The Establishment | Charleston | Our Team

About The Establishment

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A Team to Serve You

The Establishment has brought together a group of seasoned Charleston restaurant veterans to do what they do best: deliver an incredible food and wine experience with creatively prepared cuisine and impeccable service in a space that is comfortable, relaxed, yet refined.



Back of the House

Meet Matt Canter

Matt Canter

Executive Chef

Matt was raised in a small town in southern Maryland and spent his formative years on the water crabbing, fishing, and boating. He began work in his first restaurant at age 15, washing dishes, prepping food, spending time as a fry cook, and eventually working the line. After high school he attended The Culinary Institute of America in New York and graduated in 2004.

Since his matriculation Matt has spent time working for a wide array or properties, from flipping burgers on the beach to time at The Ritz-Carlton. Most recently Matt was sous chef at FIG and executive chef at Park Cafe in Charleston.

Matt has lived in Charleston for 12 years, has 2 dogs, and rides his motorcycle every chance he gets.

matt (at) establishmentchs (dot) com

Meet Allison Porter

Allison Porter

Executive Sous Chef

Allison hails from Blythewood, South Carolina, moving to Charleston in 2009 for culinary school. Since her matriculation she has graced the kitchens of Tristan, FIG, Minero, The Dewberry, and Grace & Grit. Coming from a family of farmers, Allison has always loved the outdoors and growing her own food. In her spare time she continues on in the family tradition, gardening with family and friends and spending time outside.

allison (at) establishmentchs (dot) com

Meet Elliott Howells

Elliott Howells

Sous Chef

Elliott began working in the food and beverage industry at the ripe old age of fifteen, bussing tables and washing dishes in restaurants around Dayton, Ohio.

Moving Charleston in 2002 to pursue a career in hospitality, Elliott eventually graduated from the French Culinary Institute in 2008. Since that time, he's worked in numerous restaurants around Charleston, including The Boathouse, Tides on Kiawah Island, The Grocery, and Grace and Grit.

Elliott loves the culinary scene in Charleston not only for the food but for the friendships he's built throughout his career. When not at work, Elliott enjoys spending time with friends and family.

elliott (at) establishmentchs (dot) com

Meet Michael Fitzhugh

Michael Fitzhugh

Sous Chef

Born and raised in the suburbs of Alexandria, Virginia, Michael found his first job in the hospitality business while attending James Madison University. It was soon after that Michael dedicated himself to learning the trade from the ground floor, finding himself at such Central Virginia institutions as Calhoun's and Citizen, then joining esteemed Oysterman Travis Croxton at RockSalt in Charlottesville, Virginia as Executive Chef.

Michael made Charleston his home in 2015. After assisting several well-known Charleston area restaurants regain their footing, he decided to join the team at The Establishment with the goal of building something truly special.

When not working, Mike enjoys learning about the world around him, and giving his two rescued dogs, Hank, and Kissa, well-deserved belly scratches.

mike (at) establishmentchs (dot) com


Front of the House

Meet Brad Mogan

Brad Mogan

General Manager

Born in Pittsburgh and raised on the eastern shore of Maryland, Brad headed south at the turn of the century seeking warmer climes, landing permanently in Charleston in 2003 to attend Johnson and Wales University. Graduating Summa Cum Laude with a head full of industry knowledge and practical experience he had received from mentors during his university experience, including the experience of being general manager of his first restaurant before he was old enough to carry a liquor license in his own name, Brad headed out into the hospitality industry in the Holy City.

Brad worked as the general manager over the next few years at a high volume seafood restaurant and, after a magical dinner at a particularly fantastic Charleston restaurant, decided that he had to be a part of that world. Elevated food and service, the world of wine, and the elegant dance of a well-coordinated dining room had put its hooks in him. Brad challenged himself to work at the best restaurants in the city, learn from talented restaurateurs, general managers, and James Beard award winning chefs to find the common denominator between all the talent of this great restaurant scene. Brad credits his mother for his passion for hospitality. He is now taking what he has learned and applying it to new restaurants, becoming an integral player in the dance he once observed from afar.

When he is not working, Brad and his wife enjoy taking day trips around the Lowcountry, dining out, supporting his Pittsburgh Steelers and giving love to their two ungrateful dogs.

brad (at) establishmentchs (dot) com

Meet Andres Contreras

Andres Contreras

Sommelier

Andres, a second-generation Charlestonian whose parents immigrated to the US from Chile, did his undergraduate studies in Psychology at Johns Hopkins University. Upon his return to Charleston, he began his foray in the food industry as a server at 39 Rue de Jean, a French Brasserie. It was this Charleston institution that nurtured his early interest in food and wine. Needing to be challenged further, Andres began day work at Southern Season, a gourmet food and wine shop, as he studied and tasted wines from around the world.

After a year at Southern Season, Andres joined the management team at Rue de Jean and worked closely with their team to curate their list of over 300 bottles. After seven years under the great tutelage at Rue, Andres was named Charleston City Paper's Best Sommelier for 2017, was included in Zagat Charleston's Top 30 Under 30, and was selected as the Charleston-based keynote speaker for the 2017 Wines of Chile Campaign in the US.

