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Coronet Motel / Circus Room, 2770 McCords Ferry Road: 1980s   3 comments

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I probably should remember seeing this place more, as we drove past it on the way to the beach innumerable times while I was growing up. However, I always had my nose in a book, so I was only vaguely aware of the name Circus Room and couldn't have told you where it was. Or, for that matter, *what* it was. At this remove, my understanding is that The Circus Room was actually a circus style tent set up on the grounds of the Coronet Inn at the intersection of US-601 & US-378 in Eastover, and that the tent hosted a restaurant and nightclub. Even in these days of the metro area creeping ever outwards, this is a pretty rural area, and back in the day it must have been even stranger to find a well regarded hotspot here.

What was the attraction? Google pulls up this hint from the 2006 cookbook Cookin' with Cocky II: More Than Just a Cookbook:

Bright Stevenson:

I first met Bright in the Fall of 1956. Bright owned the Coronet Motel and Circus Room nightclub in Eastover. The Circus Room had the finest food and the only mixed drinks in the Columbia area at that time.

The two ads above are from the Sumter Register in 1974 and 1976 respectively.

Amazingly, both Coronet motels still exist and still are in operation, although under different names and ownership. The Eastover location is currently an Anyday Inn and is now combined with a convenience store run in the old office.

The topic has come up in Have Your Say from time to time, and here is what some people have recalled:


The Circus Room was in the old Coronet Motel near Eastover which I think was somehow related to the motel with the same name on North Main. I know they used to advertise a lot on the radio and had quite a business at one time. I drove out to Eastover a few weeks ago and what was the Circus Room was a seedy convenience store in a no tell motel.

Tom


Tom---You are right. One thing about the Circus Room was that it featured USDA "Prime" steaks which is a rarity even for today. You could call in the morning and they'd marinate your steak all day for you. I live in Kansas now which is beef country and know of only one steakhouse type place out here where you can get USDA prime beef. John.

John Merrell


I had forgotten all about the Circus Room. This was one of a few out-in-the-boondocks restaurants where we would eat on occasion when my father felt like driving out into the country (circa 1965-68). I remember the food being pretty good and it having a totally unpretentious atmosphere, but that was when gas was 25¢ a gallon, and it was easy to justify such a long trip for a good steak. I'm sure if the Circus Room had been a couple of miles down Trenholm Road, that would have been where we would have visited most often when we ate out, which at that time was once, maybe twice a month. Ancient and forgotten fond memories, thanks John.

Michael Taylor


The Circus room is still back there, but the entire back part of the motel is living quarters for the people who run it. The woman told me they took the tent down when they moved in.

She also said the guy who built the motel back in the fifties still drops into the convenience store every day.

jamie


Coronet Motel w/ Circus Room restaurant. Actually, that was out where US 601 intersects Sumter Hwy., but the restaurant was so good that folks used to drive from Columbia all the way out to Eastover to eat there. Bright Stevenson Jr owned it. His dad owned the Coronet Motel up out North Main St., going toward Blythewood.

Sid

Written by ted on October 17th, 2014

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Atlanta Bread Company, 8966 University Boulevard (North Charleston): 6 April 2014   no comments

Posted at 12:40 am in out-of-area,restaurants

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I wonder a bit about how Atlanta Bread is doing. They had their category to themselves for a number of years, but nowdays, it seems as though I see new Panera stores opening more often than ABCs. In fact the opposite seems to be true. ABC has left the Grand Strand with the closing of the North Myrtle Beach and Socastee stores, and here in Columbia, they have closed Sandhill (which was *directly* replaced with a Panera) and Lake Murray Boulevard (twice!).

This ABC, off I-26 exit 205, is one I would sometimes stop at on my way into Charleston if I wanted a cookie and spot of wifi before heading downtown. The last time I tried that, in June, I found the place closed for some time and already on the way to becoming a Firehouse Subs.

Written by ted on October 16th, 2014

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Wing Nuts, 5454-B Sunset Boulevard: March 2014   no comments

Posted at 11:44 pm in restaurants

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When I blogged the closing of the Harbison Wing Nuts back in June, commenter badger mentioned that the Lexington location on Sunset Boulevard had closed in March. Somehow it took me between then and now to get over there and get some pictures, but surprisingly the marquee is still up after six months.

(Hat tip to commenter badger)

Written by ted on October 14th, 2014

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Ichiban, 7550 Garners Ferry Road: Early October 2014   9 comments

Posted at 12:32 am in restaurants

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Commenter Trevin reports that Ichiban in the old Ryan's / Fire Mountain building on Garners Ferry looks to have closed, and unfortunately that is the case. You can see some of the classic signs of a closing at the front entrance: freebie newspapers that haven't been taken inside, and a vendor note. Judging from that note, the place has been closed at least a week.

