In the world of barbecue, John Lewis is a legend. The restaurant that he headed in Austin, La Barbecue, was voted as one of Texas’ “Top 50 Barbecue Restaurants” by Texas Monthly. You don’t have to know much about barbecue to know that making it in Texas is a big deal. That’s why Charleston is one lucky city to be the location of his newest restaurant, Lewis Barbecue. John Lewis takes barbecuing pretty seriously — making his own smokers, experimenting with its design to yield the best results — which is why he turned to designer Betsy Berry to create a space that goes beyond just great meats.
The concept for the design of the restaurant is a nod to barbecue but avoids the cliché. Betsy took over from the architects to give the space sophistication and originality. The booths and front bar are made of wood from a horse farm in Kentucky — you can even see the bite marks. The horseshoe motif on the wall are not hangings, rather imprints made by the horseshoes, completed by Suzanne Allen Studio. Betsy sourced lassos from eBay and around Texas as a form of 3D art. Her thoughtfulness and touches, were just what John Lewis was looking for.
What we love about the space is the amount of style and warmth the space has. The cement floors and industrial canvas give it a cool feel, while the brass pendants, leather tufted bar stools and fun signage make it a place of warmth. Lewis Barbecue is a great example of how design and food can complement each other to give restaurant-goers a complete experience. In this case, a concept is clearly carried throughout — we’ve seen the bold style of the space, now it’s time for us to taste the ribs.