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Archive for April, 2009

Quincy's Family Steakhouse, 2515 Sunset Boulevard   13 comments

Posted at 11:59 pm in historic,restaurants

This Quincy's, which now houses a Maurice's Barbeque, was I think the first in town to close. The way I recall it, and I'm very often wrong about anything involving dates or time, this one went first, the one on Forest Drive went second, and the one on Two Notch went last.

This Quincy's was on the far side of town from us, and I think I only ate here once, when we were coming back from the airport -- it was fine. I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to check out a surviving Quincy's in Florence at US-52 & I-95. It was not as nice as I recall the Two Notch store being in the beginning, but it was perfectly acceptable.

Written by ted on April 29th, 2009

Winn Dixie, 7049 Parklane Road: Late 1990s   6 comments

Posted at 2:30 am in historic,stores

This building, now a Marshall's can't really be considered as a Columbia Mall outparcel store because it predates the mall. It was definitely a grocery, and I'm pretty sure it was Winn Dixie. We went there only very rarely, since we considered the area to be something of a boondocks and a long way from our house. Of course this was a time when a "long distance" phone call was something you saved for special occasions, and the area now seems quite close to me even though I live in the same place.

I'm not sure why the place failed to thrive after Columbia Mall went up -- on the surface that seems like it would have driven more traffic, but apparently not. I'm pretty sure that Winn Dixie moved out of here before coming back to the area with the ill fated Decker store in the 1990s. After that, a number of things went in -- I think it was a party shop at one time, but Marshall's has been there for several years now.

UPDATE: Updated the date in the post title from "1970s" to "Late 1990s" since commenters recall this store being open until the Decker store opened.

Written by ted on April 29th, 2009

Garcia's Mexican Restaurant / Roadhouse Grill, 215 O'Neil Court: 1990s   10 comments

Posted at 11:04 pm in historic,restaurants

This real estate report says this building was built in 1986 -- I would have guessed a bit earlier than that. I was first aware of it when it was a Garcia's Mexican restaurant. I'm pretty sure that this was the spot anyway, though the facade was different (the real estate link says the place was remodelled in 1996..). As I think I've written somewhere, Columbia has a hard time getting and / or keeping "national" Mexican chains. We never had a Rio Bravo, Chevvy's, Chi-Chi's or On The Border, and we lost Garcia's and Don Pablo's. El Chico seems to be the only one that sticks. To be fair though, I think the whole Garcia's chain has fallen on hard times, and they closed their Myrtle Beach location several years ago.

After Garcia's the place became Roadhouse Grill which was sort of a Western place like (but not as good as) The Texas Roadhouse on Two Notch, but that didn't last long either. After that I think the building was empty for several years until it's most recent incarnation as a Bingo hall.

UPDATE 13 May 2010: Just for grins, here's the old Garcia's building in the Kroger plaza off of US-17 in North Myrtle Beach:

Rally's / The Goldmine / North American Title Loans / Autogym / but not Krystal, 7120 Parklane Road: 1990s / 2000s   21 comments

Posted at 11:42 pm in business,historic,restaurants

In the 1990s, the restaurant chain Krystal started to make a push in to the Southeast. They had been around for a good while by then, but were new to the Columbia market. I think that originally their niche had been as the Whitecastle-like store operating in regions where there was no Whitecastle, and they had a small burger similar to Whitecastle's "slider".

However during their big expansion push, they came up with the selling point that they had menu items not usually found at fast food joints. I think these were mostly vegetables, but the only actuall one I can recall right now is "fried mushrooms", because I like fried mushrooms. (The State Fair is usually the only time I get them though). Anyway, they did a big build-out and opened lots of new stores, but for whatever reason, it didn't work out for them, and the stores all closed. I'm pretty sure the chain is still around, but they've exited Columbia, and I believe the whole state. I only went to Krystal a few times and never to this store. I'm pretty sure that this particular location was a "mini" store with drive-through and takeout only.

I don't know anything about Autogym. I don't recall hearing the name anywhere else, so I'm assuming that it was a one-off local carwash operation, and I don't think it lasted too long. I'm not sure why you would bring your car to a building not fitted out with carwash equipment, especially when there was a carwash, built as a carwash, just across Two Notch on Decker, and perhaps that was a problem for them.

