Charleston, South Carolina – Smokey’s Place is a staple in North Charleston, serving up meals since 2010.
It’s the only veteran-owned establishment in the area.
Smokey Blase is the owner of the restaurant. He says it’s more than just a place to eat.
It’s a home for memories.
“My son’s hockey jerseys are in the back – from high school to junior hockey to the European leagues,” said Blase.
The restaurant is riddled in tributes to things like the victims of the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting and “the empty chair.”
“[The empty chair] is a tribute to POWs and MIAs,” said Blase.
Many who walk through the glass doors return quickly, like Julia and Owain Hogan.
“Smokey’s is an institution in this area and just beloved by everyone – it’s a fantastic place to be,” said Owain.
Soon, they won’t have that luxury. COVID has hit the restaurant hard.
“We came off the shutdown and then we tried to scratch our way back and we got all these restrictions on us and many times having to chase out a full house – you see dollars walk out the door,” said Blase.
Owain and Julia say now – many people living around the restaurant won’t have anywhere to go.
Blase says he doesn’t know what his next move will be, but remains optimistic.
The restaurant will be open through January 1st.