George & Lisa Bowen, Burbage's Grocery
As Americans, we talk a lot about Mom and Pop stores -- how we love them, how we need to “save” them -- but if you press many of us, me included, we can probably tell you the best place to park at Costco. Well, it’s time to meet Mom and Pop. Four years ago, George and Lisa Bowen purchased Burbage’s Grocery, located at the corner of Broad and Savage Streets, in one of those Charleston, SC neighborhoods that make tourists look at each other and say, “we should live here.” George and Lisa don’t need “saving.” They’re taking responsibility for the evolution of the iconic Charleston corner store. When I walked in the door on the day of this interview, Lisa and one of her daughters were clad in aprons and hairnets, sitting at the only table up front, tasting some wines I’d see on a restaurant menu. Southern food isn’t just about farms and fancy restaurants -- it’s about grocery stores too, a place that I’ll bet most of us frequent more than the other two. Burgbage’s is some kind of special, with housemade pimento cheese, chipwiches, my favorite brand of paper towel (they got that Bounty select-a-size) and local beer in the chill case. But who makes it all run is George and Lisa, who are mindful of everything from paying their employees’ parking tickets to how you like your hot dog. And sure, we talk a lot about hot dogs here, but then again, I love a good hot dog.