A display case shows off Boston pork butts, waiting to be pulled to order. Whole beef briskets await the carving knife, giving off steam and a strong whiff of hickory, pecan, and oak smoke. Nearby, a well-provisioned bar features moonshine, bourbon, and — oh, mercy me, yes — Cheerwine from a tap.
Mouth watering yet? This is the vision for Swig & Swine, a new restaurant in the works next door to the Glass Onion in West Ashley.
"We're trying to get barbecue as close to made-to-order as possible, trying to get it to you within only a few hours of getting it off the smoker," says chef Anthony DiBernardo, who will co-own the restaurant with Steve Kish, the owner of 82 Queen and Lowcountry Bistro. DiBernardo has enlisted the help of Gorilla Fabrication in North Charleston to build a custom metal pit smoker, where he will cook all of the meat over a wood fire. On the Swig side of Swig & Swine, the plan is to have 62 beers available, including 12 on tap.
The restaurant doesn't have a firm open date yet. The plan is to renovate the old #1 Car Wash at 1217 Savannah Highway, and the owners are awaiting final approval of their design at the Jan. 9 Board of Architectural Review meeting. Pending approval from the BAR, Kish says the restaurant could be open for business by February or early March.
DiBernardo says he's excited to wood-smoke meat at the restaurant, as opposed to cooking over a gas range. "It's old-school," he says. "We're just trying to take it back a little bit."
DiBernardo, who previously worked at Rita's on Folly Beach, says that in addition to pork barbecue and beef brisket, he plans to serve ribs, a variety of house-made sausages, pork belly, and chicken on a daily basis. A chalkboard will list daily specials. He says he hopes to get his hands on some whole animals to butcher in the restaurant including, hopefully, some heritage-breed pigs. Swig & Swine will also offer catering and special-events services.
The restaurant has a Facebook page where you can check in on the progress.