Laurens residents with a taste for fine dining will soon see their prayers for a steakhouse answered when “The Tailored Oak” opens on the city’s historic downtown Square in spring 2022.
The new restaurant is the creation of Laurens native Caleb Satterfield, who has gained extensive experience working in some of the finest restaurants in Upstate South Carolina and is coming home to contribute to the revitalization he is excited to see taking place in Laurens.
Satterfield, who will serve as the Executive Chef of the new restaurant, is now working as Chef de cuisine at the Grand Clubhouse of The Cliffs Valley, a luxurious dining venue just outside Travelers Rest, S.C. But, The Tailored Oak will be a family-owned and operated business. Caleb’s wife, Jess, will assist with customer relations, marketing, and other business operations.
The restaurant’s name is derived from two unique elements of Laurens history. At one time, a number of oak trees towered above the county’s historic Courthouse, and today, massive oaks line the city’s idyllic Main Street.
“Oaks are known for their strength and longevity,” said Satterfield. “And we hope that, like our old oaks, we will become a deep-rooted and well-loved part of the city.”
Plans for the interior of the restaurant include using oak timbers salvaged from the Laurens Mill, a textile mill which once employed thousands of Laurens residents. The ‘Tailored’ portion of the restaurant’s name is a reference to one of Laurens’ most famous former residents, President Andrew Johnson, who served as Abraham Lincoln’s second vice president and operated a tailor shop on the Square as a young man.
“Not every town can claim to be the home of a President of the United States of America,” added Satterfield. “It’s fun to give a little nod to that part of our history.”
“The people of this area have spoken pretty clearly about the fact that there is a demand for more fine dining options,” said Satterfield. “And specifically, they want a place where they can have a nice steak. We believe Laurens is looking for a place that is comfortable and approachable enough to enjoy a weeknight dinner, but also a place where they can celebrate the special occasions of life.”
The Tailored Oak will have very few “set” menu items. Satterfield intends to source as much of the produce and meats as he can from Laurens County farms. As a result, menu items will change from season to season, or even week to week. And, although the menu will be certain to feature fine cuts of grass-fed beef, it will also feature familiar Southern favorites.
“We want to make delicious food with great ingredients and serve it in a welcoming atmosphere. We believe that’s the recipe for a successful restaurant.”
Satterfield’s vision for the restaurant isn’t just limited to the food that will be served to its patrons.
“We’ve been impressed by the partnership between restaurants, businesses, and the community in Laurens,” said Satterfield, “and we want to contribute to that.”
The Tailored Oak will be located on the first floor of the Swofford Building at 101 E. Laurens Street on the north side of Laurens’ historic Public Square. The building is the latest project of Barrett and Barton Holmes, the duo who recently won statewide recognition for their restoration of The Midtown Building, which is home to a Laurens favorite, The Coffee Roost.
One of the features of The Midtown Building may provide some inspiration for the future interior of The Tailored Oak: a 1920s-vintage mahogany bar from a Chicago speakeasy.
“I know my mother, Beth Holmes, took a lot of pleasure in looking for that bar," said Barrett Holmes. "I suspect she’ll enjoy working with Caleb and Jess Satterfield to find other interior elements for the Swofford Building that fit their vision and help create the atmosphere which will make having lunch or dinner at The Tailored Oak a special experience.”
While Laurens has had several chain buffet-style steak restaurants over the years, it has lacked a steakhouse since the closure of the iconic “Graystone” once located at the corner of Farley Street and South Harper. According to Mayor Nathan Senn, Laurens residents have made it clear they were ready for a new steakhouse.
“From the time I was running for mayor until now,” said Mayor Nathan Senn, “I have heard clearly and consistently that our community wants additional fine dining options, and particularly a steakhouse. There is a lot that goes into attracting such a restaurant. You have to find a restaurant owner who is just the right fit and match them with a building in just the right location. Fortunately, Caleb’s desire to return to Laurens and the Swofford Building’s renovation coincided at just the right time. But, even if you have a great building, a talented chef, and a great plan for a restaurant, all the financial details have to work out. By God’s grace, those details have finally been worked out.”
Main Street Laurens Director Jonathan Irick expressed his organization’s excitement to welcome this new dining option to the Square. “This announcement is an example of how important it is to have a plan in place, working that plan, strengthening partnerships and growing new relationships,” said Irick. “The City of Laurens and Main Street Laurens are committed to making Laurens a destination for new entrepreneurs while celebrating our existing businesses who have helped pave the way for these new types of investments. We are thrilled to partner with Caleb Satterfield to advance our efforts to grow the dining, entertainment and arts aspect of our downtown district.”
“We started working on bringing a steakhouse to Laurens on day one,” added Mayor Senn, “and soon, our shared hopes will become a reality.”
The restaurant’s branding, sample menus, and details concerning plans for the grand opening slated for Spring 2022 will be released in due course.