You may have noticed a lack of Sticky Fingers restaurants in the area during the nearly three years since all Charleston locations closed in 2020. Fortunately, the Mount Pleasant-founded brand was still up and running with locations in Greenville and Chattanooga, Tenn. Though no longer headquartered in Mount Pleasant, the brand returned to the Lowcountry in December 2022 to a new location at 5060 Dorchester Road in North Charleston. It has been rebranded as Sticky Fingers Ribhouse.
“It was originally Ribhouse for a long time, actually,” said CEO Alex Daunter. Daunter was formerly a chief operating officer before assuming the position of CEO in November 2020. “Then somewhere along the way, somebody flipped it to make it Smokehouse, and we just went back to what we were.”
The move from Mount Pleasant to North Charleston was a deliberate decision on the brand’s return to Charleston, according to Daunter.
“Now we’re more centralized,” he said. “So if you are somebody who would go to Summerville, or Mount Pleasant or North Charleston or downtown, now you’re 10 to 15 minutes from any of those places to Sticky Fingers.”
Sticky Fingers was founded in 1992 by Chad Walldorf, Jeff Goldstein and Todd Eischeid in Mount Pleasant. The trio sold the chain a decade later, but all three joined the company again in 2016. Sticky Fingers had 16 locations across five states in the Southeast just prior to 2020. But troubles during the pandemic shuttered many locations, including the original Mount Pleasant spot on Johnnie Dodds Blvd. as well as the popular downtown Charleston space on Meeting Street near the City Market.
Despite the pandemic woes, Daunter said it allowed the company to evaluate its food and brand, returning to its roots. Sticky Fingers refreshed its overall look and updated restaurant interiors , the menu and the logo.
“We moved a little away from the kind of original teal green that was used,” Daunter said. “That was very popular in the ’90s. It was a great color and a great scheme for when we started, but you know, it’s not the ’90s anymore.”
Daunter said the company has returned to a more food-centric approach, working closely with pitmasters, increasing house-made items and working with culinary specialists to offer more dishes. New items like smoked pork belly and burnt ends were added to the menu to give customers more options, Daunter said.
“I think somewhere along the lines, the brand was given this kind of ideology that it turned into a chain,” he said. “And as an organization, we really didn’t like that.
“Our original founders aren’t necessarily involved with the brand anymore, but we want to honor them and the great work that they did great creating a great brand.”
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