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Chef Ryan Whittaker



Today’s KellyGram will be about my friend Chef Ryan. I have known Ryan Whittaker, the Executive Chef and Owner of my favorite restaurant/bar in Columbia (which is actually in West Columbia near the river right across the Gervais Street Bridge) @116 Espresso & Wine Bar, for many years. I have grown to love Ryan and his family in many ways. He and his wife Cheryl along with his faithful manager and one of the best bartenders in town Ryan Ditman were also very close to my late wife Anne. On the day of her funeral, they closed the restaurant and put on a wonderful reception in my church’s parish hall and although I have asked, I have yet to receive a bill. Ryan is an extremely creative chef and a very hard worker who thinks outside the box. In addition to dinner Tuesday through Saturday, he hosts Columbia’s best brunch on Saturday and Sunday starting at 10am with the last seating at 2:30pm. Besides dinner and brunch at the restaurant, Chef Ryan has a wonderful catering business and sometimes I joke with him that he loves the catering side more than the restaurant. He has catered many events for me and my late wife and will always be my “go to” caterer.

Ryan also donates his time, talent and treasure to support non-profits at his expense. He does several events a year for the SC Philharmonic including their highly successful golf tournament which is taking place on September 28, 2015. He does events for MDA, Palmetto Place and the Columbia Museum of Art just to name a few. This coming Sunday night he has gone over the top with a creative event called Dinner in White, a fundraiser for the Columbia Museum of Art featuring the farewell of the world-class Andy Warhol exhibit now on display at the museum through this weekend.

Most importantly, Ryan became the proud father of his precious little girl Sage this summer. Uncle Mike is very proud!

I suggest you try out @116 Espresso & Wine Bar, but you may want to call and make reservations especially on the weekends. They are just that good! Tell them Mike sent you!




Have a great weekend and Go Gamecocks!