A couple years after outgrowing his small restaurant space in North Charleston, Kevin Green was ready to relocate ChuckTown Seafood Cafe to a place with more than eight seats.
Following his move from 5093 Dorchester Road to a former Dunkin’ Donuts down the road 4 miles, though, he nearly couldn’t afford to keep ChuckTown open.
“I thought I was financially ready,” the chef said. “The space needed a kitchen hood and I originally thought it would be $10,000. Well, the one we needed ended up being $33,000.”
As a result, Green delayed the opening of the new location and spent four months working festivals and catering events to save up money.
“Honestly, the struggle was real,” he said. “There was a lot of anxiety and there was a lot of pressure and sleepless nights. I knew I couldn’t turn back, though. I knew I had to make it happen.”
And, he did. He reopened ChuckTown, which he launched in 2011 as a mobile eatery in April at 7013 Dorchester Road. The spot has allowed Green to seat more people — it has a capacity of 54 people — and to expand his menu.
He opened his original brick-and-mortar shop in the summer of 2015.
“In actuality, I outgrew the old place two years ago,” he said. “You could see that it was standing room only and the line would be out the door. There were people waiting in their cars because the line was too long. That was holding me back on business.”
Green, who is known for crafting different breading mixes for each type of seafood, is now serving items such as bacon-wrapped shrimp, she-crab soup and sautéed shrimp and has added grits to his weekday menu. He said he’s serving about twice as much garlic crab — one of ChuckTown’s “biggest hits” — at the new location, as well as plenty of po’ boys and alligator sausage.
Green has also adjusted the restaurant’s hours. It’s open from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
“I’m doing a whole lot better than I was at the old location,” he said.
Green, whose nickname is “Frydaddie,” said he’s still getting used to having so many patrons dining in. ChuckTown’s former location catered mostly to take-out orders.
“It’s different, but I love it,” he said. “I try to go up and greet everyone I can. A lot of them are like, ‘Can I take a picture with Frydaddie? I try to make a point to do so. For me, if you have a $5 basket, I feel you’re just as important as someone who bought $40 worth of crab. You’re going to be treated the same, no matter what."