Lowcountry Living: Paw Paw Southern Plates

February 19, 2017, 2:30 pm EST | Share:

CHARLESTON, SC (LEYLA GULEN, WTAT-TV) — Another sign the Holy City is changing — Wet Willies, a frozen daiquiri bar on East Bay Street, was sold, gutted and stripped of its adult slushy past.

It now caters to a much different palette.

“I went and found the best wineries I could and I said look, Charleston is on the map and we’re opening a restaurant on one of the hottest restaurant corners in Charleston and we want to represent regional wine,” said Paw Paw co-owner Jared Jones.

Paw Paw Southern Plates opened in December by co-owners Jared Jones and his partner and chef Jared Rodgers.

Together, the two Jared’s have created a casual elegance providing a menu derived from southern cuisine but with developed flavors.

Virginia-born Jared Rodgers moved to California straight out of high school when he was 17-years-old to attend a culinary academy.

He worked professionally in San Francisco for 13 years before coming back to the south last year.

“I’m still new here so I am still learning and just still trying to figure out where everything is coming from, but I’ve gotten a lot of great recommendations and I think that I’ve found some really good purveyors to support us at Paw Paw,” said Jones. “I just really care about the execution of things and for me, the way I do a program is everything has to be really, really fresh and I don’t put out anything that I do not like.”

Even if it is as simple as fried chicken and some of the best cocktails. A stark contrast from the former Wet Willies sticky college-student watering hole.

Paw Paw offers and elixir created to hopefully break the spell of never having seen the local legend, the ‘Why Haven’t I Met Bill Murray?’

As you can tell, Jared Jones has quite a sense of humor. “I have what I like to call a hospitality body. You are on your feet all day so your legs are strong, and you are carrying things all the time so your upper body is ok… and then just soft through the middle,” he jokes.

But he also has a knack for the business. “I grew up in the restaurant business. My dad opened his first restaurant before I was born and my earliest memory are literally at 3 and 4-years old peeling potatoes,” he says. “And my mom was a pastry chef.”

From potatoes and pastries to Paw Paw; Jared and Jared kept pretty busy but still have time for dessert.

After all that fried chicken, bourbon and ice cream, you are probably still wondering what is a paw paw?

“Paw paw is an amazing ingredient. I’m still searching for a purveyor because it is such a perishable fruit. I think I am going to try to make a paw paw infused soft-serve ice cream.”