The Golden Llama


I was out running errands and wanted to grab a bite to eat. The same old same old just wasn’t doing it for me. I wanted something more…interesting. How to accomplish that without risking bodily harm was beyond me. I was about to give up and go to the new Hardees that opened at Pelham and East North Street. That’s when I saw it. A sign saying that the Golden Llama is now open in the BiLo shopping center at that intersection. I had to check it out. To be honest, I didn’t know if it was a restaurant or a weird gift shop. Continue reading “The Golden Llama”

Pubs and Music

Fitzpatrick's Pub-003

On our way back from Ireland Stephen asked me what my favorite thing was about the trip. I had to say that it was the pubs and music that impressed me most. I loved the atmosphere and life that radiates from those places. While they all seem similar and familiar, each is unique. If I could do one thing over, it would be to spend more time in the pubs listening to traditional music. Granted, we did quite a bit of that anyway. Continue reading “Pubs and Music”

Hans and Franz Revisited

I have long lamented the dearth of German restaurants in town. There are three of them – Schwaben Haus, Bavarian Pretzel Factory, and Hans and Franz. Compare that to the number of Asian and Hispanic restaurants of different varieties dotting the culinary landscape. This is even more surprising given that there is such a strong German industrial presence with BMW and others.

I voiced these concerns on the Greenville Subreddit, asking if anyone knew of any other options. The list included the usual suspects, including Gerhard’s in Spartanburg (which I still need to try) and my two favorites – Haus Heidelberg in Hendersonville and Black Forest in Arden. Unfortunately, all three of those are quite a drive. I wouldn’t call them exacty…”Greenville.”

Each of the local places has been disappointing in one aspect or another. Bavarian Pretzel Factory is pricey, and their quality seems to be declining. I think they overextended themselves with the move to Haywood Road. Schwaben Haus has excellent food, but is expensive and doesn’t have some of my favorites – simple wurst and kraut. That would be kind of like going to The Peddler Steakhouse and ordering a hamburger. That leaves Hans and Franz, and my long troubled experience with it. My fellow Redditors insisted that I give it another try, so I did… Continue reading “Hans and Franz Revisited”

The Phantom of Genevieve’s

Phantom of the Opera Program
Photo by Carin Perretta

Continuing the impossibly busy weekend…

Today we had friends drop by for a visit. We were happy to have Steve and Linda Serkiz come by for coffee. I hadn’t seen them in years. I was at Furman with both of them, and Steve was in one of Laura’s first classes that she taught there. Steve is now down at the Savannah River Site as a research scientist, doing some very cool things with carbon nano tubes and other nano technology. I may have to wrangle a visit so that I can get a closer look at Ellenton and some of the other SRS ghost town sites.

In the evening I was supposed to be two places at once. I was SUPPOSED to be singing the National Anthem at the Greenville Drive game with the Greenville Chorale. However, the opportunity to attend Phantom of the Opera at the Peace Center came up, and we opted for that instead. Continue reading “The Phantom of Genevieve’s”

Lone Star Barbecue, Mercantile, and Ghost Town

Lone Star, South Carolina
Lone Star, South Carolina

We have a tradition of looking for a good barbecue place after our paddling trips. This was no different. Our target for this outing was Lone Star Barbecue and Mercantile. However, this was a two-fer – lots of good food and a chance to explore one of South Carolina’s ghost towns.

Lone Star, the Ghost Town

It started with a bit of miscommunication. The rest of the guys had never been to the town of Lone Star, and thought that the barbecue place was in the town proper. So, once we loaded up the boats, they set off, with me following, toward the town. What they found was the ghost town that I knew. All that is left of Lone Star is the old freight depot, moved from its original location, the large brick Masonic building, and two dilapidated stores. Across the tracks was a small convenience store that may or may not have been open. No barbecue anywhere in sight.

Lone Star Freight Depot
Lone Star

Continue reading “Lone Star Barbecue, Mercantile, and Ghost Town”

LCU vs Manchester

LCU Swamp Stomp 2013

It sounds like a collegiate soccer game. We had about enough people with us to field a team. However, in truth it was Lowcountry Unfiltered’s Second Saturday outing. This being January, it was time for our annual Swamp Stomp, and we were off to tackle a section of the Wateree Passage of the Palmetto Trail through Manchester State Park.

Our outing would take us through ghost towns, cemeteries, and the site of Civil War destruction at the hands of Colonel Edward Potter. This was truly and epic outing, and the only way to do it justice is to break it into sections, so consider this Part 1.

Keith met me at the house far too early for a Saturday. Along the way down we picked up Alan and Dwight, so I had a car full. The Upstate would be well-represented on this trip.

LCU Swamp Stomp 2013

We had a fairly loose agenda, but our plan was to meet for breakfast then explore the area. Here’s a quick rundown of the trip… Continue reading “LCU vs Manchester”

Oktoberfest at Haus Heidelberg

Haus Heidelberg Sign

Of all the ethnic holidays, I think I like Oktoberfest the best. It brings with it hints of cooler weather, fall colors, and one of my favorite cuisines – German food. However, fellow kayaker and chef Darren M. recently pointed out that authentic Oktoberfest has a very specific date range – two weeks running from late September through the first week of October. Any restaurants or festivals advertising Oktoberfest this late in the year (such as Walhalla this weekend, but I guess a fake Norse town can have a fake Bavarian celebration any time it wants) is doing so purely for advertising promotion. I guess it’s not that different from seeing Halloween ads all October, or promoting Christmas just as soon as the after school sales end. That being said, when my friend Keith Dover proposed heading up to Haus Heidelberg in Hendersonville to take advantage of their Oktoberfest specials, I jumped at the chance, cultural authenticity be damned.

I have long complained about the dearth of German restaurants in the area, especially with BMW and all the other German industry in town. But, I guess that number is increasing. Joining Haus Edelweiss and Schwaben Haus are Hans und Franz and The Bavarian Pretzel Factory. Even Strossner’s Bakery is now on the list of places offering German food. German restaurants seem to be more prevalent on up in the mountains, I guess hearkening back to the Alpine nature of Bavaria. Both The Black Forest in Ardin and Haus Heidelberg have been long-time staples of German food in our region. However, I don’t get up that way often enough to take advantage of them. This was the first time I’d been to Haus Heidelberg in ages.

The drive up early Wednesday evening was spectacular. The October sky was brilliantly lit with the setting sun, and the leaves are just shy of being at peak. Keith and I drove on up through Flat Rock, enjoying the ride. Continue reading “Oktoberfest at Haus Heidelberg”

Rolled Pita


UPDATE: This restaurant is now closed.

I love Eastern Mediterranean food. There’s nothing like pita and hummus for a snack, and kabobs, olives, rice, and falafel make a perfect meal, especially when rounded out with baklava. So, I was thrilled to see that a Lebanese restaurant had opened on Wade Hampton Boulevard in Greer, within striking distance for lunch.

The Rolled Pita is located in the corner of a small strip mall near the old Allen-Bennett Hospital. For a long time it went unnoticed, with only a small sign proclaiming “Lebanese Restaurant.” I didn’t even spot it until they renamed the place and put up a larger sign. That was last Friday, so Wednesday I decided to give it a try.


If it were a Greek place, I probably would have described it as “spartan” just to be witty. This goes beyond spartan. There are just a few tables in a surprisingly large area. The restaurant actually takes up two spaces at the mall, with the second space serving as a fish market. Unfortunately, the place reeks of fish, and I almost turn around and walk out.



Continue reading “Rolled Pita”

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