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Joe Clarke considers himself largely a self-trained chef; his early education came from his grandmother’s farm in the rolling hills of upstate South Carolina. Years before the Farm-to-Table movement, it was here that Joe first learned the true flavor of the ingredients he would come to rely on when he opened American Grocery Restaurant in 2007 along with his wife, Darlene Mann-Clarke.
A native of Spartanburg, S.C., Joe honed his passion for cooking while living in Los Angeles for 12 years where he studied cooking and eventually worked in Chef Govind Armstrong’s famed three-star restaurant, Table 8. After several years in New York and graduating with honors from the prestigious French Culinary Institute, Joe was ready to bring his seasonal cuisine back to upstate South Carolina.
Joe’s approach to food is based on fresh ingredients from a network of local farmers; his clean and simple approach allows the ingredients to speak for themselves. Joe utilizes a classic style in his American, seasonal cuisine, yet looks to global flavors as inspiration to enhance his progressive southern style.
In late 2013, Joe and Darlene founded Renegade Vittles, Greenville’s first underground supper club. Hosted in locations such as a coffee roaster and a local farm, the dinner themes have ranged from Feast of the Seven Fishes to Global Street Foods.
American Grocery Restaurant and chef Clarke have been featured in publications such as Garden & Gun, Southern Living, The Boston Globe, The Huffington Post and The Daily Meal, amongst others.