This story begins with a phone call I received from Janene Blow, a friend from my days at the University of South Carolina. Blow asked if I was aware of the new restaurant that was opening soon in Charleston and that her friend Rodney Scott owns it. Scott and Blow both hail from Hemingway, South Carolina.
Scott has become a celebrity in the food circles for his delicious barbeque and has decided to enter the Charleston food market to plant his flag among the hundreds of eateries that has now made Charleston a foodie’s paradise. I told her that I was more than aware but was actually looking forward to meeting Scott as soon as the doors opened to welcome him to the neighborhood. She then began to share with me the reason for her call. She told me that Rodney wanted to be sure that some of the local folk, the neighborhood, and young brothers and sisters could seek out some employment opportunities with him on the ground floor. I shared with her the stories of how Charleston restaurants have story after story of individuals who have grown with these businesses and some have been with them from the start and it wouldn’t be hard to spread the word. A few days later Scott called and we scheduled a time to meet and the second part of our story begins.
I met Scott, of Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ, as he was meeting with one of his vendors and two of his business associates Steve Traub and Danny Coulter. From the sounds of the work being done at the rear of the building, Scott was beaming with energy knowing that he was getting closer to his opening day. “We are shooting for the second week of February right now,” said Scott, “but not until everything is right,” he added.
As we toured the building and the areas where the work was being done, it was clear that his target date was not far off. “The first challenge starting at a new location is making sure that the consistency with the volume is in correct ratio because here [Charleston] you have a larger clientele and consistency is important with me with a small one, but when you have a larger one it’s more important to make sure that your flavor is consistent,” Scott said. One of the other areas is staffing. “I’m the type of person to reach out to the neighborhood first but most of the applications that we have been getting has been from outside of the North Central/Wagener Terrace…and we still have positions open and we are looking for those who can come on and help us out,” stated Scott. Positions that are available includes front of the house and pit crew.
Working in the pit is where the smokers will be a full operation. “The pits are new and it will be a great place for an apprentice to learn just as I will with the new equipment,” Scott said. The pit is being finished in what was once the parking area of the former Chick’s Fry House.
Although he is taking the place of what was once another restaurant location that thought it too would grow at the present site, Scott is filled with confidence and passion for what he plans to offer. The drive-thru will still be available for those who want to grab dinner on the go. “I want folks to be able to grab a meal as they leave the supermarket across the street, or the soccer mom, anyone who doesn’t have the time to prepare dinner, I am here for them,” Scott said. The menu will include: collards, mac and cheese, fries, banana pudding, chicken, whole hog, catfish and hush puppies, a burger and steak sandwich will round out the menu.
Scott’s will be open seven days a week from 11:00am to 9:00pm. The Chronicle will revisit Scott’s to inform our readership of the quality of the food and to see Scott in action when the pits are fired up and the meat is smoking.