NORTH CHARLESTON — A new barbecue restaurant is coming to the city’s southern end, but that doesn’t begin to describe what you’ll soon find at 2029 Carver Ave., steps away from Reynolds Avenue.
Char siu (Cantonese barbecue pork), Chinese sausage, roasted duck and fried cabbage are some of the dishes Shuai and Corrie Wang of Jackrabbit Filly will serve inside King BBQ, set to open in early 2023.
Since turning their popular Short Grain food truck and pop-up into a brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2019, the Wangs have made Jackrabbit Filly a place that feels cozy and comfortable, yet dynamic and full of surprises. The restaurant seamlessly blends Chinese and American cuisine in a casual and lively setting, with dishes like karaage, dumplings, fish tartare and drunken egg noodles in ginger tomato sauce among the local favorites.
King BBQ will be different, with a menu unlike other barbecue restaurants in the Lowcountry. The restaurant’s name comes from the couple’s surname, which translates to King in Chinese. When written in Chinese, Wang is said to resemble the forehead of a tiger.
“The concept is more Chinese-style barbecue with a heavy influence of North Carolina, so mustard and vinegar ’cue,” Shuai Wang said.
That means roasted and smoked meats paired with sides that riff on classics; German potato salad and North Carolina red slaw, for instance. Diners will be invited to order at the counter and settle at a table inside the 3,000-square-foot space or outside on a covered patio, perhaps with one of several dive bar-inspired cocktails.
Shuai Wang called Kings BBQ a “Buffalo Bills bar,” so in addition to Chinese barbecue, expect the Labatt Blues to be flowing.
The restaurant is housed in a building that was once separated into two units, 2027 and 2029 Carver Ave. It previously housed several businesses, including The News & Courier’s North Area Branch Office in the 1950s.
You might recognize the building’s owner, Ed Sutton, one of nine potential running mates floated by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham on July 18. Sutton owns several buildings in the Reynolds Avenue corridor, a part of North Charleston that has seen an influx of development in recent years.
“We’re kind of seeing a resurgence of interest in the area,” Sutton said. “It’s been really interesting to see this transition and renewed interest.”
Sutton will soon redevelop the 3324 Rivers Ave. space previously occupied by Gold Mine Pawn Shop, a 9,000-square-foot project he said could include a restaurant. For now, his focus is on King BBQ, a “total overhaul” that will be designed by the Wangs.
“I love the neighborhood,” Corrie Wang said, describing King BBQ’s setting. “I just think that we’re opening a friendly place that’s going to make everybody happy.”
Current Jackrabbit Filly chef Brandon Olson will lead the King BBQ kitchen as chef de cuisine. The promotion is an example of the Wangs giving employees opportunities for growth — a Jackrabbit Filly server will take on King BBQ’s general manager role, while a bartender will be promoted to bar manager.
Ahead of King BBQ’s opening, the Wangs will harken back to their Short Grain days by popping up at Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (or sold out). The first pop-up will take place Aug. 23.
If it’s anything like those Short Grain events, we recommend visiting early and often.