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Redbone Alley / Corky's Memphis Barbecue, 5400 Forest Drive: mid 2000s   13 comments

Posted at 7:26 pm in Uncategorized

Redbone Alley on Forest Drive in a Wal-Mart outparcel was the Columbia incarnation of a Florence based restaurant. While the Florence location apparently made clever use of a vacated mall anchor slot, the Columbia operation built a completely new building, which perhaps in the end was a bridge too far.

I believe I was still living in Aiken when the place opened, and only ate there once. Looking at their online menu, I'm pretty sure I would have ordered a burger. Whatever I had, it didn't impress me as either exceptionally bad or good. I do remember thinking that the atmosphere was a bit upscale to become a regular hang-out for me. Apparently a lot of people felt that way, as the place did not last long at all.

The next tenant in the building was some sort of Memphis barbecue operation. I'm not a barbecue person, and so had the burger again, and again it was fine, but nothing to write home about. I recall that The Free Times was not impressed with the barbecue, leading to an amusing letter to the editor from one of the Free Times rack jobbers saying that he should have been warned that the FT had just panned the food before being sent to restock the FT rack there!

That place had a very short run as well, and the next operation was a San Jose mexican operation. This led the San Jose up Forest Drive by the Rite Aid to put up a We Are Not Moving! sign as people just assumed that they must be the San Jose handling the new operation. I never ate at that incarnation..

The San Jose had, I think, an even shorter run than any of the other operations there, and the place got new management which changed the name to Pancho's. I believe it's been that way for a year or so now, and I have yet to eat there either.

UPDATE: Commenter Matthew identifies the barbecue operation as Corky's

UPDATE 20 November 2009: Added Corky's to the post title, also added the full street address.

Written by ted on November 9th, 2008

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13 Responses to 'Redbone Alley / Corky's Memphis Barbecue, 5400 Forest Drive: mid 2000s'

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  1. The BBQ place was terrible. I ate there once. I was impressed with the building though, huge space.


    9 Nov 08 at 9:23 pm

  2. I are at the Redbone in Florence and found the food good and the decor nice.


    10 Nov 08 at 6:41 am

  3. The BBQ place was Corky's, a Memphis institution. Corky's decided to franchise, and a good many of their franchises were terrible. We went to the one above, and they were out of pulled pork. Yes, the BBQ place didn't have BBQ. Whoever was running that restaurant clearly had no idea what they were doing. If you want good BBQ from Corky's, you have to go to Memphis.


    10 Nov 08 at 9:37 am

  4. Heh. Sounds like Dennis's Pizza Man story.


    10 Nov 08 at 11:42 am

  5. Panchos's is owned by Greg Leon, one of the three brothers that independently own the San Jose resturants in Columbia. I think when Greg opened this San Jose, he really upset one his brothers - the one who owns the one by the Rite Aid - hence the need for a "name change". Pancho's is essentially San Jose. They have basically the same menu and I have even seen the waiters wearing "San Jose" shirts. You can often see San Jose vehicles parked in the parking lot. I have often thought if any resturant was going to survive in that location, it would have to be a Mexican returant. For some reason, Mexican resturants have a way of surviving where many others fail - at least in this town. I think Pancho's has been there for a least a few years now.


    10 Nov 08 at 11:43 am

  6. I hated to see Red Bone go. Their food was great; they served some of the best steak I've ever had. After the Columbia one closed I ate at the one in Sumter a couple of times, and it was also very good, but it too has sadly closed, leaving just the one in Florence.


    12 Nov 08 at 3:07 pm

  7. It had another incarnation as well, (I think in between Redbone and Corky's) as Jaylen's Jazz Cafe (I think). A friend and I went there once for the live music and a nice meal. We had to wait for a seat in the bar area, which was pretty nice, but were disappointed that when our table was FINALLY ready we couldn't put our cocktails on our meal tab. To me that is a complete pain in the rear. It was SO dark we actually had to hold the candle from the table up to the menus to read them, and the music was SO loud that we couldn't even talk to each other (and we were sitting on the second floor area near corner - as far from the band as you could get). I don't remember what I had to eat, but I distinctly remember e-mailing friends that the drinks were watered down and overpriced, and that the atmosphere was terrible.


    13 Nov 08 at 3:30 pm

  8. Oh yeah, I had completely forgotten that. I thought a jazz club sounded nice and vaguely meant to visit, but as you say it didn't last long. Doesn't sound like I missed much!


    13 Nov 08 at 5:36 pm

  9. The owner of Jaylen's was arrested for drug trafficking just a few weeks after it opened.


    4 Dec 08 at 3:30 pm

  10. We ate at Redbones and the food was always great, cooked to perfection. Wait staff was always kind and quick to serve with a smile. We made it our place for a great steak. We were sad that it had closed when we were stationed here again.

    Lu R

    25 May 10 at 2:28 pm

  11. Redbone had the best chicken planks and smashed potatoes I've ever had. I so hated to see it go.


    27 Jun 10 at 12:47 am

  12. We loved Redbone's, especially since they used Carolina-sourced items, and the interior was really cool - I liked the trompe-l'oeil cityscape and the live music in a little stagelet-kind-of-area on the second floor (memory foggy there). The barbecue place was okay the time we visited, but was gone before we could return.


    16 Aug 11 at 7:53 pm

  13. I’m from Florence and RedBone is a favorite amongst locals. A staple. I’ve never been to any other location. I recently moved to Augusta Ga and I was hoping to take some friends to Redbone in Columbia. They have the best shrimp and grits an appetizer called Bermuda Triangles that’s to die for. I had friends in Florence that were hooked on chicken planks or fettuccine or pizza dip. Upstairs a game room for big kids and downstairs in one section an ice cream truck with a play area with toys for small kids. The ambiance beautiful romantic fun casual. Designed to look like rainbow row Charleston. Streetlights and starry night ceilings birds pitched on windows and power lines. The perfect place for date night or family dinner. You can get half orders at half price on most dishes. A bar area if you wanted to watch the game. I just can’t believe a redbone alley wouldn’t fair well in Columbia or Sumpter or anyplace in south!

    Katheryn Morris

    21 Mar 22 at 6:37 pm

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