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The War Mouth: Here in Cottontown celebrating the simpler pleasures of eating and drinking in the 803. Draughts, spirits, victuals.
Ask what’s unique about South Carolina cuisine and you’ll get a lot of different answers.
There’s Lowcountry style seen in dishes like shrimp and grits and Frogmore stew. Then there’s just your typical “Southern” high-end restaurant food — cliches like fried green tomatoes or some fancy mac and cheese. In addition, there’s a true original like mustard-based barbecue and all that comes with it.
On the other hand, you have the War Mouth, which may deserve a category all its own. It’s the food of the South Carolina outdoors, but with a fine-dining edge — but there are no white tablecloths to be seen.
With a motto of “celebrating the pleasures of living where we do,” the one constant at The War Mouth is the desire to creatively redefine traditional South Carolina dishes.
“It’s a love letter to the 803,” said Porter Barron, one of the partners behind The War Mouth.
On the menu, you’ll find an SC special, chicken bog, served with their homemade onion sausage. There’s also quail cooked with curry in a light gravy.
In addition, on the menu, you’ll find mustard-fried venison, a South Carolina sportsman’s standby. The War Mouth also serves a catfish stew with corn sticks, local mushrooms, deviled eggs, and much more.
It’s “camp food,” said Barron.
“All of us grew up in the Midlands, so we wanted to have a menu with the stuff we ate at our grandparents’ houses when we were younger—pit barbecue, chicken bog, catfish stew,” explained Rhett Elliott, co-owner and head chef of The War Mouth.
“Every side of my family is from this area, so I really wanted to cook the kind of stuff we do at home.”
The large barbecue pit is one of the more unique features of The War Mouth. Take a Twice a week, Barron cooks a whole pig overnight. Cooking an entire pig has become a rare treat as many restaurants tend to only cook the shoulders.
Because of that, they are especially proud of their barbecue and their homemade barbecue and hot sauces. The pulled pork barbecue served in a homemade glaze, still holds a smoky campfire taste that delights customers.
In addition, Barron and Elliott also slow-cook some of the pork to prepare a thick stew with it to create a traditional Midlands barbecue hash served over rice.
“Our menu at The War Mouth stays vegetable-driven. We get our vegetables from a variety of farmers and sources, and we always keep fresh fish on the menu,” said Elliott. “We just keep going and let the menu roll with whatever ingredients we have. Hopefully, they keep getting better.”
The restaurant itself is unique. They thoroughly renovated a former auto repair shop to create The War Mouth. However, it still has the feel of a true South Carolina barbecue joint, with unsealed concrete floors and wooden folding chairs. The long, shiny bar is made of cypress.
Drop into The War Mouth for a new taste of some SC classics.