His parents are from the South, but he was born in Berkeley, California. “I guess that labels me as a progressive forever,” says Dean Andrews, who last year took a long-overlooked knot of historic houses on East Bay Street and opened the smashing success of a hotel and hidden-patio café, Zero George. Thing is, what you really want to label Dean as is smart—intellectually, in business, and in forging friends and family. Case in point, his wife and partner in the hotel, a winery in Virginia, and other food-wine-life ventures is wonderful Lynn Easton of Easton Events.
Dean has that natural quality that the very best people have for remembering you and for listening. His open demeanor, his way of being—down to his trim, elegant style and Italian-made sport coats—creates a shared space for conversation. Certainly that aura and dash is helping Zero George garner the NYC and Euro travelers, who check in night after night. Long before the hotel hit every magazine’s hot lists from T+L to Conde Nast Traveler, Dean was sharpening his approach to leadership. For him, the point is at the bottom. The model he favors is not top-down, but the more rare, inverted pyramid. This is a man who cares about collective success, the importance of team spirit, and camaraderie. He believes in giving young people a start and hires interns from the College of Charleston. Years ago, he helped to start the Trident Urban League.
In 1984, Dean moved here to help open Charleston Place. (Way, way before the Saks and Sonomas of the world swooped in.) These days, even as Zero George is adding cooking classes and stepping up its food plate, Dean has other projects in the hopper. There’s already the Tuscan-style restaurant that he and Lynn are opening in Charlottesville this month, a Charleston restaurant and event space (Cannon Green), ideas for four or five more hotels, and possibly another winery or two. A dozen or so businesses sound about right to him. Meanwhile, the Andrews-Easton duo is underwriting a couple of scholarships at the Culinary Institute of Charleston. There are a lot of moving parts to his life, he admits. Yet Dean Andrews says he wakes up every day feeling grateful and thinking about what’s next.
“I want to be current, young at heart, and be part of things that are constantly evolving.”
See, we told you this man is smart.
Words by: Sandy Lang
Photography by: Olivia Rae James