Hey, Sugar! Y’all heard?
A new boutique bakery, espresso and wine bar on Fort Mill’s Main Street is now open and serving up what its owners call relaxed, approachable Southern luxury.
Husband and wife Chris and Courtney Thompson are owners of Southern Sugar, 100 Main St., Suite 101, in the former Old Centre Theater building. They signed the lease in November 2016, but they began dreaming about opening their own business about five years ago.
The business has been designed from top to bottom by Courtney and the menus concepted by creative director Katie Schoenerr.
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Step inside the front door, framed by chic drapery, and you’ll be treated to the rich aroma of coffee. Comfortable chairs line the bar and a cozy table overlooks the lower floor and counter lined with platters of sweet treats — coconut macaroons, red velvet cupcakes, cranberry almond bars, the bakery’s award-winning biscuits (butter or jalapeno cheddar), croissants, scones and many more, all 100 percent house made. Crystal chandeliers twinkle from the ceiling.
Barista Freddy Huffins, the self-proclaimed best barista in the Carolinas and New York, calmly serves a rush of customers on a blustery Saturday morning. Each coffee drink is elevated by the way it’s served — on a tray that includes a silver sugar bowl, crystal creamer and a spoon stamped with the establishment’s signature phrase, “Hey Sugar.”
Southern Sugar carries Stumptown Coffee, from Portland Ore. The coffee arrives by way of a roaster in New York City within 48 hours of roasting and the Thompsons have worked with Fort Mill’s Forte Legato to create the Southern Sugar Brunch Blend.
“It’s very smooth, really easy to drink,” said Courtney. “There’s a little bit of sweetness to it. It’s just an elegant coffee.”
A darker roast will be added in the fall, and Stumptown Nitro and Cold Brew are on draft.
Blenders, cold coffee blended drinks, are available, including Chris’ favorite, the mocha coconut. For those on a keto diet, there’s the "Bulletproof" drink — espresso with added coconut oil and grass-fed butter.
“You won’t sleep till Tuesday,” Courtney says of the Bulletproof, with a laugh.
A range of teas are served in vintage cups. Shaken and reishi teas are also on the menu, along with Italian sodas. And what cafe priding itself on refined southern tradition would ever be without sweet tea?
The wine list includes Italian, French and Australian selections — unique varieties you won’t find in a grocery store or restaurant or bar within a five-mile radius of Southern Sugar, Courtney said. Regional craft beer is served and martinis will be in the mix soon, including a rosewater version called the Southern Belle.
In addition to sweet treats from the bakery, customers can also share cheese boards, charcuterie platters and the Southern Sugar Biscuit Platter, complemented with strawberry jam, whipped butter and honeycomb.
Flatbreads, sliders and other savory selections will be added, and the Thompsons are looking forward to the start of Sunday brunch on April 1. The brunch menu includes scrambled egg tacos, savory chicken and waffles and the house benedict — a poached egg with jalapeno bacon, hollandaise and a Southern Sugar butter biscuit.
Locally sourced ingredients are used whenever possible, including Fort Mill peaches and strawberries. Vegan syrups and flavors are in the recipes and gluten free options are in the works.
Chris, a Fort Mill native and 1995 graduate of Fort Mill High School, said he’s seen Fort Mill change a lot over the years, and in the past, many residents began going to Rock Hill or Charlotte for a good time.
“Now you don’t have to go far to get what you’re looking for,” he said.
The Thompsons planned their business to complement others on Main Street, like Hobo’s, Local Dish and Olive’s Mud Puddle. The result? Unbelievable support since the doors opened March 3.
“We’ve really been floored by the amount of support,” Courtney said. They’ve had customers who once patronized the Centre Theater, and now, 40 years later, are visiting Southern Sugar in the same location.
“We’ve heard people say, ‘Oh, I used to have the best time in here,’” Courtney said. “And now they’re having a good time with their friends here again. That makes my heart happy.”
Southern Sugar is open Monday-Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For details, call 803-396-8055. View the menus at southernsugarcafe.com.