Smoke BBQ owner Roland Feldman told us that he couldn’t “give any comment on the situation” other than, “We have really enjoyed serving Charleston the past four-and-a-half years on King Street. We are definitely taking the opportunity to grow into a larger, more suitable space in the new year. Rent has gotten really high on Upper King … having 40 seats on King Street has been amazing, at the same time a business has to make money.”
[content-5] Feldman isn’t the only business owner who has noticed, and been affected, by the rising cost of rent on this stretch of King.
In March, we chatted with a handful of restaurateurs about how they manage to run a successful operation when rents have sky rocketed to figures like $18,000 a month for owners like Steve Palmer. Henry Eang, owner of longtime King Street staple, Basil Thai Restaurant, said that when his lease renewal is up, “it’s a difficult decision to make. I haven’t made up my mind if I’m going to stick around or leave.”
While most restaurant owners we spoke with said they were on five-year leases (or longer), Feldman says Smoke was on a month-to-month lease. He says that the monthly rent was not $18,000 but “it was climbing into that range.”
The 487 King St. space is pretty tiny compared to many of its restaurant and retail neighbors — they only had 40 seats. Feldman says he’s actively looking for a new restaurant space, beyond King, maybe to Park Circle, which he says is the “new cool restaurant hot spot.” Until then, he says look for Smoke BBQ pop-up events around town “with some really cool chefs,” and you can always hire Smoke to cater your next event.
“People just assume restaurant owners are millionaires,” laughs Feldman. “It’s a tough game, but we love it.”
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