So far so good. Smoke BBQ is holding its own in the "cursed" property on Coleman Boulevard in Mt. Pleasant where co-owner Roland Feldman bravely opened up a second shop. His first, at 487 King Street in downtown Charleston is smokin' hot, so much so that he's planning a third. So when we heard that a new food truck may be on the front burner as well, we hurried over to get the lowdown. That's when we met "The Reverend."
Nicknamed for the way his white tee pokes out above his black chef's coat, Neal Stefan DeArmon is not really a holy man but “a vibrant spirit” who overflows with positive energy—and that's why Feldman hired him on the spot during the 2017 Charleston Wine + Food Festival.
“The festival sent over a few volunteer helpers and we put him to work at the Smoke BBQ booth,” says Feldman. “When the band kicked on his spirit lit up like Whoopie Goldberg in Sister Act. He was singing and clapping and wearing that black jacket—I said, my friend, I'm calling you reverend and you're coming to work at Smoke.”
A military veteran who “found his calling” attending the culinary program at Charleston's community outreach organization One80 Place, DeArmon and Feldman clicked and he gained more responsibility in the kitchen, which led to the creation of a cornbread to end all cornbread recipes. It's gotten such rave reviews that the Smoke team is taking it on the road with DeArmon in the drivers seat. We hear he'll soon be doling out all sorts of Southern style cornbread-themed dishes in the City Market next to Palmetto Carriage Works on Guignard Street.