Lauren Williams Staff Writer
September 5, 2013
The sign proclaiming that White Swan Bar-B-Q & Chicken is coming to Clinton has been up for a few weeks now between Bessie Burger and Subway on Northeast Boulevard and has been making many Sampson locals’ mouth water in anticipation of the new restaurant’s opening.
According to White Swan employees, the wait will be over this Friday, Sept. 6, as the restaurant holds a soft opening for the general public.
Although a grand opening will be taking place at a later date, along with a ribbon cutting, assistant manager Melissa Murphy shared that the soft opening will also be a must-attend event for the community.
“All the managers and the owner will be there to welcome customers,” said Murphy, naming Kenny Johnson as the manager and April Meshaw as the other assistant manager. “We want people to come and take a look at the new store, sample the food, and let us know what they think, give us feedback.”
As for what customers can expect when they walk underneath the White Swan sign and into the new restaurant, Murphy described White Swan as “friendly,” family-oriented,” and “very service-oriented.”
“We want to get the employees to the point where they know customers by name and greet them that way when they walk in the door,” Murphy said.
“They can expect good service. We’ve got a very hospitable staff,” agreed owner Robert Scott.
Murphy added that the restaurant will have a familiar, comforting atmosphere. “We’re keeping with the country feel that North Carolina has and the food will be consistent.”
And Murphy believes the food, combined with the excellent service and pleasant atmosphere, is what will bring people in the door and keep them coming back.
“This is my first time working for White Swan and sampling the food, and personally, I feel it’s the best I’ve ever had,” she shared, specifically mentioning the restaurant’s famous hushpuppies. “I usually don’t like hushpuppies but when I get some of these I can’t stay out of them.”
“We have a very good-tasting product. The food is going to be really, really good,” added Scott. “”I love barbecue and this is really good, and with the best hushpuppies and slaw around it can’t help but be a success.”
The price for a meal at White Swan will also be appealing to locals looking for delicious food that’s easy on the wallet. “The prices are going to be affordable to everybody. We want to be able to cater to the needs of all the people in Sampson County.”
In Murphy’s opinion, White Swan is a restaurant that Clinton has been missing.
“We don’t have too many sit down restaurants that are affordable so I think it’s something that Sampson County needs. It’ll be open seven days a week and it’s got a friendly atmosphere, it’s got the look. It’s got everything I think the people of Sampson County are looking for.”
Scott feels likewise, noting that until now the closest White Swan restaurant for Sampson residents to enjoy was located in Smithfield.
“You’d be surprised at the number of people who drove to eat at White Swan,” he said. “I was really surprised that people would go that far…I’ve had a lot of people asking me, ‘When are you going to open up?’ which is a good sign.”
As for the numerous other barbecue and chicken restaurants in Sampson County, Scott believes that all can be successful. “I don’t think it will hurt them. There’s enough room for one more.”
Prior to Friday’s soft opening for the public, White Swan will hold a special opening tonight at 6:30 p.m. for community leaders, county officials, and the media. Congressmen and senators are also expected to attend.
Beginning this Friday, White Swan Bar-B-Q &Chicken will be open seven days a week, Monday through Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To learn more about White Swan Bar-B-Q & Fried Chicken, visit http://www.whiteswanbarbeque.com/index.htm.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.