Fine dining to have new home in Charleston


Justin Brown

Executive chef Brent Furry and sous chef Nathan Douglas look over the anticipated menu for Alexander Briggs. The friends, have previous experience working together and are embarking on a journey together in hopes of creating a successful restaraunt in the Charleston area before opening more in surrounding communities.

Liz Stephens, City Reporter

A new restaurant in Charleston named Alexander Briggs will be opening early March at 509 Van Buren Ave. under the reins of executive chef Brent Furry.

Furry graduated from Charleston High School in 2004 and later attended culinary school at Kendall College in Chicago.

He said his culinary arts teacher in high school, Kathy Clark, inspired him to go down the path he chose.

Furry has incorporated the history of the building into the restaurant by naming the building after the man who built it.

Alexander Briggs’ grandson, Max Briggs, will be coming to Charleston to meet with Furry and hang up photos in the restaurant.

While still doing renovations and adding finishing touches to the space, Furry said he is hoping to open March 8 through March 10.

Furry said he is thinking about having a “soft open” where he lets in about 20 friends and family members to get honest feedback about the service and dishes before the public opening.

Alexander Briggs will be open to all clientele, but Furry said he hopes for an elegant, sit-down, fine dining setting.

Furry said he will get produce from local farms, but will get seafood and fish from the Chicago markets.

“I want it to be as local as can be. You can just taste the difference,” Furry said.

Furry will be working alongside his sous chef, Nathan Douglas.

Chef Nate Douglas sharpens his knives in preparation of the anticipated early March opening of Alexander Briggs.
Justin Brown
Chef Nate Douglas sharpens his knives in preparation of the anticipated early March opening of Alexander Briggs.

Douglas was born and raised in St. Louis and later moved to Charleston for his family.

Furry and Douglas both said they chose to stay in Charleston for their family and friends and the community.

Douglas said he is “next in command” and makes sure the food goes out correctly to the guests.

Furry and Douglas worked together at the Charleston Country Club as executive chef and sous chef, and Furry asked Douglas to come with him to his new restaurant.

Furry said he started cooking when he was 15 years old, and Douglas said he was 11 when he first started cooking at his grandmother’s restaurant.

“People always eat when looking for fine dining in Champaign, Effingham or further, but why go far away when you can be here in town and support yourself locally?” Furry said.

“I want to be here in my hometown and bring fine dining and good food because for the most part it is all frozen food and it’s typical old fast food,” he said.

“I have a niece and nephew, my grandparents are still around and I want to be with my family and friends,” Furry said.

Furry said he is trying to work with local businesses and mutually help each other out.

“We have to get back to the basics, and get back to the small-town business owners,” Douglas said.

Furry said he is talking to local floral shops to provide fresh flowers at each of the tables.

Furry said he is looking for servers, hosts, bartenders and line cooks, and he is willing to teach individuals how to work in these positions.

“We have a Facebook page where they can print out an application and bring it in, or they can stop in at any time,” Furry said.


Liz Stephens can be contacted at 582-2812 or [email protected].