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Archive for March, 2009

Chappy's Authentic English Fish & Chips, 2911 Two Notch Road / 1306 Charleston Highway / 1936 Broad River Road / 7007 Parklane Road: 1990s   40 comments

Posted at 1:05 am in historic,restaurants

1306 Charleston Highway:

7007 Parklane Road:

Chappy's Fish & Chips was a constant media presence on the radio (and in The State as in the coupon from 10 November 1987 above), though I think the most common image I had of the whole "fish & chips" concept came from that English N'er-do-well Andy Capp.

The 2911 Two Notch location referred to in this ad is now the McDonald's at the intersection of Beltline and Two Notch, though I believe the original Chappy's building was demolished. I never ate at Chappy's because I don't like fish (or the smell of fish), and have never been to England, so I can comment neither on how good nor on how authentic the fish and chips were.

Though it's not mentioned in this ad, Chappy's was connected with a very similar (identical except for the name perhaps?) operation called Cedric's. At this remove, it seems like an odd strategy to dilute your concept into two brands, especially since as far as I can recall, the restaurants were a purely Columbia phenomenon. The Chappy's radio commercials used to end with an exhortation to Be sure and visit my friend Cedric too!. I think the stores had at least one English "double decker" bus that they used for promotions. Wonder what happened to that?

At any rate, I'm pretty sure the stores didn't make it through the 90s. I don't think "fish & chips" was ever going to be "big" (though the coupon suggests they were moving in a more Southern direction as well -- "hushpuppies"), perhaps it wasn't big enough to support that many stores, perhaps the owners wanted to retire -- whatever the reason I don't think you can get fish & chips at all in Columbia now. And "Andy Capp" has long since left The State as well.

UPDATE 18 November 2009: Added pix of the Charleston Highway location, made minor edits to the text and added the Charleston Highway and Broad River locations to the post title.

UPDATE 27 May 2010: Added newspaper ad from The State 19 Feb 1979

UPDATE 27 June 2010: Added pictures of the Parklane location.

Written by ted on March 21st, 2009

Robert Ariail, 20 March 2009 (moved)   5 comments

Posted at 2:39 pm in entertainment,events

I first became aware of Robert Ariail when I was at USC, and he was a student cartoonist on the Gamecock student newspaper. He did a riff on the old National Enquirer cover "Buy this magazine or we'll shoot this dog". I think his was something like "Read the Gamecock or we'll pluck this chicken".

As far as I know, I never met him, but when he was hired by The State, it was a nice "fellow student makes good" moment. I confess that I saw his work only sporadically after I left town for Fayetteville in 1985 -- I'd read the paper on weekends when I was visiting home, but I never subscribed on my own when I came back.

It appears he was caught in the latest round of RIFs at The State and moved on when they made him what seems to me a rather insulting (given his national stature) offer of part-time work. It all seems penny-wise and pound-foolish, but that's the newspaper biz today.

It appears that he has set up shop online, and I'm sure he'll continue to find work.

Written by ted on March 20th, 2009

Biddie Banquet, 20 Forest Lake Shopping Center: 1960s   3 comments

Posted at 12:10 am in historic,restaurants

OK, anyone remember this one? The ad is from the Southern Bell Columbia phonebook for 1963. Given the lead time for a yellow-pages ad, I was probably one when this was prepared, and two when it ran. The address seems to match up with the current Sakura Japanese Restaurant in the remains of the old Forest Lake Shopping Center, behind Coplon's and at the other end of the corridor from the original Forest Lake TV location.

Sakura is the only restaurant that I can ever really recall being there, but I learned from some comments here that at one time the location was Moolah's, run by (or licensed by?) a famous female wrestler. Did Biddie Banquet come before or after Moolah's? My mother used to shop at Colonial Grocery (now Coplon's) all the time so they both must have been gone by the late 60s or I would have noticed them.

I have to say that apart from my whole "I don't like chicken" thing, the bottom line

Shrimp -- Fish -- Chili

sounds particularly unappetizing, and what's the deal with the quotes on "The" Original"?

I do think the chicken art is very nice!

UPDATE 10 Feb 2011 -- Here's the Biddie Banquet location, now occupied by Sakura:

Written by ted on March 20th, 2009

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Congaree Grill, 827 Harden Street: fall 2008   7 comments

Posted at 10:29 pm in restaurants

I first wrote about this building, near the corner of College & Harden in Five Points, when I did a closing on Rising High. Rising High was killed (mostly) by the Harden Street roadwork of a few years ago which also claimed The Parthenon, and The Congaree Grill was the next operation in the building.

I never actually got around to eating there, and people have offered varying opinions in comments to other posts as to how good it was. My impression gleaned by osmosis was that it was supposed to be a somewhat upscale interpretation of Southern Food.

The new restaurant in the building is Pawleys Front Porch. The name invokes a certain casualness, and when I went in last week after having my taxes done across the street, it did seem rather laid back. I got the impression from the layout that its central identity is as a bar, but the Bacon, Lettuce & Pimento Cheese sandwich I got was excellent as were the onion rings.

Written by ted on March 18th, 2009

North 1 Drive-In, 8757 Two Notch Road: 1980s   12 comments

Posted at 8:17 pm in business,entertainment,historic

The North 1 Drive-In was on Two Notch road, though not as far out as I had remembered. However the area, between Alpine Road and Spring Valley was pretty much the boonies when I was growing up -- in fact the "1" in "North 1" is for US Highway #1. Two Notch did technically extend that far out, but people thought of that area by "highway" not a named road. The same still applies, I think, to Elgin though that may change as Columbia continues to sprawl.

