I’m always hesitant to review a restaurant with which I’ve had such a long, long history. I tend to focus on those places that are new (or at least new to me.) However, I had opportunity to eat at Frodo’s Pizza twice this week, so I decided it was high time to give them the once over.
Frodo’s opened in 1979 in a modest location across from Greenville Tech on South Pleasantburg Drive. While I was at Furman, it was our favorite pizza hangout. Their pizza was rich in toppings and flavor, and was a welcome change from the pre-packaged pies available at Pizza Inn and Pizza Hut. More importantly, one could purchase a Frodo’s Pitcher and get refills of the beverage of their choice (including beer) seemingly forever. To this day I still have my pitcher, although the practice was ended in the mid-90’s.
Over the years it’s been interesting to watch the change in clientele. First, there were the college kids like ourselves. As we aged, the place became crowded with the children of the 80’s college kids. Some nights (especially after Little League nights) it was nearly impossible to get a seat. Now those Little League kids are college kids, and they are hanging out at Frodo’s. The cycle continues.
In the early 1980s Frodo’s started their first franchise endeavor, opening two new locations on Farris Road and Wade Hampton. For whatever reason, those two only lasted a few years, and things were consolidated back at the original location. In the past few years, Frodo’s has once again jumped into the franchise business. First, there was a new location at Cherrydale, and now there are also locations in Anderson and Greer. Just recently, the Cherrydale location has moved into new digs one building over – perhaps a bit smaller, but it seems just right for the franchise.
NOTE: Reader Mark Little sent me this tidibit of Frodo’s history…
About Frodo’s …
You may already know this, but the building that Frodo’s is in was originally built for a restaurant called Miz Biskits. It was supposed to be the first of a chain, and as I recall they were in a spat with a guy in Spartanburg who opened a similar place.
However, one day a trucker parked his rig (I suppose about where Pumpers is now) but didn’t set his brake properly. The semi rolled all the way down the hill and scored a direct hit on Miz Biskits. End of franchise and I guess the end of Miz Biskits.
The original location is quite small, with one long, long table and several smaller booths and tables. There are antique signs on the wooden walls, and photos of the early glory days when there was even a Frodo’s hot air balloon. The new locations have dark walls with quotes from J. R. R. Tolkein. Still, the air is of a friendly, if not frenetic place.
Let’s get real. It’s pizza, and there’s not much wiggle room. There are also a few sandwiches and a salad bar. The Frodo’s Combo has been a standard on the menu since it’s opening, with various meats, olives, mushrooms, and onions. Prices seem quite reasonble for the quality of pizza.
One orders at the counter, then picks up food when the name is called. Everything is mostly self-service. it takes awhile to get one of their pizzas. This is not a failure on the part of the service staff, but a simple fact that it takes awhile to make quality pizzas. We would often call ahead and place our order so that it would be almost ready when we got there.
The pizzas are thick, with loads of fresh toppings. The sauce is unique, and I have never had the like at any other pizza place. For awhile, the pizzas seemed a bit greasy, but recent experiences makes me thing they have made some corrections. The flavors are great.
Frodo’s is a place to which one becomes attached and returns year after year. It may not appeal to everyone, especially those that have grown up on the plasticine pizzas of the chain places. They have always had great value for good quality food.
One final note:
My first meal at Frodo’s this week was a lunch buffett at the original location. Our second Frodo’s encounter was Saturday night along with an overflow crowd of students there to watch the Furman vs UNC game. Although seemingly chaotic, I was impressed with the staff and their ability to get food out to the correct people in a timely fashion. Despite my aversion to crowds and the fact that Furman lost a heartbreaker, it turned out to be a really fun evening.