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Briny Swine Smokehouse & Oyster Bar Opens in Chicago

Chef/Owner Brandon Rushing has announced the opening of Briny Swine Smokehouse & Oyster Bar in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood (2577 N. Clark St.). Opened June 1, Briny Swine is a seaside-inspired smokehouse and oyster bar featuring Carolina-style barbeque, seafood from the Carolina coast and Lowcountry favorites – served with wine, whiskey, beer and cocktails aplenty, live music from the Briny stage and a side of sass.

Briny Swine Smokehouse & Oyster Bar Opens in Chicago

About Briny Swine

Briny Swine is a beloved, down-home restaurant that was first established in Edisto Island – a quiet community of 2,000 nestled between the North and South Edisto Rivers 45 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina. The picturesque, 68-square-mile sea island is mostly undeveloped, where the tang of sea salt lingers in the air and the roads are framed by massive oak trees draped with Spanish moss. Edisto’s robust fishing community and the island’s rich heritage spill into its restaurants, where food is the heart of the community. There, Brandon and his wife Katherine own and operate the original outpost of Briny Swine and Ella & Ollie’s, both of whose menus shine with local seafood and Southern staples.

Enthusiastic about a foray to the Midwest, Brandon brings some of that Edisto magic to life in Chicago. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he was exposed to the concept of sustainable seafood as a youngster, and grew up inspired by its versatility on the plate. After graduating from the Oregon Culinary Institute (Portland), he set his sights on one of the country’s distinguished seafood destinations: Charleston. There, he worked alongside his mentor Philip Bardin (largely credited for putting Lowcountry cuisine on the map) at The Old Post Office. Brandon then served as chef de cuisine for nearly five years at Blossom – a venerable standout on East Bay St. that operated from 1993-2020. He and Katherine opened their first restaurant, Ella & Ollie’s, in 2016, where his preparation of local seafood made the restaurant an instant favorite among locals and visitors. Briny Swine followed soon thereafter.

Briny Swine Smokehouse & Oyster Bar Opens in Chicago

Good Eatin’

Briny Swine is a friendly, down to earth joint rooted in two of South Carolina’s most time-honored culinary traditions – pig pickins’ and oyster roasts.

Carolina-Style Barbeque: Carolina-style barbeque centers on slow-cooked whole hog and other meats smoked between 12-24 hours. In addition to plenty of pork, guests find bite-off-the-bone St. Louis ribs, chicken and turkey at Briny. Brandon takes extra care to soften firm portions of every cut using his signature mop, a vinegar-based sauce slathered onto the meat while cooking it slow and low. Immersed in and fascinated by the complexities of Carolina regional barbeque styles, Brandon has spent years honing his sauce recipes, which include vinegar, tomato, mustard and mayonnaise bases.

Meats at Briny Swine are served with five varieties made in-house, including:

Alabama White: Made famous by “Big Bob” Gibson in Alabama, this sauce features mayo, vinegar, water, mustard, horseradish and a ton of black pepper. It is served with primarily with chicken (and is a must with Briny’s smoked wings!) but also works with beef.

Carolina Gold: On the rare spectrum, this super South Carolina staple is a mustard-based BBQ sauce with mustard, vinegar, sugar and ketchup. It goes with all meats.

Pepper Vinegar: Served mostly with pork, this sauce is laden with pepper, vinegar pepper flakes and sugar combined.

Red: This tomato-based sauce isa terrific accompaniment to all meats and is made up of ketchup, vinegar and brown sugar.

Spicy Red: A variation on the red sauce, with added chipotle for those craving that heat.

Succulent meat selections do not disappoint. Brandon proudly uses two, 108” Lang Smokers, made especially for Briny Swine out of Georgia. “These babies are the real deal,” he says, noting that his is one of the few restaurants in the country using them. Lang smokers are preeminently known for their reverse flow, off-set firebox design. With heavy plate, steel construction, they allow for consistent smoking of meats to sheer perfection. Called stick burners, Lang smokers burn wood on one side of the unit to create heat that circulates evenly around the meat in the main cooking compartment. This clean heat produces unbeatable flavor…made even better with the use of light oak wood (vs. mesquite or hickory found in Texas or Kansas-style) to produce flavor-packed BBQ ribs, pulled pork, brisket, smoked wings and more.

Brandon hasn’t forgotten about the rest of the Lowcountry goods. Appetites will be satisfied with mouthwatering selections such as Jimmy Red Corn Bread with sorghum butter; Collard Greens, one of the first recipes Brandon finely honed as a young chef; Boiled Peanuts, boiled shell-on in salt water for 8 hours with garlic and onions; Deviled Oysters, crispy fried oysters served on top of a deviled egg and drizzled with hot honey; She-Crab Soup, cream-based goodness with crab roe, lump crab, topped with fresh chives and a drizzle of sherry; Grit Fritters featuring Marsh Hen Mills grits (proudly milled in Edisto Island), mixed with pimento cheese, chopped up brisket and deep fried before drizzled with tomato pepper jam; and Hash and Marsh Hen Carolina Gold Rice, perhaps the most “South Carolina” dish on the menu, made with pulled pork butt and served with potatoes, onions, and BBQ sauce smoothed into a smooth chili consistency and served over prized Carolina Gold rice stewed with garlic and onions. A host of sandwiches range from Shrimp and Lobster Rolls to a double-stack Smash Burger that will bring tears to your eyes.

