October 14, 2014
Posted in: Industry News

Austin chef to open restaurant in Charleston

Austin chef to open restaurant in CharlestonIf you’re a loyal follower of the Texas culinary arts scene, then the odds are decent that John Lewis is a name you’re already familiar with. As the pitmaster at La Barbecue, one of Austin’s most beloved restaurants, Lewis has been delighting the taste buds of countless customers for some time now. According to the Austin Eater, though, Lewis will soon be taking his talents to Charleston, South Carolina, where he intends to open his second restaurant. While not all the details about the forthcoming eatery have been released yet, it’s known that it will be another barbecue concept. As the buzz builds around Lewis’ newest effort, take a look at what we already know about the restaurant, the location and the man behind it all:

New restaurant
There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding what handle Lewis will use for his upcoming venture. Multiple news outlets have reported that there is not yet a name for the establishment. Eater, however, has reported that LeAnn Mueller, an employee of La Barbecue, claims it will go by the simple moniker Lewis Barbecue. The Charleston City Paper has reported that space for the restaurant has been reserved at 464 Nassau Street in Charleston, part of an area known as the Half Mile North Development. No exact date has been set, but multiple indications have been made that we can expect an opening sometime in spring 2015.

Regional tastes
One of the most interesting aspects of Lewis’ planned restaurant is that it will feature Texan barbecue despite its South Carolina location. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, different geographies spawn differing types of barbecue. South Carolina barbecue is traditionally dominated by fare consisting mainly of pork, while Texan barbecue has a strong focus on beef products and dishes. It should prove interesting to see how Lewis’ Lone Star techniques and tastes resonate with the palates of diners in Charleston.

La Barbecue’s future
For those fans of Lewis’ work in Austin, please don’t read this as a foreboding tale; there’s no need to begin stockpiling brisket in your basement for the pitmasters potential departure. It’s been reported by Austin 360 that he will, in fact, remain a partner and a cook at La Barbecue while opening the new restaurant. He will travel to South Carolina for the first few months of the establishment’s set up and operation. During that time, La Barbecue will continue to operate, and plans to open a third pit for the trailer restaurant, expanding its cooking capacity.

Beginnings
Lewis apparently first noticed the opening in the South Carolina market for Texan barbecue when he traveled there several years ago. He also traveled there in July 2014 for the annual Charleston Brown Water Society SC-TX BBQ Invitational, where residents were deeply satisfied with his Texan cooking.