Larry Plank laughs when he hears the rumors about the restaurant he plans to open in Port Royal and says folks should come to 914 Paris Ave. to find out for themselves if what they hear is true.
In a few weeks, the Plank family will open the Smokin' Planks eatery in the former Olde Town Coffeehaus, said Plank's daughter, Brooke Plank-Buccola.
When the Olde Town Coffeehaus closed in spring 2011, locals mourned the loss of a place to gather and grab a cup of morning Joe.
The Planks hope to bring some of that flavor back, and Plank's wife, Nancy, wants to eventually serve coffee to go with Plank-Buccola's homemade baked goods. After graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Plank-Buccola went to culinary school and now plans to make cupcakes, muffins, cookies and pies.
"We'd like to keep that small-town atmosphere," Nancy Plank said. "Port Royal is really quaint, and we're hoping we can give back to the community and grow with it."
Beaufort and Port Royal have long been stopovers for the family during trips. Plank-Buccola fell in love with the area, moved here about two years ago from the Naples, Fla., area., with her husband, Chris, and persuaded her parents to follow.
The restaurant will start with lunch and dinner hours, which have not been set, and hours and food offerings will be expanded based on customer requests, the Planks said.
"We want the feedback from the community," Nancy Plank said. "What do you want? If we get a couple of people requesting something, we're going to put it on the menu."
Smoked fish -- including salmon, shrimp and mullet -- are among Larry Plank's specialties. Barbecued and smoked meats will include pork, chicken, turkey and beef. Sandwiches, salads and takeout food will be available for people in a rush, Plank-Buccola said.
The restaurant has applied for a liquor license, and Plank-Buccola said they intend to carry specialty beers.
Joe Abell, the original owner of Big Joe's Bar-B-Q in Port Royal, will be the general manager and has been helping the Planks start the business. Some of his recipes will be on the menu.
The building underwent months of construction to add a room for smoking meat and fish, as well as a full kitchen and dining area. Outdoor picnic tables offer additional seating, and Nancy Plank said the family hopes to coordinate events and specials with festivals on Paris Avenue.
A website and a Facebook page are planned but not yet online.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeOnPortRoyal.
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