Weekday specials include Smoked & Saucy Wings on WednesdaysSmoked Prime Rib with Loaded Baked Tater on Thursdays and Cornmeal Fried Catfish with Hush Puppies, Fries, Slaw at Tarter on Fridays.

Select menu items are perfectly suited for late-night indulgence until last call. Think Totchos (a BBQ-inspired nacho plate made with tater tots); BBQ Spiced Pork Rinds with Smoked Pimento Cheese and Blue Crab Hush Puppies, among others.

Families are welcome at Briny Swine and the team expects an early dinner rush given the restaurant’s proximity to Lincoln Park’s residential pockets. With a 6-year-old daughter, Mary Ella (who really runs the show), Brandon is no stranger to kiddie favorites, and he features a menu perfectly suited for the littles.

Briny Swine Smokehouse & Oyster Bar Opens in Chicago

Southeastern Coast Seafood

True to its name, Briny Swine features directly sourced seafood from the Southeastern coast derived from Brandon’s close-knit relationships with fishermen based in the area. He knows the coast intimately and all that she has to offer, so think seasonal, seasonal, seasonal.

House Oysters hail from Chesapeake, VA and are what Brandon describes as an excellent choice for those just beginning their oyster journey. Milder in flavor, these beauties go down easy and provide a superb vessel for the cocktail sauce, cucumber mignonette and lemon that arrive with each oyster platter.

South Carolina East & West Coast Oysters arrive daily and change often based on availability. South Carolina oysters are known for their salty, briny characteristics. On the East Coast, they tend to be more mineral in nature with a higher salinity. Raised 100% in cages, expect a larger oyster and a shallower cup. On the West Coast, oysters are raised on the rocks, causing them to roll when the tide comes. This creates a deeper cup and generally smaller oysters with a more cucumber-y essence. Guests will discover raw, roasted and fried oyster selections, as well as a spirited set of oyster shooters.

Also on offer: South Carolina Shrimp served in entrée form in Peel n’ Eat or Buttermilk Fried varieties. Other seafood will rotate in regularly; from softies and stone crab to lobster and catfish, expect the freshest in accordance with the season.

Briny Swine Smokehouse & Oyster Bar Opens in Chicago

Briny Swine’s beverage offerings include classic and creative cocktails (among them the Boiled Peanut Martini, with Wheatley Craft Kentucky Vodka and peanut brine; and the Pickletini, made with Tito’s Texan Vodka, House Pickle Juice, Okra and Dry Vermouth); two frozé options ideal for summertime; well edited beer and wine selections and a fat emphasis on bourbon.

Briny Swine Smokehouse & Oyster Bar Opens in Chicago
Briny Swine Smokehouse & Oyster Bar Opens in Chicago

View the full menu below and here.

High Vibes, Private Parties & Live Music

Guests are greeted by Briny’s Swine bold, ‘briny blue’ exterior. Once indoors, they discover a 9,200 square-foot casual interior filled with well-worn woods in tones of grey, blue and browns, down to the rustic, picnic table-style seating. Accordion-style windows that open fully during the warm weather months bring the vibrant energy of Lincoln Park indoors, while passersby will be unable to resist to sights, sounds and aromas coming from the dining room. Cheeky artwork from Edisto Island native Travis Harlan commissioned by Brandon will prompt an all-out belly laugh. Guests will also find special pieces paying homage to Briny’s Edisto Island roots, photographed by Charleston resident Andrew Cebulka.

Briny Swine Smokehouse & Oyster Bar Opens in Chicago

An expansive bar anchors the 299-seat space, with televisions for game day enjoyment. There are adjacent rooms on either side of the bar (the Family Room and the Music Room, respectively), which can be utilized for semi-private dining. Live music from the Music Room – complete with full stage and professional sound and lighting system – belts the sounds of blues, bluegrass, honkey tonk and jazz several nights weekly. In addition to live performances, expect fun karaoke and open mic nights – sure to be a hit with local talent ready to claim their fifteen minutes.

At press time, the Briny Swine stage had announced the following lineup:

New acts are added daily and updated on

Hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday. The bar is open from 4 p.m. to last call. Dinner is served from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Reservations will be available via OpenTable beginning Wednesday, June 5 for parties up to 8. Private and semi-private events, as well as full buyouts, are available. Parties larger than 8 may email [email protected]. In July, Briny Swine will open Monday and Tuesday as well as for weekend brunch.

For more information, visit and follow @brinyswinechicago on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

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