Our Story

Wholly Smokin’ was founded by the late Bill Travis in 2012. What began as a hobby for Bill is now a bustling, full-service restaurant and bar in revitalized downtown Florence.  

In 2009, as a hobby, Bill smoked meat at home on his personal smoker.  He loved sharing his creations at tailgates, baseball games, cookouts...really any opportunity he had to put a smile on someone's face as they enjoyed his labor of love.  Bill started to compete in BBQ competitions around the state.  His award-winning BBQ and Ribs were the talk of the town...so much so that Bill began to sell BBQ and Ribs out in the back of their jewelry store, Travis Jewelers, for friends and family, who picked them up to share with their families. Bill realized he was onto something and opened the first storefront in 2012 on Celebration Boulevard, just a few doors down from his wife Jackie’s custom cake business, Let Them Eat Cake! When the opportunity arose in late 2014 for Wholly Smokin’ to be an anchor tenant in downtown Florence, Bill jumped at the chance to serve his community.

Since relocating to 150 S. Dargan Street, Wholly Smokin’ has become a fixture in the downtown Florence scene. The restaurant participates in popular events like Florence After Five, the Pecan Festival, Lucky Shamrock, Cinco de Mayo, and more. Wholly Smokin’ is also known for participating in the broader Florence community, supporting such fundraisers as Taste of the Symphony, Bone-Fit, and the Food and Wine Festival.

Though Bill passed away in 2017, his family has carried on his legacy, honoring his tried-and-true recipes, day in and day out. Ask any employee who knew Mr. Bill and they will tell you how important it is to them that Jackie, Sarah, and Andrew remain in the business.  

2020 brought numerous changes to the restaurant industry, and Wholly Smokin’ was no exception. The restaurant helped weather the storm by adapting to 3rd party take out companies and also building its catering business, which provides full service and drop-off catering for many types of events including corporate meetings and holiday parties, wedding receptions and rehearsal dinners, and more.  Jackie’s expertise with the wedding industry and attention to detail has helped build this business.  It is her belief that “presentation is everything” which carries on Bill’s tradition of excellence in and out of the restaurant. Jackie’s attention to detail is impeccable and she is known throughout the region for her follow-through and personal commitment to each customer/job.

Perhaps most importantly, after much success serving specialty brunch items on Sundays, Wholly Smokin’ launched its weekend brunch featuring live music in 2020.  Voted the Pee Dee’s Best Brunch in both 2021 and 2022, Wholly Smokin’ is THE PLACE to be on Saturdays and Sundays for the Pee Dee’s best live, local music and creative southern brunch fare. 

Whether you have been a long-time patron of Wholly Smokin’ or are stopping in as you pass through Florence, come by and see us for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Even if BBQ isn’t “your thing,” we’ve got something we promise you’ll enjoy.  After all, Wholly Smokin' is BBQ, Ribs and a Whole Lot More!