Chuck Porter was born and raised in Greenville, and after he completed his term in the U.S. Marine Corps, he couldn’t think of a better place to return to and raise his family.
Porter, owner of Torch Cigar Pub, will open the business in mid-to-late May, which will take the place of the Overbrook area’s former pizza restaurant staple, Stone Pizza.
“I know this is a good place to raise a family and wanted my kids to have the best environment to grow up in,” said Porter. “This building is absolutely perfect and has been here for as long as I can remember. It’s a hard location to beat.”
This will be the second business he has owned — the previous business being an apparel company he ran for about five years before selling to a competitor.
“Cigars have been something I’ve indulged in since the early ‘90s,” said Porter. “About 12 years ago, that habit turned into about at least once a week to three times a week. It was a way my wife and I could relax. This will give me the opportunity to serve the community in an uplifting kind of way and a chance to make them happy.”
Torch will offer cocktails and small plates in addition to imported premium cigars.
Equipped with a full kitchen, including a wood-fired pizza oven from the previous tenant, Porter intends to evolve the menu to a tapas style and wants to make use of that oven, which can be something that separates them from other cigar bars, said Porter.
The premium cigars will be hand rolled and imported, and brands cigar aficionados will recognize. Porter said he will offer a selection to accommodate a wide range of budgets.
“We want to be able to offer a wide variety of cigars, so anyone can come in and enjoy themselves,” he added.
Porter said, from a visibility standpoint, he couldn’t have asked for a better spot than being near the downtown Gateway District.
“We are hoping we can pull the cigar lounge off as a destination but a community-based location, too,” he said. “There are a number of cigar pubs here that offer different environments. Not only do I want this to be a destination for cigar enthusiasts but for people who may be heading into downtown for dinner and want to stop by or for a nightcap on the way home.”
Porter said he hopes to attract tourists and business travelers, which typically are a big part of a cigar bar’s business.
“One of the things I'd like to see happen, given that people talk about how great the restaurants are here and how good the tourist environment is, is I also want Greenville to be mentioned as having a killer cigar pub,” he said.g