Unique Restaurant Coming to Central Avenue
By Gary Kauffman
Central Avenue will soon be home to a unique restaurant offering a Southern barbecue-Southwestern fusion, with a dash of Cheers atmosphere thrown in.
Brian Brittingham is renovating the former Crums on Central Restaurant at 1855 Central Ave., across from Buona Caffe Artisan Coffee Roasters, into the unique restaurant called Southbound Smokehouse.
“I’ve seen a similar concept work in the surrounding areas,” Brittingham said. “It’s filling a void here and it’s getting me back into what I love to do.”
Brittingham ran the Red Lion Club from 1996-99. He said he chose the location Southbound Smokehouse because he was a friend of former owner Andrew Crumrine and because, being a native of the area, he had seen the location go through several incarnations.
Crums closed just over a year ago so Crumrine could spend more time with his family.
Chef J.R. Whitfield will be the man creating the new tastes at Southbound Smokehouse. He comes from a fine dining background.
“But it’ll be iconic Southern comfort food with culinary applications,” Whitfield said.
That means classic Southern barbecue, hash and rice and mac and cheese, but adding a Southwestern feel, like pulled pork tacos and nachos, along with frozen margaritas.
Brittingham plans to create a floor plan with a large community table in the center with high tops surrounding it.
“It’ll be a real casual, mix-friendly atmosphere,” he said.
Whitfield said that is important with the type of cuisine they’ll serve.
“With comfort food you need a comfortable atmosphere,” he said. “It may sound corny, but I envision this place as sort of the Cheers theme song, where everyone knows your name. It’ll be more of a destination, a good place to hangout, a place to ‘be.’”
Both men want the restaurant to become more than just a business. They want it to be a vital part of the midtown community between the Medical District and Summerville.
“This whole little area is up and coming,” Brittingham said. “We have several people investing in this area.”
Whitfield added, “We want this place to be good for the area and for the growth of the neighborhood. We want to be one of those places that people can say ‘I’ve been going there for 10 years or 20 years.’”
Brittingham is shooting for July 1 as an opening date for Southbound Smokehouse, in time for the Independence Day weekend.
“I can’t think of a more barbecue holiday than July 4,” he said.