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A step into Cooper’s Country Store is a step back in history. You simply must stop in if you are traveling nearby. If not for the BBQ — which is authentic SC barbecue — stop in for the ambiance and to experience of a way of life that is fading into the past.
Back in 1937 when Highway 521 first connected Manning to Georgetown, Theron Burrows opened an Esso gas station, which he named Burrows’s Service Station, on that new road near Salters. (Esso is now Exxon for you younger folks.) His son-in-law George Cooper purchased the store in 1974, and today it is run by Cooper’s nephew, Russell Cooper.
Cooper’s is an actual country store…not a restaurant. Yes, they serve BBQ and other items from a small meat counter at the back of the store. In addition to hardware and home needs, you can also pick out your own country ham hanging in a special “screen closet’ nearby. At Cooper’s, you’ll also find another SC classic, Blenheim Ginger Ale for sale.
Finally, if you need a wrench or some groceries on your way to wherever you are headed, Cooper’s Country Store has what you need, including some of the best old-school, wood-cooked, whole-hog BBQ.
Robert Shahon looks to start a new business venture selling Cooper’s BBQ in his home state of Washington:
Flew in to Kingstree from Washington State for a long weekend to visit my daughter who now lives there. We were looking for a BBQ place to try and her boss suggested Coopers Country Store. My daughter had been to the other BBQ places in the area, Brown’s and Monkey Bottom Boys. In short, she thought this was the best. The flavor from the vinegar-based sauce is amazing!!! They really got a winner here.
May not be for everyone. If you are looking for a full-service restaurant, this is not the place, but if you want just a BBQ sandwich some ribs chicken etc to eat on the go, take home, or eat outside in the shade. I would be surprised if you are disappointed.
I could sell the heck out of this stuff in Washington, never had or seen anything like it on this side of the country. (Mr. Cooper we should talk!)
Take a step inside and get to know some of the special folks behind Cooper’s Country Store:
Next, enjoy this video interview of Russel Cooper, owner of Cooper’s Country Store:
Finally, enjoy this interview of Levern Darby, Cooper’s pitmaster of 35+ years: