The anticipation has been growing as residents watch the Chapin Commons development continue to come together across from Chapin High School on Columbia Avenue.
There will be five new eateries opening in three of the spaces, owned by parent company Happy Fork. Company CEO Ron Pereira said each dining concept was based upon the needs and demands of the Chapin community.
According to Pereira, the first restaurant opening will be Chophouse of Chapin. He described it as a "nice, upscale chophouse with an obvious emphasis on steaks, specifically a signature Tallow steak." According to Happy Fork's website, Tallow is the process of coating the beef with hand-churned beef butter, then hand-cutting the steaks after 60 days of aging. The restaurant will offer a vast wine selection with an in-house wine sommelier to help pair guests' courses. The restaurant will also feature a full bar.
The next dining option will be a dessert bar called Deca Desserts, located inside Chophouse's space. "It's an open floor plan but with two different doors," said Pereira. Deca - short for decadent - will offer in-house made desserts and "adult" milkshakes. Pereira said although there are two separate bars, customers of Chophouse can order a dessert prepared at Deca, and Deca customers could order menu items from Chophouse. "We're there to please our guests," he said. The two eateries will both operate from 4 to 11 p.m., seven days a week. A lunch menu is expected to be incorporated down the road.
The third Happy Fork concept will be a breakfast establishment called Bakon. "Obviously, we're going to focus on bacon," Pereira laughed. "Some of the things we'll feature there are candied bacon flights - depending on the seasonality, we'll have different flavors of candied bacon with everything done in-house." Additionally, the restaurant will offer breakfast charcuterie boards with items like french toast and pancakes. Mimosa flights with different natural ingredients will be available, as well as a variety of Bloody Mary options.
Modern Fresco will be the fourth restaurant planned for Chapin Commons. Pereira said it's a "bowl-type concept" meant to meet a variety of dietary trends. "If you decide you're on the keto diet, or maybe you're vegan or gluten free or dairy free, all our choices will be signatured with a mark of dietary trend. Items gluten free will be marked with "GF," keto with a "K," etc. The bowls will have ingredients like quinoa, cauliflower rice, chicken, beef and other proteins, according to Pereira. Modern Fresco will offer dine-in seating, but will also have a drive-thru option catering to families-on-the-go. "We're creating an elaborate pick-and-choose menu for children, teens, and adults to where they're eating healthy and it tastes wonderful," he said. The restaurant's items are also intended to be affordably-priced.
The fifth option will be for Chapinites with a sweet tooth. Orange Blossom Bakery will be attached to the Modern Fresco space and will have a dual drive-thru. Pereira joked that with Modern Fresco offering healthy options, the bakery will offer the complimentary not-so-healthy options. Orange Blossom's specialty will be doughnuts and coffee, with everything made in-house. Pereira explained one of the special items will be called an "apple ugly." "It's a huge massive doughnut made of fresh apples," he said. "So you might want your healthy bowl, but you say, 'You know what, I just worked out. I think I want a doughnut,'" he said.
All of the restaurants will offer ample outdoor, covered seating.
Chophouse of Chapin and Deca are anticipated to open in April - although Pereira said it's been difficult to predict due to COVID setbacks. Despite the delays, the hiring process has begun. Pereira said the restaurants will create about 120 jobs in Chapin. Anyone interested in applying can visit happy-fork.com and click the "join our team" tab.
Pereira said all Happy Fork restaurants will work to give back to Chapin through donating proceeds toward community-driven projects. The company's slogan is "Because we give a fork," and Pereira said Happy Fork truly cares about the communities in which their restaurants are located.
Although Pereira did not confirm, he said it's possible another Happy Fork restaurant will occupy a fourth space in Chapin Commons down the line - but said details will have to remain a surprise for the time being. There is also discussion of additional Happy Fork developments coming to nearby Midlands locations. Pereira said that will also be developing in the months to come.