(Hat tip to commenter Trevin)

Written by ted on October 7th, 2014

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Arizona's, 150 Forum Drive: Jule 2014   6 comments

Posted at 11:06 pm in restaurants

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I did not know that Arizona's was a chain, but they had at least two restaurants in South Carolina, one here at Sandhill and the other in Greenville. Both were bought out in late July by a North Carolina outfit and rebranded as JP's 4 Corners.

When Arizona's opened, I looked over the menu, and could not see a reason to go, and so never did.

Apparently the general concept has not changed a lot:

JP’s has maintained 90 percent of the original Arizona’s menu, but, under the direction of executive chef Tony Aponte, has some new additions.

The new menu ups the steak concept by adding three new signature steaks to the original one, each with a unique rub. Each is a reference to the four states that make up the “4 corners,” from which the restaurant takes its name — Arizona (original), New Mexico (cayenne and chili), Colorado (black peppercorn with blue cheese butter) and Utah (cinnamon spice crusted).

But JP’s is about more than just steak, Lawrence says. One of the restaurant’s new features is a house-made veggie burger that combines black beans and sweet potato and is topped with an agave sweetened chipotle-lime cream.

Looking at the menu, I get the same feeling I had looking at Arizona's menu: How is this Southwestern?

Western, I certainly see, but I thought Southwestern was supposed to have a dash of Mexican. That's got to be more than just invoking chipolte in a sauce. The Free Times in fact lists JP's under Mexican, but don't see it.

(Hat tip to commenter Jason)

Written by ted on October 1st, 2014

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Fazoli's, 1205 Highway 17 North (Surfside Beach): November 2010   2 comments

Posted at 11:40 pm in grand-strand,out-of-area,restaurants

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OK, this one is all about the sign rather than any deep attachment to a closed Italian fast-food chain outlet.

That said, this building was a Fazoli's until November 2010, and with this closing, Fazoli's has no locations on the Grand Strand. In fact, the closest Fazoli's to the Grand Strand would seem to be either the Two Notch Road location or the Fayetteville NC location. I'm a bit ambivalent about the chain. I like the breadsticks, but it always seemed to me that every time I found a main menu item I liked, they would change the menu..

Written by ted on September 26th, 2014

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Savalis Restaurant & Lounge, 1710 Main Street: September 2014   1 comment

Posted at 10:53 pm in restaurants

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This spot on Main has had trouble keeping a tenant the last few years. It was Mac's On Main for a long time, but the next incarnation CW's didn't last too long, and neither did Savalis, which I think was there about a year.

The signs indicate that a tenant is still needed, but apparently ceiling work has already started in advance of anyone moving in.

(Hat tip to commenter Justin)

UPDATE 1 October 2014: Added the first picture of Savalis in operation.

Written by ted on September 24th, 2014

J. Gumbo's, 1401-A Sumter Street: September 2014   2 comments

Posted at 12:09 am in restaurants

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For some reason I was convinced I had already done this closing and some time ago at that, so when commenter jonathan mentioned recently that it was closed, I searched my list and found out that in fact I had done the location before when it was Quizno's, and had *that* stuck in my mind.

J. Gumbos is apparently a Cajun chain with locations in a number of states with this one being the only South Carolina location. It was about 6pm when I took these pictures, and I was still unable to find a place to park without walking farther than I had time to do. I suspect this is a challenge for the spot, though there are certainly a good number of workers withing walking distance during the daytime.

Personally though I like spicy foods, I never really got into Cajun cuisine, though curiously, I did find a great Italian place in New Orleans once.

(Hat tip to commenter jonathan)

Written by ted on September 19th, 2014

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Great American Cookie Company / ANDeli's, Richland Mall: 11 September 2014   3 comments

Posted at 11:34 pm in restaurants

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Commenter Mr. BO notes the passing of ANDeli's in Richland Mall sending in the last two pictures and noting that:

They were exhibiting several of the Signs
that they were about to close

1) Not maintaining regular business hours
2) Regular employees not there
3) Running out of routine things.

ANDeli's was actually one of the few recent stalwarts to move into Richland Mall. As you can see from their closing sign, they opened circa 2012, while the first shot above, taken on 13 July 2008, shows the storefront was vacant on that date with the original tenant being already long gone. The second shot is from 26 April 2013 and shows the place in operation.

(Hat tip to Mr. BO, obviously)

UPDATE 19 September 2014: Added 26 April 2013 shot.

UPDATE 22 September 2014: Added Great American Cookie Company to the post title based on the comments.

Written by ted on September 17th, 2014

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Columbia King Buffet, 109 Woodland Hills Road: August 2014   28 comments

Posted at 10:47 pm in restaurants

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There seems to be some dispute whether this building is at 109 Woodland Hills Road or 788 Saint Andrews Road. The yellow pages listing and the '109' on their mailbox settles it for me as the first. There's also a bit of a discrepancy between the "closed for remodeling" signs at the front door, and the realty sign by the curb. I believe in this case the bigger sign wins, and this building is now on the market.

As you might guess just from the 'look', this rather large and rambling faux tudor building once housed one of Columbia's two Steak & Ale restaurants.

(Hat tip to commenter Arthur)

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