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On his days off, SC BBQ restaurant owner repairs cars and donates them to the needy | News

McCLELLANVILLE — When it came time for Eliot Middleton to get a driver’s license, his father, a mechanic, gave him two cars.

The catch, said Middleton, was that neither car worked. One needed an engine and the other needed a transmission, and it was up to him to make one working car out of the two.

He succeeded, and after graduating from Lincoln High School he trained to become an auto mechanic, then spent years working in or operating repair and transmission shops in the Charleston area.

These days Middleton, 38, co-owns and operates a barbeque restaurant in Awendaw, but he’s putting his automotive experience to good use. He repairs donated vehicles and gives them to people who need one through a nonprofit he established.

“This gives me a chance to work on cars again, at my own pace,” Middleton said.

At his mother’s blue cinderblock home in McClellanville, where

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Ford’s Garage opens restaurant in Florida dealership, plans for more

Jeff King of St. Augustine, Florida, works at the first car dealership in the nation to expand and include a popular restaurant franchise that’s now serving 6,000 diners a week just six months after opening. 

“We have an F-150 beer list available,” he said. “That’s 150 beers, 40 on tap.”

Patrons walk to dinner through the Bozard Ford Lincoln dealership or enter from a separate entrance for a juicy Black Angus burger, chicken wings, gluten-free salmon salad, homemade meatloaf or shrimp and lobster mac ‘n’ cheese.

While Ford’s Garage is an established hot spot near Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, that’s not where it all began. Four entrepreneurs came together to set up the first Ford Garage in 2012 in Fort Myers, Florida, with no affiliation with the automaker.

Yet the interior and exterior of the restaurant spotlights classic Ford cars and car parts.

It’s like a Hard Rock Cafe

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