In all the madness of this week’s snOMG, you may have missed the reopening of Big John’s Tavern. After months of renovation, the place is all fresh and clean with a new food menu that prominently features a roast beef sandwich and other classic bar fare with nary a scrap of kimchi.
The renovation came on the heels of a swift and controversial coup in the fall when owner Ryan Condon decided he didn’t like the direction Big John’s was going and took over the operations. You see, Condon’s nephews had been running the place for more than a decade but they pulled out and left the bar in the hands of Cory Burke, who had opened the Green Door restaurant in the back room of Big John’s and had big plans for the bar.
Condon was interested in keeping Big John’s true to its roots and getting rid of the Green Door’s quirky (but celebrated) food. He told the Post and Courier that Big John’s had the best roast beef sandwich in town and that’s the kind of food he wanted to see served there again.
Condon — smartly — partnered with John Adamson of the Rarebit and the two set about cleaning the old place up. Big John’s is one of Charleston’s oldest bars, in operation since 1955, and is a notorious Citadel cadet hangout.
The food menu, crafted by Chef Brannon Florie, skews old school, with corn dogs, deviled eggs, wings, curry chicken salad, burgers, and that roast beef sandwich, which actually sounds pretty damn good: “house roasted prime beef, provolone, caramelized onions on a hoagie roll, au jus.”
Maybe this Condon guy knows what he’s talking about after all. Big John’s is located at 251 Bay St. and opens at 4 p.m.