MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – A new taco shop is set to open in Mount Pleasant this spring boasting unique flavors set in a tropical theme.
The owners of White Duck Taco Shop, which originated in Asheville, North Carolina, have been renovating the former Sticky Fingers restaurant on Johnnie Dodds Boulevard for the past year.
A complete overhaul of the building included opening the ceiling and removing some walls to create a larger feel inside the establishment. Bamboo is being used to section off seating areas and fresh paint will brighten up the once-dark barbecue joint.
Muralist Lacey Hennessey was brought in from Greenville, South Carolina to help merge the planned color scheme to give the restaurant its tropical feel and showcase floral themes, a large VW bus, and even a surfing duck.
“We’re very proud of what she accomplished here,” said Laura Reuss, who owns the restaurant.
The bar area will feature big-screen televisions and windows will open up to an outdoor lanai with bar service in addition to its deck area. “It gives an open-air feeling even though we’re in the middle of Mount Pleasant,” said Reuss.
Reuss has been working in the restaurant industry since she was a teenager. She left Park City, Utah in 2010 – working in restaurants at ski resorts – to later open the first White Duck Taco Shop in North Carolina.
The idea was to create a fun atmosphere where patrons would feel comfortable enjoying great, from-scratch food at affordable prices.
“We had been working at four- and five-star restaurants. We really wanted to be more approachable to everyone. So, we came up with the idea of White Duck Taco Shop,” she said.
The new restaurant ushered in new life for a part of Asheville that was still in its growth phase – the River Arts District.
“We were in Asheville, we actually moved there to start the brand. It was really a mom-and-pop organization, we just couldn’t keep up—it was crazy,” she said of opening the new shop.
The new location in Mount Pleasant will be White Duck Taco’s 14th venture.
Reuss and her late husband had roots in the Charleston area. And after reopening its other locations post-COVID-19 pandemic, she decided that it was the right time to bring the restaurant to the Lowcountry.
“I spent about seven, eight months looking for the perfect location with a lot of help from other people, and we came across Sticky Fingers,” she recalled.
A crew came in to determine how best to transform the former barbecue restaurant into a brightly-colored taco shop. After a few bumps in the road, thanks to logistics and delivery woes – White Duck Taco will soon serve customers just in time for the summer season.
Reuss described the menu as unique fusion tacos. “We do everything from fried oyster tacos, pork belly tacos with pickled watermelon rind, we have Thai peanut chicken tacos … the whole idea was to take really cool flavors and just put it in the form of a taco so that you could eat almost internationally.”
If you order a sandwich or burger off a menu, you only get to try one style or flavor at a time. Here, you’ll be able to select three variations in one sitting.
“The taco is the new American way,” she said. “Everyone loves a taco and a beer.”
Reuss is eyeing an opening in mid-to-late April depending upon final approvals from the Town of Mount Pleasant.