Alligator roasts are unlikely to become a regular happening at Dockery's, executive chef Andy McLeod says.
The Daniel Island restaurant, which is celebrating its first anniversary today, recently cooked a gator to demonstrate its team allegiance in the concurrent match-up between University of South Carolina and the University of Florida.
The event so impressed loyal customer Baron Christopher Hanson that he took it upon himself to issue a press release touting the gumbo and provenance of the meat, which came from a Florida farm that also sells hides for handbags.
"Once Gucci was mentioned, women — who would normally be more skeptical of gator — were 'all about it' and eager to try it," the Daniel Island booster wrote, comparing the alligator to candy.
Hanson's enthusiasm aside, McLeod says the restaurant is looking forward to showcasing more Lowcountry ingredients through its new slate of patio programs on Saturdays. Dockery's is hosting a Keegan-Filion pig picking tonight to celebrate its anniversary and is planning an oyster roast for early next year.
"We got a beautiful smoker, and we're definitely going to do things based around it," McLeod says.
The restaurant has an almost entirely new kitchen crew in place and has also made significant front-of-house changes since its debut, McLeod says.
"We've kind of retooled and have a new focus," says McLeod, the third chef to run the kitchen at Dockery's. He was chef de cuisine at Indaco before taking the head chef job at The Lot in 2015. The James Island restaurant closed earlier this year.
Dockery's current menu has been purged of the tuna poke, lobster mac-and-cheese and ham-and-cheddar flatbread which defined the restaurant's initial culinary outlook. Now diners in the mood for fish are offered local vermillion snapper, pappardelle with arugula pesto and charred onion alfredo fills one of the pasta slots, and the flatbread's topped with prosciutto, arugula, Asian pears, mascarpone and lavender.
And at least for now, alligator doesn't appear anywhere on the food list.
"It's not something we were really pushing," McLeod says. "Our focus is local."