Charleston-based Home Team BBQ opened with a rush in Five Points on Monday.
About two dozen people waited at the door prior to its 11 a.m. opening, and a steady stream of patrons kept the restaurant full through the lunch hour.
First in line was Emmanuel Torres of Columbia, who saw the restaurant’s post on Instagram.
“I’m hungry!” said Torres, who was in line with his friend Oscar Nunez. “ I want to get some food.”
The restaurant, located in the completely renovated Harper’s building at 700 Harden St., is the fifth Home Team location; the first opened in West Ashley in 2006. It has three locations in the Charleston area and one in Aspen, Colo.
Chief operating partner and pit master Aaron Siegel said he was a bit surprised by the turnout.
“We’re so excited that (the customers) are excited,” he said. “It’s great to have a welcome like this. Columbia has been so nice and gracious. It’s nice to get the doors open.”
The opening is more than just another restaurant in the funky urban village near the University of South Carolina.
Harper’s was a landmark in the village. It was a fixture at the corner of Harden Street and Santee Avenue for 27 years before closing in April of 2017.
In December 2017, Florence-based franchisees Jim and Brit Poston announced they would establish a Zaxby’s fast-food chicken restaurant at the site. But they said the restaurant would have required a drive-thru window, which required a special exception from Columbia’s Board of Zoning Appeals.
The exception was opposed by the Five Points Association, a merchants group, and some residents of neighborhoods adjacent to the village.
The board granted the special exception, but the decision was appealed by Five Points landowner and developer Richard Burts. The Postons, who own 19 Zaxby’s in the Columbia area, later pulled out of the deal, saying they didn’t feel welcome.
Burts, a Five Points pioneer and one of the village’s leading developers, on Friday called the Home Team opening “a home run” for Five Points.”
“It’s the best marketing we can have,” he said. “We have a corner that’s back in service. Five Points hit a home run getting Home Team. They could have gone anywhere and they chose Five Points.”
Tim Smith, owner of the Papa Jazz Record Shoppe and president of the Five Points Association, called the opening “a huge win for us.”
“It’s a really good fit,” he said. “We need more restaurants here to drive traffic between 5 p.m and 9 p.m. Everybody is excited.”
Home Team BBQ has been featured in national publications like Travel + Leisure, Esquire, USA Today, Southern Living, Huffington Post and Food & Wine. Siegel and partner Taylor Garrigan also have appeared on national television shows like the Food Network’s Chopped and Heatseekers and the Cooking Channel’s Late Night Eats, Man Fire Food and Burgers Brew and ‘Que.
The menu includes Fiery Ron’s burger, BBQ nachos, and smoked chicken wings in addition to pulled pork, brisket and other standard smoked meats and sides, the release said. The restaurant offers five house-made sauces — Carolina mustard, red, pepper vinegar, hot red, and sweet red.
It will also offer a specialty snack menu from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. nightly.
The bar will feature a wide array of American whiskeys, frozen drinks, cocktails and a number of local and regional craft brews, according to a press release.
The interior of the building has been completely gutted and reworked and includes an 8-foot by 9-foot mural of South Carolina native and “Godfather of Soul” James Brown by Charleston artist Sean Williams. The Blue Sky mural on the side of the building remain intact, the release said.
The restaurant will seat about 240 guests and has room for 40 more on a new year-round covered patio.
Home Team BBQ will also offer a catering menu, which will range from barbeque and Lowcountry boils to oyster roasts and more, the release said. For more information call 833-444-7427.
Home Team BBQ will be open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., with a limited late-night menu available from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. and weekend brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.