When it comes to South Carolina barbecue, Dukes is one of the most important family names. You will find a number of Dukes restaurants scattered throughout the state. “We just started homemade ice cream,” Warner said. “We would not be making homemade ice cream if it was not (staying open).”
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However, Dukes is not a franchise or a chain. Despite what many people assume, all of these locations are loosely tied by family connections, but they are all separate entities.
The barbecue’s origins are right here in The T&D Region.
Danny Dukes is actually the patriarch of the Dukes barbecue legacy. He started a restaurant in Cope and in Branchville in the early 1950s.
Canaan native Earl Dukes, Danny’s brother and perhaps more well known, started his restaurant in Orangeburg in 1955 at Chestnut Street and Columbia Road. The Dukes Barbecue would later move to a small cafe on Whitman Street.
From there, Dukes Sr. moved to Cameron in 1970. In order to distinguish his barbecue from other Dukes restaurants, it was named The Original Earl Dukes Barbecue.
The restaurant moved back to Orangeburg in 1983 at the Charleston Highway location. It closed around 2002.
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