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Lantern shines light on Charleston-style fare

Casey Maness displays a dish of shrimp and grits at the Lantern, a new restaurant in the Charleston Inn. Casey Maness displays a dish of shrimp and grits at the Lantern, a new restaurant in the Charleston Inn.

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In the galley of a Coast Guard ship, Casey Maness cooked like a cook and cooked like a chef.

“We did breakfast, lunch and dinner for the regular crew and then in the ward room, where the officers eat, they get served tableside plated every evening for dinner,” she said.
During four years in the Coast Guard, Maness served on board rescue boats with a crew as small as 12 and on 270-foot cutters with 100 sailors. She moved to Asheville and had a job managing the nutrition program and the kitchens for a company that owned treatment homes for teenage girls.
Then David Payne and Shelle Rogers found her. The couple had recently bought the Claddagh Inn on North Main Street and rebranded it as the Charleston Inn (restoring one of its earlier names).
“David and Shelle I guess recruited me through a friend of theirs,” Maness said. “They said ‘Hey, do you want to open a restaurant,’ and I said, ‘Absolutely I do.’
“I started cooking them at the bed and breakfast before we started the restaurant,” she added. “We’ve put on several meals trying to dial in our menu and figure out what works and what they liked and what they didn’t and how we could improve it.”
The Lantern opened about three weeks ago.
The menu will change seasonally based on locally sourced ingredients but the Charleston theme will remain a standard. Maness’s experience at sea is evident in many of the choices.
Appetizers include Lobster Mac’n’Cheese ($10), Charleston Cheese Dip ($8) and mussels ($10). The Lantern serves up Creole Cobb salad ($10), She Crab soup ($6) and Louisiana Gumbo ($9). Entrees include Lobster tail for $35, crab cakes ($16), zucchini fritters ($12), filet mignon ($28), Sweet Tea Fried Chicken topped with jalapeno slaw ($18), Meatloaf Burger, local apple brandy ground beef with vintage cheddar cheese ($15), shrimp and grits ($16) and shrimp etouffee ($15). Maness also prepares a variety desserts.
Dinner hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Monday.