The Cigar Factory, the largest commercial building on the Charleston peninsula, was built in 1881. Since then, it has been home to a cotton manufacturer, a cigar factory and, most recently, Johnson and Wales Culinary School. After being sold a couple times since Johnson and Wales relocated to Charlotte in 2006, the beloved local landmark underwent renovations starting in 2014. Luckily for local foodies, the Indigo Road Restaurant Group, responsible for Charleston favs like Indaco, Oak Steakhouse, O-Ku, and The Macintosh, took control of 9,200 square feet of the building, and in September of 2015, they opened Mercantile and Mash, a gourmet food emporium with an American whiskey and beer bar. Chef Tim Morton heads the kitchen at Mercantile and keeps the retail food space stocked with grab-and-go items like charcuterie, handmade pastas and baked goods, as well as supplying a full menu of seasonally-driven selections for sit-down diners.
During the cold months of the year Chef Morton takes advantage of winter ingredients like winter squash and fennel for his Winter Squash Soup with Chorizo, Citrus and Almonds. The pureed soup gets a hint of sweetness from the combination of squash, yellow onions and brown sugar, which makes a tasty complement to the spicy chorizo and buttery marcona almonds.
Winter Squash Soup
From Chef Tim Morton of Mercantile and Mash in Charleston, South Carolina
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