Braised and Glazed, Charleston’s new pop-up concept offers internationally inspired dining with a little memory in every bite.
The traveling kitchen is owned by Chicago transplants Adrian and Taylor Ion, who have been in Charleston since 2018. The original concept, Adrian says, had been on his mind since before he left Chicago.
Prior to moving to Charleston, Adrian was a chef for Urban Counter, a Chicagoland fast food chain. “I was a business owner in suburban Chicago,” he said. “But it wasn’t really creative. It was the same, you know, sitting in traffic and dealing with anything. So in my spare time I’ve come up with quite a few concepts that I’d like to imagine as brick and mortar, and Braised and Glazed is one of them.
After a visit to Charleston seven years ago, the couple decided that if an opportunity presented itself to move to the holy city, they would take it. And in 2018, that opportunity presented itself when Taylor received a job offer at TRIO, a marketing agency in Mount Pleasant.
With the many concepts swirling around in his head, Adrian thought a food truck would be the best way to bring one of his ideas to fruition. However, the pandemic changed his plans and the food truck was delayed.
As the world continued to settle back into its new normal towards the end of 2021, the Ions began to “test the market” with a pop-up residency at House of Brews in the fall. “I knew in my mind and in Taylor’s mind that the concept works because it’s food that we love to eat and want to share with other people,” Adrian said.
The main idea of food at Braised and Glazed is “mixed cuisine” at an affordable price. “We bring some of our favorite bites from around the world. From Chicago to Romania, expect new flavors and dishes with every pop-up as well as recurring favorites, like the Tavern Burger,” added Adrian.
But there’s more to every menu item than meets the eye.
“All of our menu options have physical memory for us,” Taylor said. “So we’re not just creating the menu because we like to eat that food. Each dish has a particular memory or background.
The Tavern Burger, for example, is a double patty burger with pickles, onion, American cheese and a special sauce braised and glazed, served on a pretzel bun. It’s a tribute to the many burgers the couple have shared in the past, and the one Taylor connects with the most.
“Adrian and I met at a restaurant where they were selling $5 burgers for lunch, and it was a crazy time to have lunch at that restaurant,” she said. “But I think what stood out to us the most was that he came on that pretzel bun – and it changed the way you eat a burger. The bun was no longer just a vehicle for putting a burger in your mouth.
Adrian said his most memorable menu item dates back to his Romanian roots and a food known as mititei, or “small.” Originally from Romania, Adrian moved to the United States when he was eleven years old and the dish brings him home. “It’s not Romania’s national dish, but there are these little mini sausages, made with ground beef, ground pork and ground lamb, mixed with spices and grilled over charcoal “, did he declare. “Every restaurant, every beer garden, I mean practically everywhere, was selling them in the summer. It’s a bit like the National Hamburger of Romania.
“We take dishes we love and turn them into portable options that you can enjoy while sipping a beer at a brewery or when we come to your neighborhood. Something you can bring back to your family.
According to Adrian, the menu will not only contain Romanian-inspired cuisine. You’ll also find meatballs, a chicken salad tostada and a crunchwrap, inspired by Taylor’s nighttime adventures at Taco Bell in Chicago’s Wrigleyville.
The pop-up is just the start, according to Adrian. The couple are preparing to get a food truck in the near future, and eventually, a physical location.
“It all comes together so it’s not just one option or one type of cuisine, because that can also help people connect a little more to our food story,” Taylor said. “Plus, it makes things a little more fun for us to provide menu options that mean a little more to us than just the good food we love.”
For an overview of the braised and glazed menu and pop-up schedule, head to braisedandglazedsc.com.
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