Jul. 22—Dukes Bar-B-Que, closed since a fire in June, won't be welcoming back diners anytime soon.
"We will NOT reopen in 2022," wrote Dukes owner, Christian Judy, in a July 21 post on the restaurant's Facebook page. "We are looking to reopen in the early months of 2023.
"The fire in our restaurant destroyed a lot of equipment and caused a lot of damage outside of just the flames themselves," he continued. "There are plenty of requirements to rebuild and it will take us several months alone to draw up plans to begin the repairs process."
During that process, according to Judy, major improvements to the Dukes building will be made.
The front dining rooms will be remodeled, and the bathrooms will be renovated.
"Our kitchen will get an overhaul which will make repairs from the fire more cost-efficient and give us the ability to grow and expand business," Judy wrote.
Plans also call for the addition of a designated takeout area and infrastructure upgrades.
Dukes' seating capacity will be increased by 50% — "some as a private dining room, some as outdoor dining," Judy wrote.
More space for parking will be made available toward Crosby Street.
"We look forward to giving more details as we finish our rebuilding plans, but lots of progress has been made in the last few weeks," Judy wrote. "I know plenty of people will be disappointed in the length of time we will be closed. We are so sorry we will not be a part of the great events over the coming months. We miss serving our community, but we know this time is needed and will give us a sustainable building for the years to come."
Dukes is located south of Aiken near New Ellenton at 4248 Whiskey Road.
Following the June 11 fire, Judy told the Aiken Standard that there was a possibility that the restaurant would reopen in late July.