The burgeoning Mount Pleasant region will add another business to its lineup. Big Bad Breakfast, known for its custom-created meats, fresh biscuits and preserves and locally roasted coffee, will be moving into the former Cabana Burgers and Shakes at 2664 N. Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant.
Wayne Bumgardner, who accepted the job as chief operating officer of the company early this year, resides in the growing area and anticipates an August opening.
Working the way up through the ranks
Bumgardner touts a long history of restaurant work, starting in fast food as a teen, then later working at Ruby Tuesday’s, first as a line cook, then as a regional trainer and later as a general manager.
Bumgardner then moved to Outback Steakhouse, opening an eatery in Blowing Rock, N.C.
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“The company became quite successful and I became a joint venture partner in North and South Carolina,” said Bumgardner. After that, Bumgardner joined up with Dallas-based Raising Cane’s, a fast casual, chicken tender restaurant where he became franchise leader. “This too, was very successful and the company bought the franchise back,” said Bumgardner, explaining that industry connections led him to his latest partnership with Big Bad Breakfast.
“Fresh Hospitality based in Birmingham, Alabama approached me with the opportunity to partner with them in a Big Bad Breakfast located in downtown Charleston,” said Bumgardner, whose goal as COO is to grow the brand.
The Big Bad Breakfast brand
According to Bumgardner, the Big Bad Breakfast brand is comprised of 15 restaurants, yet each one is different and represents the local area where they are situated.
“The décor is regionalized and is unique from restaurant to restaurant. You wouldn’t know that we’re a chain by walking into any of them,” he said.
Big Bad Breakfast is the brainchild of James Beard award-winner John Currence, who is reported on the company website as always having a “love affair with breakfast.”
“We add a chef’s touch to everything that we do. Plus, everything is scratch made and our menu is what we call unapologetically Southern,” Bumgardner said.
Among the menu selections are fried oyster scrambles, Creole omelets topped with homemade tomato gravy, cathead chicken biscuits with gravy, huevos rancheros grit bowls and chicken and waffles. If all of that has you contemplating a nap afterwards, there are light choices as well.
“We make our own granola and add it to yogurt and our avocado toast is out of this world,” Bumgardner said. Big Bad Breakfast also touts a full bar, so customers can avail themselves of mimosas and other drinks to top off their meals.
As for staff, Bumgardner acknowledges the difficulty that restaurants are having reaching a full contingent of servers, but recognizes that Big Bad Breakfast, with its shortened hours, appeals to those seeking an acceptable work-life balance.
“Because we’re only open for breakfast, brunch and lunch, our staff works from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., which attracts all kinds of people who dislike working nights and that’s a big advantage to us,” he said.
As for opening up in the Mount Pleasant area, Bumgardner said that he’s delighted to be in his neighborhood and part of a fast-growing area.
“Mount Pleasant used to be a sleepy little town near the beach, north of Charlestown and now it’s a sought-after area that has exploded in growth,” said Bumgardner, adding that new people are moving to the area every day and the fact that they can be at a beach in just a few minutes just adds to the area’s appeal.
“We’re looking forward to being a part of the fabric of the Mount Pleasant Community and are looking forward to what the future brings.”
Stephanie Kalina-Metzger is a contributing writer for SC Biz News.