This morning’s Greenville Journal had an article almost exactly like the one I wrote a couple of days ago about small Meat-N-Three places. The GJ did a much more in-depth, eloquent job than I did – I just wish they their website carried their articles online.
While much of their competition died off through the years, these restaurants survived through good food, hometown service, and community spirit…
…While each of the home-style restaurants is unique, they share some common denominators. They rarely advertise. They have few outside promotions. There is a constant aroma of food that is hard to explain, but not found in most places.
And they almost always have most of the original seats, decorations and signs…
The Journal also references a website called Road Food. This site focuses on "The most memorable local eateries along the highways and back roads of America", with reader reviews and forums for discussing local places. However, I noticed that the places listed for South Carolina are still the high-profile spots, such as the Beacon and Charlie’s Steakhouse for the Upstate. The local Meat-N-Threes are still omitted.
So, I will continue my explorations and report on the obscure places I encounter, and in the vein, today’s journey took me to the Lyman Cafe in uptown Lyman. I had hoped to try the Cafe on Monday, but it was closed, as, apparently, are most lunch places in the area.
The Lyman Cafe was much more crowded than L&L. This is definitely a working-stiff establishment – NexTel beeps were as common as the clanking of silverware. The waitress’s hairdo could qualify as a Superfund site, with a hardened shell highlighted with industrial strength bleach.
Like L&L, the ability to select from a menu seems to have been replaced with a buffet with the same items. To me, this is a disturbing trend. If quantity is your only goal, then no problem. However, quality usually suffers with a buffet. The same thing has happened with many of the Chinese restaurants in our area. Quality food just can’t be produced in mass then left to its own devices in a warming tray for an unlimited time.
I had fried chicken, corn, green beans, rice and gravy, and finished up with peach cobbler. The ever-present sweet tea accompanied everything. The food seemed to be seasoned better than L&L, and there was much more variety. Still, I don’t think I’d make a steady diet of this.