NOTE: This restaurant location has closed. The restaurant has moved to Inman, SC, and a Mexican restaurant has opened in this location.
It started with a box of cookies…
A new bakery opened just down the road in Lyman. Its signs touting “gourmet cuisine” have been taunting me for the past couple of months. I’ve even stopped by twice, only to be told that they were not yet ready to serve lunch, but soon… The smells of fresh-baked goods made it hard to walk out the door unsatisfied.
Then this morning one of my tech team brought a selection of cookies from Nations Bakery and told me that they were now open for lunch. The cookies were excellent, and I knew I had to give this place a try.
Once upon a time this used to be a popular ice cream shop. Many years later it found new life as Don Pedro’s, a Mexican restaurant with fairly good food, but a scary interior. It didn’t fare so well, and the building has sat empty for the past couple of years.
As previously mentioned, work began remodeling the empty restaurant a couple of months ago. The bakery opened first, and the restaurant opened just after Christmas.
First and foremost this is a bakery. Upon entering one encounters a counter full of pastries and other baked goods. When they’re actually cooking, the smells can be tempting and devastating. This area has been nicely remodeled with wood paneling. The owners themselves were there to greet me, and were very warm and welcoming.
The dining area seems like more of an afterthought. There are a a couple of simple booths, but most of it is utilitarian white with several cooling cabinets. It looks like they have more work to do.
There were two other women having lunch when I arrived, and several people stopped by to get to-go orders.
There is none. Lunch options are at the whim of the chef, and are listed on a white board at the front counter, where one orders. There are usually several sandwich options, such as a BLT, empanadas, and a Mexican pork sandwich. The special of the day was a fish sandwich. These range in price from $4 to $9.
In addition to lunch, there are breakfast items available, including egg biscuits and french toast and, of course, a wonderful selection of pastries and other baked goods that would make a great breakfast.
I ordered the Mexican pork sandwich, which was the most expensive option on the menu at $8.99. The sandwich was HUGE. It came with on a home made roll, and had roast pork, sliced avocado, sliced jalapenos (lengthwise), refried black beans, onions, and tomato.
The sandwich was good, but could have been so much better with just a tiny bit of engineering. On my first bite a got a huge chunk of avocado, and my first thought was that it was a rather bland sandwich. The second bite hit a jalapeno and the heat quickly changed that opinion.
The problem was that it was like eating two sandwiches, and you didn’t know what was coming next – cool or hot. This may appeal to some, but I prefer the flavors to be evenly distributed so that the cool and hot balance each other. All they had to do was slice the jalapeno across the pepper instead of lengthwise, and spread those out over the sandwich.
The sandwich roll was the star, though. It’s obvious that the place’s specialty is its baked goods. It would have been hard to make a bad sandwich with such a good starting point.
I paid my bill and was just about to leave when the owner handed me a to-go box with a slice of flan “for later.” He’s willing to give away some samples to generate business, and that’s not a bad thing. The flan was fantastic, and made a nice mid-afternoon snack, even though I was already stuffed from a huge pork sandwich.
The owner is obviously a very talented baker, and his goods reflect that talent. Lunch is more for the adventurous, as the menu items change, and are unlike any of the standard fast food or meat-n-three fare nearby. And that can be a good thing. It’s great to have another option for lunch nearby, and I’ll definitely pay them another visit.