Sunday, June 12, 2011

Duke’s Barbeque, Walterboro, SC

Well Worth The Trip
Returning from a recent getaway in Hilton Head Island we spotted a charming billboard depicting a very quaint town (or so we thought), Walterboro, SC.  So we took a detour and headed towards the town. At the very least we thought we could stop for lunch.

The town itself was a big disappointment.  The billboard was a gigantic overstatement.  That being said we started to look of a place to eat.  Throughout the town were very large signs advertising “Dukes (sic) BBQ”, but try as we might to find it, we seemed to be going in circles.  We were finally able to find a small pocket of cell reception and plugged the address into our Garmin. 

Walterboro is a pretty small town with a few stores scattered around the area.  The new Bi-Lo seems to be a new landmark.  But through one more intersection we spotted Dukes, a very large restaurant with a parking lot that was packed!!  And low and behold a big pink pig on the lawn welcomed us.

Lining Up At Dukes
This is a place where time has stood still. It doesn’t appear to have had any renovations in the 25+ years that it’s been there. Two large rooms were bustling with patrons carrying large heaping plates. In a place where the sidewalks seem to be rolled up this place had a line of about 25 people waiting to place their order.

Dukes business model is very simple.  You walk up to a cash register and pay.  Kids under 3 eat free, for kids 4-7, it’s $4.00, kids 8-12, it’s $6.00, Seniors 62-84 it’s $8.50, “Super” Seniors 84 and older it’s $6.00 and adults pay $10.00.  Tax is included in these prices and the ordering is a simple process.  The price also includes a drink.

You are then standing at the beginning of an incredibly long buffet line as Duke’s is an all you can eat offering.  My mom always told me, “Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry,” because too many unexpected items jump into your cart. The same holds true with me and buffets. Things I would usually not eat on a dare somehow seem to make it to my plate.  But off I went on my newest buffet expedition.

Dukes is not a place where “neatness counts”.  Although it appeared the buffet line was being attended to, it was very messy.  There were so many things to choose from (32 items made fresh every day), that I had to first troll the buffet line to see what I wanted.  That didn’t seem to help limit my plate load in the long run, but I did give it the old college try.

The buffet line starts with a “veggie” section – collards, rice, corn, beans, etc.  It then lands you smack dab in front of a large insert of pulled pork that looked and smelled delicious.  Although a variety of barbecue sauces were located on top of the sneeze guard, we stayed with one of the options next to the pork – Dukes (sic) hot sauce. And we were glad we did!

Passing mac ‘n cheese we slowed down the tour at fried food mountain. Here we found corn fritters, onion rings, hush puppies, fried okra, homemade potato chips and a mound of glorious, deep fried chicken.  Say no more, our plates were now full!
Magic BBQ Sauce
BBQ Section

Fried To Die For....

Plate Of BBQ Love

Can't Get 'Nuf Q
At the table there were the usual condiments and a loaf of fresh sunbeam white bread. I was not certain where I would put it on my plate or what I would use it for, so I passed and began my barbecue adventure.
All That And Bread For Dippin'
I have to admit I did eat the two pieces of chicken, a little bit of pork and some mac and cheese but I was soon full. So my mom’s grocery store advice also rang true here.  Don’t put on your plate what you aren’t going to eat. Lesson learned.

Although it took some time to find Duke’s it was well worth the trip.  In sleuthing Dukes online when we returned, it appears that there is a Dukes on James Island.  Sounds like a road trip!

Duke's Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon


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