Much to his surprise, Justin Moore is opening a restaurant in Goose Creek. But he's OK with it. He really is. After a career running fine dining kitchens like Carolina's and helping open restaurants like Harold's Cabin, he's given up the ego and embraced the humbling he's received at the hands of his food truck, MoMo Gastropub.
"[The food truck] was way harder than I ever thought it would be," says Moore. "It can be deflating. For the two hours of service, it's an 11-hour day to do lunch." And you're not guaranteed to sell much during those two hours either.
Moore found that the breweries and the hardware store parking lots could be a tough sell for a new truck that didn't already have a following, but then he discovered the festival circuit. One good festival or concert, like Slightly Stoopid at Riverfront Park in North Charleston, and he could rake in thousands of dollars and sell out of everything. He's using the income to pay for equipment and renovations instead of going into debt. He's also got a source of income from continuing to rent out kitchen space to other food trucks.
MoMo Kitchen & Market will open right off of College Park Road in Goose Creek (5F S. Alliance Dr.) in a former coffee shop. Moore had been renting space in the kitchen for the past year and jumped at the chance to take over when the coffee shop closed.
He feels great about the location. "There are 4200 homes in Crowfield," he says. "And if you look around, there's Wendy's and Sonic and not much else."
He also notes that Nexton is opening with outposts from Halls and possibly Taco Boy. "It's just two miles away," so that's another source of good customers.
He's excited to serve the hungry suburban community. "I hate saying elevated, but it will be elevated American cuisine with sandwiches and salads." He won't be making aiolis but he will be using Duke's Mayo and infusing vinegars and the like.
The brick-and-mortar MoMo will also have a market component for grab-and-go meals. He is modeling his space after places like Caviar and Bananas, where a family can stop in for a weeknight dinner or a single could stop by for a beer and to watch the game while eating a healthy meal.
"It's finally coming together after 20 years of getting my butt kicked in restaurant kitchens," he says.
Moore will keep the food truck rolling. He expects to open the kitchen this June and plans to expand with a second location in Park Circle within the next year.