Darlington restaurants put on a good face
By Samantha Lyles
While inside dining is off the table due to COVID-19 health concerns, several Darlington restaurants are still cooking up delicious comfort food to help see their regulars through this trying time. After all, when has a fried pork chop or sweet potato fries ever failed to brighten one’s day?
Two local eateries – Taki’s “Back to the Fifties” Diner and Nick’s BBQ House – are still serving take-out orders, and both have recently invested in new equipment and facade improvements to spiff up their businesses. Last week, each restaurant received a $1,000 check from Darlington Downtown Revitalization Association, which rewards such actions through its DDRA Incentive Improvement Grant.
“We painted the exterior, put a new awning over the drive-through, added a new back door,
new gutters, and new aluminum trim work around the exterior,” said Nick’s BBQ owner Pete Nikolakakos. He notes that the 310 S. Main St. building has been in his family since 1988. “We also want to redo the parking lot and add a fence, but it looks like we’ll have to put that off for now.”
Over at 609 Pearl St. at the 30-year-old Darlington mainstay known as Taki’s Diner, proprietors George and Nick Nikolakakos have freshened up their building with a new roof, exterior paint job, renovated bathrooms and new dining room. George says that while the dining room is temporarily closed, customers are encouraged to order take-out and enjoy their favorites at home.
Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd, Darlington County Councilman and DDRA Board member Bobby Kilgo, state Rep. Robert Q. Williams, DDRA Executive Director Lisa Rock, and several city ambassadors thanked these businesses for their investment in Darlington.
Rock said that since the grant program began, DDRA has awarded $10,000 in grants connected to more than $200,000 in renovation work.
“That’s not even counting the domino effect of what others have done to improve their businesses and properties after seeing their neighbors make upgrades,” said Rock. “This serves the DDRA’s mission in a tangible way that people can see. Once the outbreak and restrictions on gatherings are lifted, we hope to raise more funds to continue to distribute incentives to Darlington businesses.”
The DDRA’s golf tournament has been rescheduled to May 20 at Darlington Country Club and the Taste of Darlington on April 23 has been postponed. Check www.BuildUpDarlington.org for updates on these and other events, and an updated list of restaurants that remain open for take-out orders. (For more on how restaurants are coping with the coronavirus, see main story that begins on Page 1.)