With the popularity of the film “La La Land,” jazz is experiencing a resurgence across the country.
But not just jazz – jazz combined with great food and drinks.
DaufusKEYS Gullah Bistro and Piano Bar delivers on all fronts with a piano as a centerpiece and jazz performed live at least every Thursday night. Buth there’s also a full menu that includes Gullah and Creole inspired dishes such as Cajun sauteed shrimp, various po’ boy sandwiches, the chef’s special shrimp and grits with a secret blend of five cheeses, Lowcountry gumbo, she-crab soup, and jambalaya. The filet ribeye has a Creole sauce and is served with grilled artichokes, while the brine pork chops are served with a red-wine tomato jam and a pepper and onion jam.
Some of the sides are similarly inspired: fried okra, chicken bog, Gullah rice, and collard greens, to name a few. One dessert is a bourbon bread pudding.
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Chef Jeff Blackmon, a University of South Carolina graduate, has 25 years of experience in the hotel and restaurant industry. It was at his first job as a chef that he perfected his trademark shrimp and grits dish.
Blackmon brings a knowledge of Southern cooking to DaufusKEYS, explaining that a personal favorite is his shrimp po’ boy because of the fresh shrimp and homemade remoulade. There is a full bar and dining upstairs as well as dining downstairs and a wine cellar, where there will be future wine-tasting events.
How did DaufusKEYS get its start?
Taking over the space that formerly housed Mac’s on Main, DaufusKEYS opened in February. Partners are Ben Rogers, Robert Mack, Earl Ware, and Dennis Taylor – all of whom have an interest in jazz.
Musicians are local. The goal of the endeavor is to celebrate great music and delicious food.
What does the place look like?
A comfortable but sophisticated “living room,” with antiques and velvet art deco chairs and flowers on some of the tables, is what draws in guests. The main dining furnishings are a contrast between black paint and wood, with the ceiling exposed and intimate lighting throughout.
Seating is for around 60 upstairs and about 30 downstairs.
Who eats here?
The downtown crowd of business people, attorneys, physicians, and professors already have started to wander into DaufusKEYS. Jazz enthusiasts are finding the establishment, as are those interested in the flavors featured in the Gullah, Creole, Cajun, and Lowcountry dishes.
DaufusKEYS Gullah Bistro and Piano Bar
WHERE: 1710 Main St.
WHEN: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Friday; noon-7 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday
COST: Priciest item is $15.98; burgers and po’ boys are under $10.
INFO: (803) 764-2316; Facebook