White Duck Taco Shop announces a Charleston location

All of our lives could be very different if Laura Mixson, co-owner of White Duck Taco Shop and Pizza Pura, had gotten her way.

“I wanted to be Ye Olde Taco Shop,” she says before falling into a fit of laughter. Her husband and business partner, Ben Mixson, just smiles.

“He’s better at branding,” Laura says, as she explains how the White Duck is growing. Let’s just say there’s nothing “olde” about it.

A new location of the White Duck will open in Charleston, S.C., later this year, using the same full-flavor recipes as the Asheville store.

They’re a little nervous, Ben admits. They’ve been using the f-word — franchise, that is. One of Ben’s college buddies will run the shop, and he’s under strict requirements to reproduce the White Duck Asheville loves so well.

“Recreating the Duck is our new challenge,” Laura says. “Our job actually becomes a little more difficult having a franchise, especially having the first one, making someone understand what we are as a restaurant, and a culinary restaurant — everything will still be made every day.”

The restaurant will open in a renovated convenience store on Folly Road. It’s not in Charleston proper — rather, it’s on James Island, between the city and Folly Beach.

The building should be instantly recognizable to those who know the Asheville taco shop. Just like the River Arts District store, the James Island Duck will have a bright orange exterior, wide patio and, Ben hopes, a line out the door.

Like the paint jobs, the two restaurants’ menus will be identical. “Quality assurance will be one of our top priorities, so we will be in Charleston back and forth,” Laura says.

The Mixsons took their time pinpointing location No. 2, which Laura thinks of as “the baby Duck,” or “Duck-quito.”

“We get investor offers often, and our answer has always been ‘no’ because we don’t want a partner,” Ben says. “In order for us to grow and for our staff to grow and the brand to grow, how do we structure it so we can do that?”

With a good friend and a ready market, Charleston seemed like the logical next step. However, the Mixsons still plan to expand in Asheville. They’ve been talking about a second store here for more than a year, but they’ve yet to find a location. Fixing up old buildings has become part of their M.O.

“We’re just trying to find the right spot,” Laura says. “We need to find a cool, old gas station or something.”

In Charleston, construction is beginning. Tacos alight late this year or early next year.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.