Grab your napkins and dig in to some good ol’ fashioned BBQ. Co-owners George Ray and James Wright opened Monkey Bottom Boys restaurant in April and celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony June 7. They did it on a leap of faith.
The friends decided to venture into the restaurant business about a year ago. They met through a relative about six years ago. “I was cooking a hog and they came up to see me,” said Ray. “My uncle got sick and I asked (James) if he wanted to help me cook the hog.” Since then the two have been catering and competing in statewide competitions - and winning. “I’m looking to win the state championship this year for us,” said Ray.
The chefs created their sauces from scratch and are still tweaking them. Wright, who is a native of Florida, said they combined their knowledge to come up with unique flavors. “Me being from Florida, everything’s a lot sweeter,” said Wright. “Me and him started combining what I know and what he knows from here.” They have a vinegar base but offer a sweet sauce and a sauce for chicken. “We come up with all our sauces and our rubs ourselves,” said Ray. They are currently third in the South Carolina Barbeque Association for BBQ and ribs.
The menu includes pulled pork, ribs, chicken and brisket with all the fixings but steaks and bacon wrapped wings and corn have been featured. New items are being served on the lunch menu as well.
But what about the name? Ray says it’s the name of a community near Effingham. Originally Monkey Bottom BBQ, Ray’s aunt and uncle Joe and Annabelle Barwick, used the name for competing. Wright and Ray kept the name but changed BBQ to Boys. The logo shows a seated monkey looking back while scratching his head, a reflection of a sometimes-bewildering road to restaurant ownership. “He’s scratching his head like he’s confused. That was us. People keep asking for different things and we’re not scared to try anything.”
During the ribbon cutting ceremony Kingstree Mayor Darren Tisdale welcomed the team. “I want to thank Monkey Bottoms for believing in Kingstree and coming here and opening a restaurant, especially this restaurant. This is a very special place,” said Tisdale.
Incoming HomeTown Chamber Director Martha Burrows sees the opening as an important step for the town. “Any new businesses coming to town is huge,” said Burrows. “More business means better economic growth for the town.”
Monkey Bottom Boys is located at 134 E. Main Street. The restaurant is closed Wednesday and Thursday. Hours vary so call (843) 355-0499 for more info. They will deliver for orders of five or more.