Southern Culture owners take a Dive
Owners Omar Naji and chef Chad Gangwer opened Dive ’n’ Boar, a take on the traditional dive bar, sports bar and gastropub, Tuesday in the same Greenville shopping center as their other popular eatery, Southern Culture Kitchen and Bar.
The concept was born in a matter of minutes, said Naji. He had been up late on a Sunday night doing some research and knew he didn’t want to do the typical sports bar. “That’s really overdone and boring,” he said. So he and Gangwer came up with the idea for a barbecue restaurant but with a twist, and one that would have a strong cocktail menu.
They played around with the name a little. Naji said they knew it was going to be music-inspired, but also with animals and sports as the three main themes of the restaurant. They eventually settled on Dive ’n’ Boar.
“We took the idea of a dive bar and modernized it, making it into something cool,” said Chase Orsini-Liberatore, social media and development manager.
The former Mojo’s Famous Burgers and More space has been completely redone. High ceilings, modern fixtures, a service bar and open kitchen belie the strip-mall location. Large garage doors open to an outdoor patio in the back, and a small stage area will host local musicians playing folk, bluegrass and more.
Dive ’n’ Boar has 25 local beers on tap along with wine and Prohibition-style cocktails. The team will make all mixers fresh in-house and will infuse its own version of fireball whiskey.
The menu will feature “normal bar food but with a stylistic flair,” said Jennifer Uphold, chef de cuisine. Uphold, who has a fine dining and gastropub background, said the menu includes items like pork rinds with pickled watermelon and boiled peanuts, simmered in beer with spicy ramen noodles.
Sandwiches, in-house smoked meats – including a coffee-rubbed beef brisket served with a white barbecue sauce – appetizers, salads and nachos round out the menu. All meats will be antibiotic- and hormone-free.
The food will be a healthy mix of local and the best-quality ingredients, said Uphold. “It will be made with the same meticulous preparation as a fine-dining approach, but will be served in a more accessible way.”
Naji wants customers “to have an imaginative experience beyond the food and cocktails” and hope they come not just for that, but for the atmosphere as well.
Naji and Gangwer considered opening on Woodruff Road before this space became available – very convenient with Southern Culture nearby, so the two can keep an eye on both ventures, said Naji.
“The challenge,” he said, “is that people need to have a reason to come see us. We’re not on Woodruff Road, which has become a little over-commercialized, and we’re not downtown. We’re just local people taking on the big chains and taking the risk.”