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A collection of photography and exploration focusing on Upstate South Carolina and beyond.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a restaurant review. It’s not that I haven’t been eating out, and it’s not that I haven’t found places that I might want to review. It’s just that I…haven’t. Regardless, here it goes…
I was out and about on a Friday, and I decided to give my sister Glynda a call and see if she was free for lunch. She said she was, and that she had a new place she wanted to try out. This place was supposedly in Pelzer, on Old Hundred Road, so we set out in search of it.
Now, I’m familiar with the Ware Place, Pelzer-West Pelzer-Piedmont-Williamston megalopolis, and I kind of knew where Old Hundred Road was. In fact I kind of turned onto the road by accident. Right where I expected it to be, there was the Old Hundred Grill and Grocery.
Glynda immediately said, “This isn’t the place. It’s ‘Grits’ not ‘Grill.’” That was probably a good thing. There was a big sign that said “Under new management”, and despite the fact that it was just after noon, there were only two cars in the lot. We moved on.
Turns out that we were long and gone from the actual place Glynda wanted to visit. Grits and Groceries is located in the middle of nowhere, on a country crossroads southwest of Belton. You’ve really got to want to find this place.
View Grits and Groceries in a larger map
According to Glynda (and according to their website) Heidi and Joe Trull were both chefs in New Orleans at Emril Lagasse’s Nola restaurant. The decided to simplify, and somehow wound up at Saylor’s Crossroads.
The restaurant is located in a historic country store, which, as I’ve mentioned before, is loacted in the middle of nowhere.
In addition to the main building there was a pavilion and outdoor seating. There were also LOTS of cars, which we took as a good sign.
We decided to sit inside, and found a counter with several round tables. Shelves lined one side, not with groceries, but with supplies for the restaurant.
The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch until 2:00 most days, and is open for dinner on Thursdays.
The menu varies from day to day. There is a set menu for breakfast and a lunch menu with sandwiches and salads. Sandwiches range from $6.50 for a basic to $10.50 for a New Orleans Po’ Boy (ironically enough.) The weekly specials range from $8 to $13, and are all over the place. On this particular Friday, the choices included seafood lasagne, Beer B Q shrimp, and stuffed French toast.
The stars, though, are the pastries. Joe Trull’s job at Nola was as the pastry chef, and that’s reflected in the menu. Daily desserts are listed on a board, and are primarily cakes with a few pies thrown in.
Glynda and I both ordered the seafood lasagne. It came out blazingly fast. Obviously a pan of it had been prepared ahead of time and all they had to do was dish it up. The portions were huge, full of cheese, shrimp, crab, and fish and covered in a light tomato sauce.
The dish was flavorful. It wasn’t heavy, but it was rich, and I was only able to make it through about a third of my serving. The rest of it was coming home with me.
Lunch was accompanied by cheese muffins. These were soft, warm, and the perfect accompaniment to the lasagne.
Since the chef was known for pastries, we had to try dessert. However, I couldn’t eat another bite. We ordered three slices of the chocolate Coca Cola cake to go – two for us and one for Laura. Laura and I had ours after dinner. It was basically a chocolate pound cake with a caramel pecan icing. It was delicious.
Service was quick and efficient. Whether by design or by habit, our waitress was one of those who addresses everyone as “sweetie”, “sugar”, “honey”, or some other sweet-sounding appellation.
As out of the way as this place is, it almost has to be a destination. It’s not somewhere that one casually decides to go for an office lunch. The food is fantastic, and the prices quite reasonable. It’s well worth a trip to the middle of nowhere.
If you decide to make the trek, be forewarned. Grits and Groceries only takes cash and checks – no credit cards.