MOUNT PLEASANT — A shuttered rib restaurant near the base of the Cooper River bridge soon could see new life.
A taco venue plans to take over the original Sticky Fingers site at 341 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. in the Harris Teeter-anchored Village Pointe Shopping Center.
Laura Reuss, president of Asheville, N.C.-based White Duck Taco Shop, recently leased the former rib and barbecue eatery, according to Jon Chalfie of the commercial real estate firm Landmark Enterprises.
Reuss, who recently moved to West Ashley, said May 14 she hopes to open the new 5,800-square-foot restaurant by the fall "if all goes as planned."
"I've been looking to bring back White Duck to the Charleston market for quite some time," Reuss said.
The chain once had a location on Folly Road on James Island, but it went out of business in 2017 after three years, not because sales were off but because of a family matter involving the landlord, she said.
Reuss learned she could lease the former Sticky Fingers site with an option to buy it and decided it was the right fit.
"It's got the perfect type of uniqueness for a White Duck Taco Shop," she said. "The building, once we are done, will just be fantastic. We will knock down a couple of walls to brighten it up and add more outdoor dining with a fun little bar."
She called the location "exceptional" with "great presence" along a busy stretch of one of Mount Pleasant's main highway corridors. She also noted its proximity to the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and peninsular Charleston.
If all goes well, she hopes to add another Lowcountry location at some point.
"I'm going to put my heart and soul into this one first," Reuss said.
She plans to open four more over the next year with one in Matthews, N.C., near Charlotte that will tentatively launch in June, two Tennessee locations now in design in Knoxville and Chattanooga, and a fourth at a location where the deal has not closed yet.
White Duck Taco operates nine locations, with three in Asheville, two in Greenville, and one each in Charlotte, Nashville, Hendersonville, N.C., and Johnson City, Tenn., according to the company's website.
Reuss owns the Asheville sites and will oversee the new Charleston-area location. The others are franchise operations.
Sticky Fingers closed its Mount Pleasant location last year amid the pandemic. It now operates restaurants in Greenville and Chattanooga, Tenn.