Dukes Barbecue coming back to Beaufort

rheaton@beaufortgazette.comApril 17, 2013 

In this file photo, Jamie Harrelson, center, and wife Marlene, owners of Dukes Barbecue, fill take-out orders the day before they closed in 2009.

BOB SOFALY/THE BEAUFORT GAZETTE

There's going to be a new barbecue joint in town -- sort of.

Dukes Barbecue, which was open in Beaufort for more than 20 years before closing in 2009, plans to reopen Aug. 1 in the same spot on Salem Road, co-owner Marlene Harrelson said.

It's coming back with all the fixings, too.

"There's some things that we have to have at Dukes. Somebody would have a heart attack if we didn't," Harrelson said.

That means hash, rutabaga, collards, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, cole slaw, livers and gizzards, and, of course, the ketchup-based barbecue will all be on the menu.

"Everything's home-cooked," she said. "We cut every rutabaga by hand. I've got the calluses to show it."

Harrelson said she and her husband, Jamie, are considering adding ribs, or featuring different meats during the week.

The restaurant will be open only Thursdays and Fridays. In the past, it was open on Saturdays, Harrelson said, but they've decided to change that.

"For 27 years, we've worked Saturdays," she said. "We have a grandbaby now, and we want to enjoy the weekend also."

Work has already begun at the restaurant at 1509 Salem Road. Fresh paint went up last week, and the lot will be cleaned soon, Harrelson said.

Dukes will be one of a string of family-owned barbecue restaurants -- Harrelson said there are about a dozen Dukes, all south of Columbia. She and her husband have been running one in Blackville, just outside of Barnwell, since the Beaufort Dukes closed in 2009. Business at the Beaufort restaurant had slowed in the last two or so years it was open, and the Salem Road shopping center was deserted by 2010. Harrelson said a church has bought the rest of the shopping center and is planning to open.

Her father owned the Blackville restaurant, and the Harrelsons took over when he retired. Now Harrelson's father has chosen to sell the Blackville restaurant -- it will close in late June -- so the Harrelsons are coming home.

"A lot of people have been telling us they miss us, and they'd love for us to come back," she said. "We're just looking forward to getting home."

Follow web producer Rachel Heaton at twitter.com/IPBG_Rachel.

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