CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When the doors at Blossom open next week after a two-month hiatus, a new chef will build the deli sandwiches and blend the milkshakes. Chef Matthew Grover takes over the kitchen of the popular spot for lunch in downtown Charleston, after former owner Bill Sohovich closed the restaurant.
Grover will serve long time favorites like stir-fry and build-your-own deli sandwiches, reintroduce patty melts and hamburgers, items that were on the menu items decades ago, and add some of his own selections to the menu. He'll serve his own fried green tomato and trout sandwich, pressed sandwiches and pulled pork sandwich served with five regional house made sauces.
Will tomato bisque, traditionally Monday's soup du jour, be on the menu? "There will be a creamy tomato soup on the menu," said Grover, who said he wouldn't exactly duplicate the previous soup chef's tomato bisque.
Formerly the assistant director of dining services and executive sous chef at Edgewood Summit, Grover joined Blossom at the invitation of his childhood friend Mark Hartling, who is one of three partners who purchased Blossom last month. The others are Jim Nestor and Jay Cipoletti. The challenge of running a fast-paced restaurant lured him away from his comfortable position at Edgewood Summit.
"From a culinary standpoint, I'll have more room to experiment and express myself," Grover said. "Any chef waits for his first kitchen, and this is it for me. The nostalgia and reputation of Blossom in the Kanawha Valley is important. It's very humbling and an honor to carry on that tradition."
Although past owners have called the restaurant at 904 Quarrier St. "The Blossom," or "Blossom Deli," it will now be known simply as Blossom, said Nester. After reviewing some of Blossom's early menus, Nester and his partners knew they needed to find a chef who would help bring back some of the original items while using as many locally grown products as possible.
"We're preservers of the history of Blossom, but we'll do it in keeping with our mission of bringing the farm-to-table, locally grown vendors to Blossom," Nester said. They plan to use local purveyors like Gritt's Farm and Monroe Farm Market.
They've cleaned and polished Blossom's Art Deco interior and moved the cash register and refrigerated case away from the entrance, an area that was often congested with customers waiting to be seated and to pay their bills. A new counter with additional seating stands in its place.