UPDATE 27 April 2009:

Well, it appears I was mistaken when I tagged this building as a former Krystal. I've changed the post title to reflect that, but I'm going to leave all the verbiage I wrote about Krystal since the comments won't make sense otherwise -- I reserve the right to cut-and-paste it into a post about a real Krystal sometime!

Commenter Badger identifies the initial tenant as a Rally's. I never ate at (or got takeout from) a Rally's, but it seems to me that sometime in the early 90s, the idea for a very small takeout burger place took off, and suddenly there were about half a dozen different chains working the concept. There were Rally and Checker as mentioned in the comments, but there was also Central Park, and several others that I am completely blanking on right now. In general they didn't last long though I'm not sure why -- personally I hate to do take-out but plenty of people seem to like it.

UPDATE 12 September 2009: Well, it's open again, this time as a Chinese take-out operation, China Garden.

Written by ted on April 26th, 2009

Piggly Wiggly, 2001 Rosewood Drive: July 2002   5 comments

Posted at 1:33 am in historic,stores

I don't believe I ever shopped this store, but I think it was on Rosewood for most of my life. The building is one of the older style Pigs, much like that of the Covenant Road Pig and the Marshall Street Pig, though in this case the follow-on store has not retained the Pig's marquee letters the way Kimbrell's has.

The current tenant is Dollar Tree an "everything for a dollar store. It appears from this real estate listing that the building itself is again for sale, though Dollar Tree has a six-year lease. I notice that they are building a lot of residences on the other side of Rosewood (and a bit down the hill) -- too bad the PIg didn't hold out another few years, as that would be a new customer base (though the store is small for the current Piggly WIggly concept).

UPDATE 27 April 2009: I have updated the closing date in the post title from "2000s" to the "July 2002" date supplied by Dave in the comments.

Written by ted on April 26th, 2009

Skyway Drive-In Theatre, Rosewood at the Fairgrounds: 1970s   3 comments

Posted at 11:03 pm in business,entertainment,historic

Here's another of Columbia's many drive-in theaters that I never went to, or at least I think it is. I don't really have an address from the 15 April 1973 ad in The State, just "at the Fairgrounds gate", and this lot, adjacent to Jaco's, is the only one that looks plausible. It is now, and has been for as long as I can remember, used for parking during the State Fair, and is vacant the rest of the year.

Of the three movies playing, I have never heard of two of them, and would never have heard of Blindman except for a recent retrospective review in Video Watchdog. This is a great magazine if you have any interest in SF/Fantasy/Horror/Low Budget movies. They were quite pleased with Ringo Starr's performance in this forgotten spaghetti western.

I'm not sure when the Skyway closed -- after 15 April 1973, obviously. I'm sure it was gone by the time I was in college around 1980 as I remember taking a bus to the Fair then, and I'm sure I would have noticed a drive-in as they dropped us off at the front gate.

Written by ted on April 24th, 2009

Waldenbooks, Columbia Mall: Early 2009   6 comments

Posted at 10:15 pm in stores

There was a time when I would have known within days that Waldenbooks at Columbia Mall had closed. I guess it says something about the times (and me) that in the event I didn't even suspect until I started getting google hits on this blog for keywords like "waldenbooks columbia mall closed". I went by today to check it out, and it is indeed gone, though there is still a (discount) book store in that storefront.

I'm pretty sure Waldenbooks was one of the original stores in the mall when it opened, and one of the last of those (I believe only Sears is left now, though if you count Macy's through its purchase of Rich's there would be two).

Books were actually pretty well represented in the initial mall. There was Walden's, Zondervan's Christian Books, B. Dalton Books, Rich's had a reasonably sized book department and I think Belk's had a smaller one for a while. While I would often check Rich's for interesting closeouts, Walden's and B. Dalton's were my main hangouts. In those days, you never knew when new books would be out so I would generally stop by at least once a week and make a run through the SF and humor sections. Of course once I moved out of town, I stopped by less often, and by the time I moved back, I was an Amazon junkie, and the brick and mortar shops I tended to hit were either B&N, Books-a-Million or The Happy Bookseller. The last book I can specifically recall buying from this Walden's was (South Carolinian) David Weber's Honor Among Enemies in 1996.

Waldenbooks as a chain is owned by Borders, and the parent company has been closing these smaller outlets for years. According to this Reuters story the company plans to slash its Waldenbooks locations from 300 to 50 or 60, and I guess Columbia Mall didn't make the cut.

