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  • Moose Nicholson

The Red Door: Jajczyk Expands with new restaurant in Downtown Aiken, SC

Hello, food lovers! Today, I'm buzzing with excitement to share some fantastic news that's stirring up the culinary scene in Downtown Aiken, SC. Get ready to mark your calendars and set your GPS, because Chef Chad Jajczyk, the maestro behind the beloved Whiskey Alley, is opening his second restaurant in Aiken:

The Red Door: Sake + Kitchen!

Yes, you heard that right! The chef who brought us the incredible flavors and cozy ambiance of Whiskey Alley is now ready to unveil his latest project, and I've got all the delectable details.


This building has had several occupants over the years.  Aikenites and history lovers may appreciate some history that hasn't been erased, just built upon.  That old style peephole has been around through many different restaurants.  Most recently Jameson McDubby's kept it, after the Magnolia Cafe opted to keep it, from its original installer, and aptly named, The Speak Easy.  Chef Chad and his partners Alexandrea Kneece and Norman Dunagan have also thought it would be better to add to the unique feature rather than replace it.

Downtown Aiken is in a serious upswing

There was a lot of fuss about businesses closing in Downtown Aiken.  People took to social media to air their concerns, thinking this was surely the end for our charming little town.  Like all things, though, it is all just a part of the pendulum swing.  Not only is the Red Door opening, but Park Ave. Oyster Bar, Salty Tomatoes and Southbound Smokehouse have just opened and will soon be joined by Electric Eats, and it is rumored that another restaurant is eyeing the recently closed Palmetto Seafood.

A dream come true for Chef Chad

Chef Chad has been in the Culinary Industry for over 20 years, and even after opening his own restaurant, he feels his journey is still not complete.  As a former culinary instructor, he loves the journey, the continual learning, and the honing of his craft.  Where finally opening a restaurant was a great notch in the belt, he feels it is time to open another.

Much like Whiskey Alley, he will continue to blend innovation with culinary tradition in order to craft a full experience.  We had a sneak peek at the Red Door Ramen and Bao Buns, and man oh man... they are delicious.  The menu will feature other traditional dishes, including whole chicken wings, yakitori skewers, dumplings, and more. 

The restaurant will feature an extensive sake menu, but diners will have to wait for the bar offerings.  Unfortunately, it isn't uncommon to run into red tape when it comes to alcohol licensing, but we have been assured it is in the works.  We may even be treated to some great Japanese Whiskys if we are lucky.

***UPDATE*** As of this week [2/14/24], the recognizable State Required Yellow Sign has gone up in The Red Door's windows, indicating the alcohol licensing process is well underway. They have teased an even GRANDER opening once they acquire their licenses.

The restaurant is a small and cozy building, and the restaurant will be accepting, in fact encouraging, reservations.  If you plan to dine with a group of 6 or more, you should call the restaurant and make arrangements.  The seating is very limited.  You can see the full menu and will be able to make to go orders and reservations on their website.


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