by Ardie Arvidson
A ribbon cutting to celebrate Wholly Smokin’ Downtown’s membership in the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce was held Tuesday afternoon at the restaurant. Chamber ambassadors, family, friends and staff joined Jackie Travis, the owner, for the celebration.
The restaurant of “barbecue, ribs and a whole lot more” is located downtown in the 100 block of South Dargan Street.
Travis said she has been open since December 2014 and hers was one of the first restaurants to open in the revitalized downtown.
“I used to be a member of the chamber when we had Travis Jewelers,” she said. “I’ve seen a transition in the chamber. I can see they are deeply committed and involved with businesses and the community.”
Travis said, “It got me excited about being a member.”
Travis said she and her husband opened a little take-out business on Celebration on Boulevard after retiring as jewelers.
She said Andy Jeffords approached them by the invitation of Dr. John Keith, who owned the downtown building, about moving their business downtown.
“It was scary being one of the early comers to downtown,” she said. “But it has been an unbelievable experience. We look forward to the future.”
Travis said she loves being downtown.
“I love the vibe,” she said. “It has been an exciting ride.”
She said the name says everything about who they are. She said everything is smoked. The menu includes barbecue, pulled chicken, wings, ribs, brisket, sides that complement barbecue, and other items.
She said the restaurant is on the South Carolina BBQ Trail map and gets a lot of tourists. She said the events downtown also bring in business.
“We are one of the few barbecue restaurants where barbecue is full-service, order from the menu,” she said.
Wholly Smokin’ Downtown also has a bar with an extensive wine list, craft beers and cocktails.
“We have four flat-screen TVs for watching the game with friends,” she said.
Travis said they have a saying at the restaurant that Wholly Smokin’ is “a place where customers become friends and friends become family.”
The restaurant has a seating capacity of 99 and opens at 11 a.m. seven days a week. It closes at 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday.
Travis said she has lived in the Florence area for more than 40 years. She has a daughter, Sarah; who assisted with the ribbon cutting; and a son, Andrew, who lives in New York. Her husband, Bill Travis, passed away in 2017.
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