City Limits Barbeque to end nomadic existence, taking Lil Duck’s place in West Columbia

Posted 4/25/23

One of the Midlands’ most popular barbecue nomads is finally putting down roots.

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City Limits Barbeque to end nomadic existence, taking Lil Duck’s place in West Columbia


One of the Midlands’ most popular barbecue nomads is finally putting down roots.

City Limits Barbeque, which has slung Texas-style smoked meats from a food truck since 2016, will soon open up shop at 1119 Methodist Park Rd. in West Columbia, the former home of Lil Duck Kombucha & Treehouse Cafe.

Chef/owner Robbie Robinson told the Chronicle the location, which sits just off U.S. Highway 1 near an Aldi grocery store, is a perfect fit for the barbecue operation that pulls much of its crowd from Lexington, West Columbia and Columbia. 

“If you draw a Venn diagram with Lexington and Columbia then you get a feel for all my customers, where they’re coming from,” he said. “I knew that if there was a place on the west side of Lexington, it would be a very challenging spot to get some of my Columbia people to travel. People would, but some people would just be too far, and vice versa.”

Robinson said he’s looked at several spots over the years, with many not offering the space he needed to set up his large smokers, and others getting snatched up off the increasingly competitive Columbia restaurant market before he had a chance to make his claim.

The funky little West Columbia space, which Robinson has passed frequently of late on the way to a location down the road where he cooks and has hosted some services, offered the right balance as a cozy place to serve barbecue with enough space to cook it.

“I know the numbers, and we have to sell a lot of food for this thing to be successful,” he said.

There is no anticipated opening date set, and Robbinson said the space needs “a little bit of TLC” before he starts seating guests. But he hopes to start holding pop-up services at the new location soon, perhaps by Memorial Day.

As far as the menu, folks can expect the Texas-style brisket, Carolina-style pork and homemade sausages that have become City Limits’ calling cards. Robinson said he hopes to expand the selection of sides and rotate in some seasonal options (summer will soon bring with it his corn pudding, he teased).

For now, the plan is to open the restaurant only on Saturdays, but Robinson said he will look at expanding to Sundays and perhaps some weekday lunch services if the crowds warrant it. The weekdays, he reasoned, would be a nice opportunity to bring in some differentiation, such as the smash burgers and hotdogs he has offered during select services.

As for alcohol, he said he’s taking his cues from Texas barbecue joints that have inspired him, offering cheap beer for people to grab to “let them grease the skids a bit” while they’re waiting for their food and if they want to grab another when it gets there. Wine will be available, too.

Robinson hopes to add liquor in the future, but that complicates things too much for now, he said.

With the move to a brick-and-mortar, he’s excited to hire more people to help him do the cooking and to expand beyond the dedicated following willing to sign up for newsletter alerts about when he’s having a service and where. 

“The plan is to add consistency,” he said. “Stand on the mountain and blow the trumpet, let people know, ‘Hey, we exist.’”

Lil Duck, which made kombucha and served a rotating food menu, announced its closure earlier this month. The restaurant opened in the West Columbia space in May 2021, moving from a previous storefront opened in 2020.

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