Bumpa’s Grandfathers in a Quality Experience

Bumpa's Owners Dan and Conor Sullivan

Winding one’s way down cobblestone streets through the historic French quarter neighborhood of downtown Charleston, the historical significance of a 19th Century building that houses a burger and fry pub called Bumpa’s is striking yet fitting. How in the world did two corporate guys from Pittsburgh decide to open a restaurant/bar in the hottest city for culinary lovers, AND survive the pandemic? Dan and Conor Sullivan take turns shooting back answers in a manner that shows their absolute love for a dream realized. Bumpa’s is named after their grandfather, who they describe as their hero.

Asked whose dream the concept was, Conor says it was Dan’s. “For ten years Dan would ask me at almost every family gathering, ‘wouldn’t it be cool to own a bar?’ We kept the dream alive until we felt it was time to take the leap. I moved to Charleston initially to find the space.” Then the worst nightmare of all occurred. The pandemic in 2020 shut down public gathering places. Still, they bid on a property the moment it hit the streets.

“We were ready and invited folks in for a St. Patrick’s Day toast and no one came for a friends and family soft opening,” said Conor. The question was, do we wait to open? In unison, they replied, “if we had waited, we wouldn’t be in business now.”

A creative approach was necessary to remain open. They paid all their newly-hired employees and gave them homework to do during the shutdown. The neighborhood restaurants helped each other survive. “We all shared techniques and information because no one wanted to succeed at another’s expense” according to Dan. Many issues cropped up daily like supply chain shortages, price increases on ketchup, (believe it or not), and meat. But they soldiered on to become the favorite of the food and beverage industry employees downtown.

No one was ready for the tidal wave of people that came in, in 2021, when everything was over, noted the brothers. The secret to the success of Bumpa’s according to Conor and Dan Sullivan, “is our staff. People come in for our bartender, our bar manager, and our waitstaff.  We love the people we work with daily. Our customers are great too, and we are proud to be open late at night for the restaurant employees. We are your neighborhood bar!”

Bumpa’s is known for its French fry plates and burgers. They also feature a signature cocktail every week. The famous Condor Fries are a popular favorite, with BBQ sauce, beer cheese, jalapenos, bacon and diced pickles.

An added endearing aspect of the atmosphere at Bumpa’s are the many framed photographs of family lining the brick walls. Not just the Sullivan family either, Conor explains. “If you have a picture of your grandfather or family, and you are a regular or have dined with us, we’ll hang the photo. We are like Cheers; we want to people to feel comfortable and at home. We call it our “quilt of pictures.”


Susan Nefzger

A seasoned PR pro and food photographer, Susan is an inspirational writer who travels the world planning her trips by dining reservations. She started the GA Lottery in the 90’s and turned to food watching Public TV with Jacques Pepin, Natalie Dupree and The Frugal Gourmet. She is an accomplished home cook and lover of all cuisines.



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