Soon" sign has been up. If Moxxee's committment to training is anything like their committment to construction, look for the first cappuccino to be served in time for the next presidential election.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pies and Pints Opening August 1

In today's Daily Mail there is a story about the August 1 opening of "Pies and Pints" on Capitol Street. I wish them well. We need more downtown evening dining spots in Charleston.

I hope that August 1 is a realistic date, that building has a LOT of problems. It is a very bad thing when an eatery advertises an opening date and then misses it. It makes people lose enthusiasm and become disinterested or even somewhat disdainful.

And speaking of delayed opening, Moxxee Coffee is showing signs of life again. It looks like they have hired Pray Construction. This is a good move: Pray is expensive but they know how to finish projects. Who knows? Maybe - just maybe -we'll be able to warm up with a hot cup of Moxxee coffee sometime this winter. But I'm not getting my hopes up.

Oh, and one more piece of news on East End openings: "Frutcake" is now open in the former location of Delish Express. If anyone has tried it fell free to leave a comment/review.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Apparently "Moxxee" is a word that means "slow"

While the definition of "moxie" is "The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage" I could not find a definition of the similarly sounding "Moxxee". But the East End coffee shop that first said "Coming Soon" over a year ago named "Moxxee Coffee" is quickly providing a new adjective for the Charleston lexicon. Here's how to use it in a variety of sentences:

"I64 west is a Moxxee every evening from 5:00 till 6:00. I can't wait for that new bridge to open."

"The library fundraising sure is Moxxeeish. You think they will ever raise the money now that the Clay Foundation is gone?"

"Boy were those checkout lines at the Deleware Avenue Kroger were Moxxeed up last night!"

Charleston sure is Moxxee to get a decent coffee shop.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jones, Richardson and Hardy

This should be interesting.

The article in today's Daily Mail expands on a brief mention in the weekend paper that Mayor Jones has publicly endorsed Andy Richardson for County Commissioner. This might seem surprising to some, since Dave Hardy is such a well respected and popular commissioner. Why would Mayor Jones take a chance on aligning himself with a losing candidate? Especially one from another party?

The following facts make it not terribly surprising:

First, and most importantly, Jones and Hardy had an open feud not too long ago. Anyone who knows the mayor knows that if you openly disagree with him that he will vehemently strike back. Ask any of the current or former City Council members who have ever stood in opposition to anything Danny wanted. Jones' vehemence can be heard in his statement to the Daily Mail:
"I don't think it's even close." Jones said, comparing Richardson to Hardy; "He's a seasoned person who has actually done something." The implication, of course, is that Hardy has done nothing.

Secondly, don't discount that Andy Richardson was part of the Underwood family (formerly married to Cecil's daughter) and even though he was a member of the Caperton cabinet, he is still a beneficiary of at least some of the Republican political machinery that remains. Since Jones is arguably the leading Republican in the state he might be somewhat obliged to support Richardson.

That said, Andy Richardson is certainly not unqualified for the position. He worked in the public sector for many years and served on South Charleston's City Council. While Dave Hardy has made the upper Kanawha Valley his focus, Richardson is a lower KV guy with his roots in Charleston and South Charleston. Both are seemingly well respected in the lawyer community and should have the ability to raise some major bucks.

I don't care who wins, I just hope the race is close so we can see more of Danny's meddling on display.

Giving the Devil his Due

In my last post I speculated that Mayor Jones would torpedo the resurrection of the Quarrier Diner because it will interfere with the library plans. A couple of days after I wrote that, the mayor said that he would prefer spending money on a new civic center instead of a new library. So either he made the statement before he checked with his old money friends who are heavily into the library fundraising mode or he earnestly is opposed to it. If it is the former, expect to see him crawfishing soon; if it's the latter, kudos are in order.

I love books, and I love the library, but Charleston does not need to spend $30 million on a new library. Period.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Positive News for Downtown - but wait...

Although it was by sheer accident, real downtown revitalization took a major step forward yesterday.

CURA, who has a history of creating "economic development" opportunities by creating vacant lots, paved the way for the re-opening of the former Quarrier diner by agreeing to sell a 12' strip of land to the new owners of the Quarrier Diner building. I say it was an accident, because it was only because the FBI decided against the next door site for their new office building than enabled CURA to make the transfer.

The Quarrier Diner is a beautiful Art Deco building that deserves preservation and the downtown is in desperate need of after hours dining options, so this is a win-win for downtown.

But hold on: Mayor Danny Jones is concerned -according to the article in today's Gazette - about parking for the restaurant. Come on, Mayor; most people who will eat there for lunch are already parked downtown, and the dinner crowd will have no competition for parking any night of the week. There are dozens of on-street spaces and there is a parking garage on the next block. Please, Mayor Jones, do not start your anti-business bellyaching and run these investors off before they even get started!

One might suspect that the library fundraising people will not be happy that the Quarrier Diner will remain to mess up their $30 million facade. The names on the library supporters list are also major supporters and allies of the Mayor. Could it be that his parking objections are the first indication that the administration will do whatever they can to torpedo the Quarrier Diner project?

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Lethargic Tendencies of New East End Food Establishments

It's peculiar to watch how slow new business openings take place on the East End. When Blue Grass Kitchen opened several years ago, about nine or ten months lapsed between the advance newspaper publicity and the actual opening. Then, Tricky Fish took almost two years to open. Now, the Steele's are working on their third eatery, called "Fruitcake," which will be in the former location of "Delish Express". This place was already restaurant ready, but in the two months or so since the new place has been under construction it looks like it has taken a step backward in readiness.

But lest you think it is just the Steele's that are so deliberate in opening, I submit you "Moxxee Coffee." This tiny stand alone building on the corner of Morris and Lee Streets has been under construction for well over a year. They have a Facebook page and a twitter account where they give updates on their ever more distant opening date: Last May they predicted September; Then in September they said "first of the year"; In November, they said "hopefully March". It's now mid-April and the facebook and twitter pages have been silent since February and no visible changes have been made to the building since November. Since I live about a block away I was pretty excited for a while to have a coffee shop nearby, but not so much anymore.
Besides, their logo looks strangely like a biohazard symbol to me.