thesmithsThe Smiths

While Darren Smith’s uncommon culinary talent is evident, it was his brother Scott who was instrumental in getting Darren interested in the culinary field. Darren, who attended Winthrop University, first met Cyndi, a graduate of the College of Charleston, while he was working as executive chef of Shem Creek Bar & Grill, One Eyed Parrot, and Banana Cabana.

The couple moved to Cyndi’s hometown of Conway in 1994 where, at the age of 25, the two opened the Rivertown Bistro. For over a decade the restaurant grew in reputation and size. In December 2005 the family also grew with the addition of Sophia Claire Smith, who was adopted from Guatemala. This was the first time both of the Smiths were away from the restaurant during its busiest season.

In 2008 a fire devastated the Bistro, but the Smiths decided to rebuild. It speaks to the quality and closeness of the staff that of the 21 employees before the fire, 19 returned. Darren’s sous chef of 10 years and great friend Billy Greene was one of the employees that did not return. He passed away in July of 2008 at the age of 37. He was a big part of the Rivertown Bistro and still is.