Since 1997, The Cook’s Station has been Greenville’s go-to for most everything kitchen-related, from high-end appliances to ceramic serving platters, glassware, and gadgets. You’d think they had it all covered, but Kelly Colacioppo, the store’s owner, has always wanted to include food service in her repertoire. To achieve that dream, she partnered with brothers Steve and Whitney Spinks and recently consolidated The Cook’s Station’s two West End venues in a sparkling new, 11,000-square-foot building across from the Upcountry History Museum, more than doubling the space of the original shop.
The two-story building is a food-lover’s emporium, complete with a café serving breakfast and lunch, a small wine bar, a tasting bar for the Olivelle line of organic infused olive oils and vinegars, and a teaching kitchen/special-event space upstairs that shows off some of the appliance brands (Wolf, Miele, Sub-Zero) sold in the store.
Behind this enterprise are two families of key players. Kelly manages the retail side and does the purchasing; her husband, John, handles the appliances. Whitney Spinks is in charge of food and beverage, while his wife, Dana, covers marketing, HR, and special events. “We thought it was neat to join two family businesses together and create this friendship and partnership,” notes Dana.
To oversee the culinary program, the team brought in Craig Kuhns. You might know this chef from his recent tenure at Topsoil, his time catering special events at Greenbrier Farms, or his stint as chef de cuisine at Devereaux’s in the three years before it closed. At The Cook’s Station, Kuhns wears a number of hats, steering the curriculum of the cooking school and teaching classes, designing the café’s menu, and collaborating on choosing wine and beer offerings and retail food items.
For lunch, the café’s menu hinges on “cool sandwiches,” as Kuhns calls them, such as a seasonal tomato-sandwich-meets-tomato-pie. “We do a house pimiento cheese and turn that into a savory tomato bread pudding, like an Italian strata,” the chef explains. “We take that bread pudding and make a sandwich out of it with Duke’s mayonnaise. It’s disgustingly good.” As are the gooey, fried gravy “bites,” a sinful dumpling-style riff on Southern biscuits and sausage gravy. A vegan chickpea salad, a quinoa grain bowl, and a soba salad that mimics the flavors of a ramen bowl provide vegetarian options.
At happy hour, the wine bar pairs charcuterie with an approachable selection of wines. “What we think is really neat about our charcuterie boards is that we offer a sushi-style menu,” says Kelly. “You can build your own board based on exactly what you like.”
It all boils down to a singular shopping experience. “We want to be the place people think of when they need anything cooking-related,” Whitney declares. In its reincarnation, The Cook’s Station has whipped up a destination for everyone, from home cooks and professional chefs to folks who just want to linger over a glass of wine.
Photography by Paul Mehaffey. The Cook’s Station, 515 Buncombe St, Greenville. (864) 250-0091, thecooksstation.com