As I think I said somewhere else, I only went to one drive-in as a kid, and I'm pretty sure it was on the coast somewhere. At any rate, by the time I was in high school, North had gone porno. That made it impossible to go to officially of course, though there were rumors among the kids that if you went to the right spot in the woods, you could see in.

I'm not sure when the place finally closed, though Dennis, who pointed out the location to me in a comment thinks it was about 20 years ago, which would be 1989-ish.

The pictures (aside from the Sunday 15 April 1973 ad from The State) are taken from Two Notch going down the old theater drive to the health club now built on the old North lot. It was one of those miserable rainy days we've had lately, so they're pretty subdued.

Written by ted on March 17th, 2009

S & S Cafeteria, Gervais Street: 1997   11 comments

Posted at 12:01 am in historic,restaurants

Today's picture comes from reader Thomas who says:

Here is a pic of the old S&S on Gervais. I took it in 97 when I was USC and they announced it was closing and would be torn down.

I can only recall eating at this S & S once. If I remember correctly, we took my aunt from Florida there for some reason -- perhaps after shopping downtown. What always impressed me about cafeterias as a kid was how different the rice was from what we got at home or family gatherings. Family rice was very sticky and fluffy. Cafeteria rice, on the other hand, was a dish of discrete rice grains which did not stick together at all. I suspect now that cafeteria rice is parboiled or converted as Uncle Ben might say. Why anyone would prefer it that way I can't say, but it would make it easier to clean the dishes at a commercial establishment, I suppose.

S & S still has an operation at Richland Mall, where it replaced the old Morrison's cafeteria, which in turn replaced the older Redwood cafeteria (which was the cafeteria we mostly went to when I was a kid). For some reason, there is a Japanese facebook page devoted to the Richland Mall operation, though I can only make it come up in English if I use the google cached version.

Thanks Thomas!

Written by ted on March 17th, 2009

Sandy's Escorts / BJ Motors, Inc. / Nationwide Insurance, 5201 Two Notch Road: March 2009 (moved)   8 comments

Posted at 11:40 pm in business,entertainment,historic

I noticed a few months ago that this little building on Two Notch Road, at the bottom of the hill between Pinestraw Road and Pine Belt Road, was now a Nationwide Insurance office. I see this month that they are moving to another location on Two Notch, leaving the building vacant again.

Insurance is usually a pretty staid business (unless you are AIG..), but this location has a somewhat racier past. In particular, back in 1987, you might have found the address listed under Escort Services:

The next iteration was a perfectly normal used car lot, except I always found the name, still on the shed out behind the main building, just a bit ironic:

UPDATE 20 December 2011 -- The Tonya D. Parks Nationwide has now moved into this place, following the other Nationwide office:

Written by ted on March 15th, 2009

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Research   no comments

Posted at 10:52 pm in commentary

I've been doing some research this weekend, and by research, I mean Xeroxing old phonebooks.

I've had some old USC phonebooks in the house and have used them here from time to time, but old Columbia phonebooks are surprisingly hard to come by. I believe I've hit all the antique malls in town at one time or another without any result, and even went so far as to put an ad on Craigslist. Even that one though only netted me a 2000 book (though it is much appreciated!), not anything from the 50s through 90s.

Then I had one of those D'oh! moments and went down to the RCPL on Assembly street and it turns out they have AT&T/Bellsouth/Southern Bell books back into the 1930s! (They also have "city directories" and some of the off-brand phonebooks as well). These are all on the third floor in the local history room. The only fly in the ointment is that they don't circulate, so you have to look at them there, and Xeroxes are $0.20 per sheet. (Perhaps I'll try taking some copies with the closing-cam, like I'm starring in my own spy movie..).

Anyway, I've got a number of old Yellow Pages ads that will be turning up here as new posts and updates to old posts.

Written by ted on March 15th, 2009

Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits & BP Station, 201 Harbison Boulevard: March 2008   11 comments

Posted at 12:47 am in restaurants

I'm not entirely sure I have the title for this post right. Googling "201 Harbison" Columbia brings up Popeye's as the most common hit, but also suggests the place may have been Harbison Exxon, or Taco Bell. In fact the place does look like it had gas islands. Was it an Exxon convenience store with an attached restaurant which flipped from Taco Bell to Popeye's perhaps?

I suppose if I paid more attention, I would remember, but I don't eat at either restaurant, and I would never stop for gas at that point on Harbison -- it was after 6 when I took these shots, and Harbison was still a real mess. I had gone out to take some pictures of Circuit City, and it was still really difficult to get where I wanted to go in the area across all the traffic.

UPDATE 17 March 2012: Updated the closing date to "March 2008" based on research in the comments. Also added a note that the attached gas station was a BP in the post title.

Written by ted on March 14th, 2009

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Convenience Store, 5608 Pinestraw Road: 1970s   2 comments

Posted at 12:10 am in historic,stores

This building, on Pinestraw Road just below Satchelford Road, was a convenience store in the 1970s. I can't now recall if it were a "national" brand or a one-off, but I don't think it lasted very long. I'm not sure why -- the area is mainly residential, and I would have expected a good bit of foot traffic, especially since kids were still allowed to roam a little at the time.

At any rate, after the store closed, the (somewhat remodeled) building was still apparently in use, but never for anything "public". I think I saw service type trucks pulling in and out a few times, but it was always a bit mysterious. I guess that has ended, as the building is now up for lease.

Written by ted on March 13th, 2009

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