About Carmella's

The Carmella's Story

Carmella's is the brainchild of Brian and Tiffany Solari, who named the restaurant after Brian's grandmother.

"Being an Italian-American, your whole life revolves around eating," Solari jokes. "My grandmother Carmella was the matriarch at all the family events. She was responsible for all the important items on the dinner table. Those were my happiest memories of my grandparents."

While Carmella's is a unique concept, it is firmly rooted in the Italian tradition. "Carmella's is an Italian-themed dessert bar. In Italy, all these places will have, along with the typical coffees and teas, wine on the back shelf, or beer and liquor," Solari explains. "But this is the next generation, you might say, where now I'm actually infusing the food products with liquors."

A native of Atlantic City, NJ, Solari found that the culture of Charleston, SC was a perfect fit for his dessert-bar vision. "It's a complementary business to what Charleston is known for; this is a culinary town, it thrives off tourism and food, and when I talk to other food and beverage people, they appreciate that I am not competing with them, I am complementing them. People can come here before they go out to dinner, after they go out to dinner, it's a casual, laid-back, fun place, yet still classy."

Solari's concept of a dessert bar might have stayed a dream, but for his long-time friend K. Warrick Blandford. Solari had served as Blandford's campaign manager during Blandford's run for US Congress in 2008, and the two had an effective and amicable working relationship.

"Our rapport and trust grew during the campaign, and he wanted to continue the momentum that we had from that, and continue into what we were preaching as Libertarians, which was entrepreneurship. We threw a lot of ideas around, and this one stuck."

Commercial Kitchen

Carmella's Kitchen is a spacious, state-of-the-art baking facility, minutes from downtown Charleston. For information on renting space, please contact us.

Management

Brian Solari, Owner

Brian Solari's life revolves around where his next meal will come from. Scared to death of being even slightly hungry, he wanted to build an establishment that included all of the things that he loves the most in the world. He was born in Atlantic City, NJ and raised by an immigrant Italian family from Philadelphia, PA who instilled within him a love of large groups of loud, obnoxious people with an obsession for story telling over huge tables of food, dessert, and coffee. And that is the passion driving Carmella's Cafe and Dessert Bar.

He is a man who has a general disdain for commonality and an overall boredom of everyday life. It is this and his drive for perfection as an "American Entrepreneur" whose specialties have included real estate, finance, marketing, philosophy, and the perfect pancakes. This borderline neurosis forces him to challenge the very fabric of the physical universe at the expense of his own health and well being. And from that and for the enjoyment of its many patrons comes the concept of Carmella's.

Brian's goal for Carmella's was to bring to life the ideals of the "Italian Piazza" where groups of people come together to reconnect with their community over the finest things life has to offer. The greatest part of our lives are our relationships with people, and the goal of the Carmella's concept is to bring the community together over the best Italian fare there is to offer in Charleston in an environment that is comfortable and invigorating.

Olga Blandford, Owner

After earning a Masters Degree from Sochi State University in Russia, Olga Blandford relocated to South Carolina in 2005. Mother, wife and professional tennis player, Olga has a full life both on and off the job.

As co-owner of Carmella's, Olga was a key driver in both the creation of the business, and the design of the restaurant's physical space.

Kaitlin Verrechia, Executive Chef

Kaitlin Verrecchia was born and raised in Rhode Island in an Irish- Italian American family, where food, wine and laughter was the center of every gathering.

She moved to Charleston to attend college of Charleston and study business, it was in her hospitality classes where she decided to take her love of food and art, and enter the culinary field. She attended the culinary institute at trident tech for baking and pastry and graduated in 2012.

After graduation Kaitlin began working for Hmgi restaurant group, starting on the pastry line at Cypress restaurant and working her way up to assistant pastry chef of Cypress, Blossom and Magnolias. After five years of working at Hmgi under executive pastry chef Andrea Upchurch. In 2015 Kaitlin joined the Carmella's team to help Brian Solari make his vision of what Carmella's could be into a reality, Now Kaitlin currently has her sights on taking a piece of the wedding cake scene.

K. Warrick Blandford, Owner

K. Warrick Blandford graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and a minor in Chemistry and Biology. He served in both the United States Navy and United States Army. He currently holds the rank of Second Lieutenant in the South Carolina State Guard.

Mr. Blandford is a husband, father, entrepreneur, and athlete (competing at the national level in snowboarding). He is a long-time resident of Sullivan's Island, and a tireless advocate for limited government, fiscal responsibility, and individual liberty.