Written by ted on April 23rd, 2009

Dirt Parking at the State Fair, Fairgrounds: 2008   2 comments

I suppose it's a silly thing to get pre-nostalgic about, but to me as a child, a big part of the adventure of going to the State Fair was the getting there. The first years I can remember, my father decided that he didn't want to face the hassle of fair traffic and parking fees, so we would catch the SCE&G Fairgrounds bus at, I believe, the corner of Main & Blossom. These were the only times we rode the bus as kids, and it was very exciting!

Later, I think my mother was less than thrilled at riding the bus and we started to drive, but it was still an adventure -- sort of an imperfectly organized chaos where you followed a bunch of cars, hoped you were in the right lane, and then tried to figure out which guy waving a flashlight you were supposed to follow as they invented a parking lot on the fly. Of course if it were dry, the dust would be flying everywhere, and if it had been wet, it was a long slog through the mud, but it never really occurred to me that the Fair should have anything other than a dirt/grass lot.

As you can tell from the pictures though, that's about to end. It appears that next year, we will have a "real" parking lot at the Fairgrounds. Oh well, as long as they still have the rocket and the handwriting analysis computer, my childhood won't be totally gone!

Dick's Flamingo Club, 925 Leesburg Road: 1978(?)   20 comments

Posted at 11:34 pm in historic,restaurants

it seems to me that that Leesburg Road used to be more fashionable than it is now. Perhaps since I-77 came through, it's a bit harder to get to, and to describe how to get to. Or it could just be my imagination, since we didn't go there much even back in the day.

In fact, I have only a very vague memory of having heard about Dick's Flamingo Club at all. If I hadn't seen the ad while I was xeroxing the "restaurants" section from the 1970 phonebook, I'm sure I wouldn't ever have thought of it again. I do notice that it was open until 11pm on weeknights, and it seems to me that more restaurants were open late in 1970 than are today. Nowdays, if you can't get there before 10, or even 9 in a lot of cases, you are pretty well hosed.

The property is currently occupied by Parklane Seafood House whose sign proclaims that they are celebrating their 30th anniversary, having started in 1978. Of course, I think they actually were on Parklane then, so I'm not sure the 1978 date was the actual closure year for Dick's.

Written by ted on April 21st, 2009

Hardee's Dutch Square (96 North Arrowwood Road) / 120 Veterans Road: 2000s (playground changes)   26 comments

Posted at 11:02 pm in attraction,historic,landmark,restaurants

In my mind, Hardee's has been going down hill since they got rid of Gilbert Giddyup & Speedy McGreedy, not to mention "charco" grilling. For years though, the real reason to stop at a Hardee's when you got off the Interstate rather than McDonalds or Burger King, was for the ice.

There are a number of different types of commercial ice makers for restaurants. Some make lenticular spherical sections, others make partially hollow cubes, and some make "chewy" ice. Honestly, I don't know why a restaurant would want anything but the last kind, but some do and did. Hardee's though could be counted on for the chewy ice for years and then in a fit of madness, they gave it up. Next they started emphasing chicken such that I couldn't even go into the stores any more because of the chicken smell. Finally they were bought out by Carl's Junior wandered aimlessly for years but of late seem to have grabbed onto a workable concept with the "thickburger" line (though I have yet to sample one).

Anyway, that's all besides the point to this pair of local playground changes sent in by commenter Melanie. The "before" shots come from her, and I took the "after" ones last weekend:

The tall metal man was the playground at the Hardees beside Dutch Square before they tore it down. I think this picture was taken 1995 give or take a year.

and:

Hardees ditched another of their coolest playgrounds sometime in the new millenia. Here is a pic taken in 1995-6 of the Hardees playground from Garners Ferry where I77 goes over. They had this playground at least since I was born because I remember it always being there.

The metal man is indeed way cool. I can only speculate that either the insurance became too burdensome, or playgrounds don't really fit in with the Carl's Junior conception of Hardee's.

UPDATE 21 April 2009: Added "Dutch Square" to the post title.

UPDATE 18 December 2012: Changed the location for the "Garners Ferry" Hardees from 7942 Garners Ferry Road to 120 Veterans Road. (The Hardee's in question is not actually on Garners Ferry, but a side-street, and the Garners Ferry Address is another Hardee's entirely).

Written by ted on April 20th, 2009

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