GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – After much anticipation, Lewis Barbecue, in Greenville, opened its doors to customers Wednesday.
“We have been working on this project for about two years. We are in the old Tommy’s Ham House building on Rutherford Street,” said Ben Garbee, Co-Owner of Lewis Barbecue.
The new restaurant is a branch of the well-known Charleston Lewis Barbecue. Garbee told 7NEWS he’s excited to add their Texas-style restaurant to the competitive Greenville barbecue scene. However, he said it comes with a tall task of living up to the site’s history.
“We have some big shoes to fill and we don’t take that lightly,” said Garbee.
Located in between Arby’s and the Triune Mercy Center on Rutherford Street, the barbecue joint was filled with hungry customers ready to take their first bite of newly opened restaurant’s food. The current location was the site of the former Tommy’s Country Ham House, which was a staple in the city for more than 30 years.
“I really hated giving it up. But you know, I was almost 80 years old,” said Tommy Stevenson, former owner of Tommy’s Country Ham House.
Stevenson said it was more than a restaurant. Tommy’s Country Ham House was a site where the community gathered and contributed to some of the city’s notable days in political history, including hosting presidential candidates.
“When I built the restaurant, it was very open. That means that they could stand in the middle out there and speak to everyone,” said Stevenson.
Therefore, it only seemed fitting to the owners of Lewis Barbecue that Stevenson was the first customer in line to be served on Wednesday. It’s the beginning of a new chapter for the location.
“It’s very nice of them doing that. Like I said, they are first class. And I am honored to be their first customer,” said Stevenson.
It’s a step, the owner said, that they are taking to honor the past and welcome in the new.
“In Charleston we try to give back to the community as much as we can and we are excited to be apart of this new community,” said Garbee.