The Seal of South Carolina proclaims Dum Spiro Spero, Latin for “While I breathe, I hope,” and that’s the business motto behind the new tenants of Hello My Name is…BBQ. 

Chef RJ Moody and Robert Laudicina are breathing and hoping their plan for a seasonally focused restaurant at 616 Meeting St. Suite A takes off. 

“We want to go as local as possible,” says Laudicina. “The menu depends on what’s available.”

In keeping with the restaurant name, their tastes appear to encompass the greater length of the Roman Empire from Hadrian’s Wall to Italy and beyond. Spero’s website offers a sample menu of Scotch eggs, mushroom agnolotti, trotter tots, and bangers and squeak. There are sandwiches too, like beef short rib, smoked chicken, and an N.C. Bao — a steamed bun, pulled pork, North Carolina barbecue sauce, and slaw. 

On the website, they describe their food with the following:

Focus is on small shared plates. We like to eat as much as we can, without feeling terrible about ourselves after. But not always. Sometimes we like to eat until we are sick. Fat kids. 

Moody is a graduate of the CIA — the “cooking school, not government” as his bio says. Laudicina, on the other hand, is apparently  “a BIG fan of Bruce Springsteen (from his home state). Rob loves to be called El Jefe (The Boss). He is not a jerk, which is probably why everyone likes him.” The men met while working at Pearlz, but prior to that Moody worked at The Lot and Red Drum. 

“Our food concept?” Moody asks. “I go with the Bruce Lee quote: ‘Simplicity from freedom.'” The chef wants Spero’s food to be simple and understandable. “Nothing crazy or out of control, just the freedom to do whatever we want, whatever looks good that week or that day,” he says. 

Spero will serve lunch and dinner, and Moody and Laudicina are considering Saturday brunch. “Depending on how tired we are Saturday morning,” says Moody.

Providing they get approval from the fire marshal, Spero could be open by next week. We’re looking forward to it, if only to see if the challenge on their website page “You might want to read this. Or don’t. Your call” holds up:

Tasty vittles are what drive us, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. The food though, that is serious. Not the website. They shouldn’t have given me the power of the internet. You will all read my stupid jokes. You will spend your hard earned money with us. You will obey… 

Will we? Alea iacta est.