During the renovation of 492 King Street, historical significance and attention to detail played a large role in creating the new space. The building dates back to the late 1800s when clothiers such as Reuben’s, Leon’s and Bluestein’s were a large part of the economy in Charleston, especially in the Upper King Street district. The button wall art installation in the main dining room, an interpretation of a photograph of sous vide leeks, pays homage to that history. Additionally, the fabric ceiling in the downstairs dining area is a replica of a 1902 city map.
The gates that enclose the courtyard were inspired by 30” x 40” Sanborn street maps of different colors, patterns and scale found while researching the building’s origins. As executed, the red rectangles show the 492 King location in an abstracted version of the 1884 map, noted by the circle. All the other lines represent the surrounding streets.
The building sat abandoned since Hurricane Hugo until it was purchased by the Relish Restaurant Group. During renovations, spearheaded by local architect Reggie Gibson, as much of the original building was left intact as possible. The red color in the dining room, called “eating room red,” and the “piazza blue” on the upstairs hall ceiling are both historic paint colors. The base of the bar is paneled in old tin that served as the ground floor ceiling of the existing building, reflecting a dedication to preserving and restoring this unique piece of Charleston’s history.
Meet our Chef
Executive Chef Josh Keeler
Executive Chef Josh Keeler’s undeniable passion for the culinary industry shines in every dish on the menu at 492. Originally from Pennsylvania, Keeler has been in the Lowcountry since 2011 and was named Executive Chef of 492 in September 2016 after a number of accomplishments in the kitchen.
Keeler attended the New England Culinary Institute in Burlington, Vermont, where he discovered that farm-to-table isn’t a trend, but a way of life. After school, he headed back home to Philadelphia and worked in a few Stephen Starr restaurants before moving to Charleston with his wife Heather and opening their first restaurant together. Two Boroughs Larder quickly became a favorite of the local culinary-minded set and appeared on the James Beard Foundation’s list of semifinalists for Best Chef Southeast three times before closing in July 2016.
As the new chef of 492, Keeler is moving away from dishes that are based around a technique and towards dishes that are based around a product. His cooking style is ingredient driven and seasonal and he sources locally whenever possible. He likes to create relationships between everything in the dish, mirroring or repeating them to emphasize flavors.
“Chef Keeler’s dishes straddle the seemingly disparate worlds of comfort food and haute cuisine. He’s gunning for both refinement and craveability. It’s soul-warming stuff, coupled with cutting-edge technique that surprises in texture, taste, and presentation. Dishes are, in short, as beautiful to the eye as they are pleasing to the belly. 492 allows Keeler to focus on what he loves most: food. And where Keeler goes, we should follow.” – Allston McCrady, Charleston Magazine
Meet our Bar Manager
Miller was named Bar Manager of 492 in January 2017, overseeing drink menu content and creation as well as the bar and cocktail staff. Miller has been behind the bar at 492 since its opening in 2015. He started out as a weekend bar back while working at the famed Charleston Husk during the week, but when he saw an opportunity to be at a bar on King Street, he says he had to take it.
Miller grew up in the heart of the Bourbon Trail—Versailles, Kentucky—where he developed a respect and affinity for spirits. During and after attending the University of Kentucky, his passion for the beverage industry grew through his many years working in restaurants.
He discovered Charleston when he was opening a restaurant in Clemson, SC, and found himself coming down to the coast enjoy the city’s culture and nightlife almost every weekend. He officially moved to Charleston in 2014 and began working various positions at Husk before making the permanent move to 492 a year and a half later.
Appropriately, Miller’s favorite drink is an Old Fashioned with bourbon or rye, but he is also a fan of gin and rum. He loves creating original cocktails as well as cultivating the classics and his keen palate gives him the ability to craft drinks to suit every person’s tastes. He says he is always learning from the kitchen staff and is currently collaborating with Executive Chef Josh Keeler on a ginger beer that they hope to introduce to the menu soon.
Miller’s goal is to bring the same quality of ingredients and attention to balance in his drinks as guests would expect in their dining experience at 492. As much as Chef Keeler likes to use the best local ingredients, Miller likes to keep it local as well and is enjoying tapping into Charleston’s bourgeoning craft beer and distillery scenes.
When it comes to wines, Miller prefers rosé—especially when sitting on the outdoor patio at 492. He prefers to have the servers weigh in before he commits to a wine because they are the ones that sell it the most and he wants to make sure they like it.
Miller enjoys the freedom and creativity his profession allows him and is admittedly a workaholic, often coming in on his days off. When not behind the bar, he enjoys soaking up as much of Charleston as he can or tries to get back to Kentucky to visit family, including two older sisters and a niece and nephew.