The site of the former Mama Fu's Asian House restaurant that closed last month in Mount Pleasant won't stay vacant long. Wadmalaw resident Jerry Crites and his son, Bennett Crites of West Ashley, plan to open a Palmetto Pig Bar-B-Q franchise after mid-July in the old Asian cuisine location at 1795 Highway 17 in Towne Centre Place near Lowe's.

The barbecue buffet restaurant will have 14 employees and will be the Columbia-based chain's third eatery. Others are in Columbia and near Lake Murray.

Jerry Crites said he chose the location because of traffic and accessibility and thinks the restaurant's prices and product will draw in customers, even in the anemic economy. The former Mama Fu's site is not the only vacant retail spot in the strip center. The former Charleston Angler space also is vacant, said Louis Griffith, president and broker in charge of Joe Griffith Inc.

Still cooking

Fans of Kennedy's Market are sad to see one of their favorite corner cafes fall victim to the economy after seven years at 60 Calhoun St., but it's not totally going away.

Store operator Kevin Jordan said he decided to close the storefront at Calhoun and Alexander streets "due to slower sales in our retail store." Kennedy's will now focus on catering, which Jordan called a consistently good revenue producer.

He also is trying to line up a venue to host special events such as chef's dinners, wine tastings and specialty nights for Southern favorites.

His business can still be reached online at Online ordering should be ready by month's end, he said.

Snack time

Jodi Barr of McClellanville hopes to bring healthier snacks to schools and gyms across the Lowcountry.

Barr recently set up Lowcountry Healthy Vending at 414 Pinckney St. in McClellanville and already has eight clients with vending machines that provide alternatives to snacks with high-fructose corn syrup and preservatives.

Among her clients are Porter-Gaud School, Coastal Christian Academy, Orange Grove Elementary, Jewish Community Center, Addlestone Hebrew Academy, Boys and Girls Club, Rogers & Brown Custom Brokers and YMCA in Moncks Corner.