Bistro Napkins a Hit with ‘Chucktown’ Eateries

Posted October 16, 2015 at 12:26 pm

As Milliken & Co. celebrates its 150th year in business, innovation (including its more than 2,000 patents) often is cited as a key factor in its success. And while Milliken isn’t the only company producing large-style striped “bistro napkins” for U.S. restaurants, they have helped popularize this food & beverage (F&B) trend, especially in fashion-conscious urban venues, such as Charleston, SC, according to a local opinion piece.

Food columnist Hannah Raskin of the Post & Courier recently opined on this development, citing the “Signature Stripe” an 18-by-22-inch rectangular napkin as a hot item among “Chucktown” restaurateurs.

“As soon as Ginger Grimes saw Milliken’s Signature Stripe napkin, she knew she could sell it,” Raskin wrote recently. “Customers kept asking for something different,” Grimes, a sales consultant for Alsco Inc., told Raskin. The columnist added that, “Innovations are rare in the napkin sphere: For years, a chocolate-brown napkin counted as the most interesting upgrade that Grimes had to offer. So she was sure restaurants would jump on the Signature Stripe, modeled after a farmhouse tea towel,” Grimes said. “We knew it would take off.”

Since its debut in 2013, Raskin says the napkin has grown so popular in Charleston that it’s become a mainstay of the city’s scores of fancy eateries, including the Fat Hen, which was the area’s first restaurant to pick up on the trend. Others include Cannon Green, Leon’s Oyster Shop, Queen Heritage, the Westendorff, the Coleman Public House, the Craftsman Tap House and others.

“Our customers ask where they can buy them,” said Executive Chef Michael Perez of a restaurant known as the Grocery and Indaco, which Milliken has cited in advertising for the napkin. To learn more, click here.