Andres loves reading, traveling, being around people, and, of course, wine. While Chilean and French wines are his passion, he's always looking for his next favorite wine region / producer and an opportunity to share that find with others.

andres (at) establishmentchs (dot) com

Meet Kathryn Poos

Kathryn Poos

Assistant Sommelier

Hailing from Charlottesville, Virginia, Kathryn graduated Summa Cum Laude from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Environmental Planning and B.A. in History. Kathryn grew up exploring the many local wineries, breweries, and cider houses in central Virginia and always loved connecting with the individuals behind the bottle. In 2017 Kathryn landed in Charleston working at a local wine shop and bar where her passion for wine really took off.

As a lover of academia, Kathryn took it upon herself to study wine in the same manner she had her undergraduate degrees. Kathryn passed The Wine Spirit Education Trust Advanced exam with distinction, as well as passed the Court of Master Sommeliers' Introductory exam. Looking forward, she hopes to continue her studies and begin the WSET level 4 diploma course in 2019.

When not studying or drinking wine, Kathryn enjoys running triathlons, going to the beach with her dog, and leading her flag football team in touchdowns.

kathryn (at) establishmentchs (dot) com

Meet Ryan Wise

Ryan Wise

Bar Manager

Ryan Wise, bar manager, mixologist, and consummate "people person," prides himself on running a well-stocked bar and remembering people's names and favorite libations. Growing up an Air Force brat, he says, made him a good listener and gave him a certain panache as a storyteller, with his formal culinary training giving him his ability to magically blend the essences of the spirits to his will.

Ryan's experience in the food and beverage industry began with his education at Johnson & Wales University in Culinary Arts. Since then, he has been working in some capacity in the best (and most colorful) restaurants and bars in Charleston, winning such awards as Absolute's Best Bartender in Charleston Award in 2009 and having his "Sweet Lil' Nellie" cocktail featured at the 2019 Charleston Food and Wine Festival.

While he has professionally devoted himself the beverage side of fine dining, Ryan is no slouch in the kitchen and enjoys cooking for friends and family. When not behind the bar or in the kitchen, you will find Ryan with shotgun in hand on the sporting clays range.

ryan (at) establishmentchs (dot) com

Meet Joelle Martin

Joelle Martin

Private Events Coordinator

Born in Milford, Connecticut, and raised in Chandler, Arizona, Joelle's path changed direction when she moved to Charleston during the summer of 2018. Her talents bring an unconventional yet unique addition to the management team at The Establishment. Previously working in the logistics industry, her professionalism and analytic mindset aid in the successful execution of our private dining.

During her down time, Joelle enjoys all things wine and food, spending time with her dog, traveling, and being outdoors.

joelle (at) establishmentchs (dot) com

Meet Shane Diviney

Shane Diviney

Restaurant Manager

Shane, borne into a family of restaurateurs, began working in restaurants at the tender age of fourteen. Growing up in the industry, Shane has developed a passion for elevated cuisine, from the high-end steakhouse in Knoxville, Tennessee where he began his career to his time in the beautiful Hawaiian isles where his knowledge of wine and spirits was taken to the next level.

Shane moved to Charleston New Year's Eve 2007 and never looked back. After proudly working with several upscale restaurants in the Holy City, Shane joined The Establishment family.

Shane likes to spend his free time enjoying all that this wonderful city of Charleston has to offer.

shane (at) establishmentchs (dot) com



Between Church and State

The streets and buildings that surround The Establishment, located at 28 Broad Street in Charleston, South Carolina, exude the history that defines Charleston. When heading down Broad St. towards East Bay, one walks a path worn by a litany of figures who were instrumental in the founding of our country and in the writing of its story. When the building housing The Establishment was erected in 1791, George Washington was in our fair city, touring the country to see with his own eyes what his military victories in the Revolutionary War had given to the people over which he now presided.

While in Charleston, Washington attended church services at St. Michael’s Church at the corner of Broad and Meeting Streets, sitting in pew number 43 on May 8th. When he left the beauty of St. Michael’s, our nation’s first president would have seen the Courthouse of the County of Charleston diagonally across the street. At that time the building was preparing to be rebuilt after a fire partially destroyed it three years prior.

Directly across Meeting Street was land used at the time for public hearings, later to become a Federal Courthouse and U.S. Post Office. Across the intersection from this land was the First Bank of the United States, which had just begun its operations in that location months prior. The current Charleston City Hall building was constructed on this site less than a decade later.

This intersection, known locally as ‘The Four Corners of the Law’ for the presence of federal, state, city, and ecclesiastical law, has been operating in this manner since the first days of our Union.

One block down from this intersection is Church Street, upon which George Washington would have seen St. Philip’s Church looking much as it does today, then one block further down, State Street. It is between these two streets, Church and State, in the intersection of what these words stood for to the Founding Fathers, that the real meaning of our name lies. For Washington, the year 1791 included the debate in Congress and among the states surrounding the need for a Bill of Rights. Whether or not these debates were on his mind as he went down Broad St., headed towards the Exchange Building at Broad and East Bay, we cannot know. What we do know is that Madison’s Bill of Rights was whittled from 17 to 10 amendments and ratified that very December.

It is the rich history surrounding us in this location and the legacy of the brave men and incredible minds that built our government that we pay homage to in our name. The First Amendment contains within it the principle that there is to be a separation between church and state. The first part of this principle, that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…" is known in legal circles as The Establishment Clause.

We are The Establishment, standing between Church Street and State Street.