Peanut Man slowly working his way back


Tony the Peanut Man is slowly rebuilding his boiled goober business in the wake of a damaging fire, and he’s eyeing a possible move to a new location more suitable to his cooking needs.

Tony, also known as Anthony Wright, said he has a long way to go before he recoups the $10,000 worth of cooking gear destroyed in an April 17 blaze in the yard of his West Ashley home. But a number of generous people have come forward to help, including a barbecue shop owner who gave him some pots to resume cooking on a limited basis, he said.

“I’m trying to do as much peanuts as I can,” he said. “Right now, I’m basically just doing enough to keep things going.”

Fire investigators found no sign of foul play behind the blaze, said Mark Ruppel, spokesman for the Charleston Fire Department. Something went awry during the cooking process and sparked the blaze after Wright stepped away from his operation to take a short break, he said.

Wright said the incident got him thinking that he might be better off moving his cookery out of the residential Maryville neighborhood. To that end, he’s considering leasing a building on S.C. Highway 61 to relocate his operation and perhaps open a retail outlet as well, he said.

He didn’t want to say exactly where the building is located until a deal is ironed out. But he said the building needs extensive work and he’s hoping someone might be able to donate some lumber toward the effort.

Several area businesses are teaming up this week to raise money to help Wright get back on his feet. and are coordinating the fundraiser, dubbed “Peanuts for Tony.” The events include:

Today: Big Guns Burger Shop, 137 Calhoun St., will donate 10 percent of sales from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. to Wright.

Wednesday: Triangle, 828 Savannah Highway, will donate all tips and specialty drink sales to Wright from 4 to 7 p.m. Wright will serve as guest bartender and will also be serving boiled peanut hummus.

Thursday: Torch Velvet Lounge, 545 King St., will donate 10 percent of sales from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Friday: NV, 48 N. Market St., will donate 50 percent of door proceeds to Wright from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m.

Saturday: Jimbo’s Rock Lounge, 1662 Savannah Highway, will donate a portion of door proceeds to Wright.

Throughout the week, will offer deals on its website specifically for these events.

Wright, who has become something of a Lowcountry icon over the 23 years he’s been hawking boiled peanuts, said he is grateful for all of the help and support he has received since the fire. “I am truly a blessed man.”

Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556.