Early in 2009 Lori Pearson, and Lisa Burris got the idea that they wanted to start a catering company. They both had a passion for food and knew they had the skills to pull it off. In April they opened as a catering only business and had plenty of success.
Not long after, many people from the neighborhood kept stopping by wondering where they could grab a plate of some of the awesome food they had at neighboring parties and events. Due to demand, Lori and Lisa finally decided that they would soon open for lunch. With the help of Shane Pearson, Lori’s husband who was also an instructor and Johnson and Wales University, they created an amazing menu that truly represented who they were and where they were from. They opened the doors for lunch in June of 2009. Right away they had strong support from local businesses and the neighborhood community, Wesley Heights.
They continued to grow as a business and so again, Shane and Lori got to work on a new menu, but this time with a more relaxed chef inspired menu for dinner. They opened the doors for dinner in August of 2009 with some menu classics such as Pimento Chicken, the Cowboy Pork Chop, and the Southern Favorite, Shrimp and Grits. Lori showed off her dessert skills by making Charlotte’s Favorite Banana Puddin’ along with many others, like the Coca-Cola cake in honor of Bettie-Lou, Lori’s mom.
Early 2010 they got an opportunity to expand the restaurant and opened up into the neighboring space that it is today. If you look closely you can notice that the bar was hand crafted by the staff at Savor. Each piece was hand laid and you can notice that Savor Café is actually spelled out on the bar.
With Shane’s influence and a desire to help the community, Savor partnered with Johnson and Wales University to take in young chefs and help train them for their chosen career path. We still take in as many interns as we can in memory of Shane.
Savor has continued to strive for many years but not without some bumps in the road. In 2014, with a new family and a baby on the way, Lisa decided to sell out her portion of the restaurant to focus on other things. Lori and Shane decided to buy her portion of the restaurant with big plans for what would follow. Unfortunately and with much disbelief, in the same week that Lisa sold, Lori was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. This was a heartbreaking time for everyone involved but we all came together and knew Lori had it in her to overcome this seemingly huge obstacle. Chef Shane was in the restaurant with plans to make things even better for the patrons of Savor and even people in the Wesley Heights Neighborhood came together to help however they could.
In December of 2014, we were hit with yet another hurdle to overcome, when Shane passed away in the night, in the time between Christmas and New Year’s. Again our community came together to offer support and we cannot say enough how amazing of a neighborhood Wesley Heights is. WBTV helped sponsor us to raise money for Lori, who was still battling cancer, and we hosted a pasta fundraiser to help with the cost. Chefs came from Johnson and Wales with their families all ready to lend a helping hand, along with many community members. Savor does our best to help in the surrounding community especially because of the help we received from our community. We truly have the feeling of being one big family.
Later, in 2016, with a heavy heart and more surgeries to go through, Lori announced her plans to sell the restaurant and move back to Charleston to be with her family. Currently Lori is still managing the restaurant through this transitional period of time with the help of many key staff members. This is the Story of Savor Café, where we came from and where we are going. Be sure to stop by and try some of Ms. Lori’s Banana Puddin’.
In March Savor Cafe was taken over by new ownership and is in the process of being remodeled and updated. The new owners and management team are excited to take this fantastic restaurant with a rich history in the local community and bring out the potential so many of you have seen for so long. Amazing food, local beer, great wine, craft cocktails, local art, and a relaxed neighborhood bar atmosphere.