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Captain's Kitchen / Zorba's / Sparta / Zorba's, 2628 Decker Boulevard: 2 June 2008   70 comments

Posted at 5:02 pm in Uncategorized

Well, it's not like I didn't see it coming.

The first establishment I can remember in this building on Decker was The Captain's Kitchen, a seafood operation. I can't tell you a lot about it because I have never liked seafood, and don't have any specific memories of going there. I think I did go there several times -- I seem to recall my parents speaking of it with approval -- but if I did, I would have gotten a burger or sandwich off the kids' menu.

I'm not entirely sure when The Captain's Kitchen closed, but I suspect it was in the late 60s or early 70s. At any rate, after that, a Zorba's opened in the building. It's hard to explain today how limited cuisine choices were in a medium-sized Southern city in those days. Pizza was considered an exotic food, Mexican restaurants were unknown, Chinese places were rare, and I suspect still tended towards "chop suey" and Greek food was completely unknown outside of Greek families. Today, everyone loves "Greek Salad", back then we didn't even know what it was and Feta cheese was very suspect (it wasn't even yellow!). Which is to say we didn't eat at Zorba's much, and when we did, I got a cheeseburger.

My memory is hazy on the details here, but at some point in, I believe, the 80s, the manager of Zorba's on Decker bought out the Zorba's people and rechristened the restaurant as Sparta. The only real difference was new signage, new menus and opening the restaurant on Sundays. Greek food was a bit less exotic by that point, and we ate there more frequently, and I started to discover the joys of feta in spanikopita and Greek Salads.

I don't know what happened next, but suddenly, Sparta was gone, and the place was Zorba's again (and closed on Sundays again). At this point, I had moved out of town, but had become quite fond of the food, and would often eat Saturday lunch there when I was back in Columbia. Things seemed to move along basically unchanged into the 90s and early 2000s.

At some point in that timeframe, Zorba's became the default place for my father, sister & I to have Saturday lunch (I was generally in town on Saturdays). My father had not been wild about Greek food at first, but gradually came to really like the place, and the staff was always very solicitious of him, especially as it became harder for him to get around.

About this time, the "flight from Decker" started as the Decker Corridor went into decline. Again, I got bits and pieces of this in conversation and may have parts wrong, but I also think that the owner had some health issues and needed to cut back his responsibilities some. He ended up selling the restaurant to an Asian couple and staying on as manager. To combat the decrease in business, he & they decided to refurbish the deck area and try to make Zorba's an afternoon cocktail destination. Unfortunately, it didn't work, and business continued to decline.

By 2003, I was back in Columbia, and eating lunch at Zorba's three times a week (Monday, Wednesday & Friday). I liked to come in about 3pm, have the "stuffed shells" or "cheese manicoti" special, and drink tea and read a book for the rest of my lunch hour after finishing eating. The waitresses knew me, and always kept my glass well filled.

After that, the The Signs Your Favorite Restaurant Is About to Close set in.

First was "sign #1: the hours change". Suddenly Zorba's was no longer open for dinner, just from 11:00am to 3:00pm for lunch. Not only was this a bad sign, but it meant that to eat there, I had to go at 2:00pm, earlier than I generally like to eat lunch (yes, I'm a night owl), so I started going on Monday's only.

Then there was "sign #3: the staffing level drops". Where there had been several waitresses before, now there was only one, and she was new.

After that, there was "sign #5: staff cleaning the restrooms rather than a sanitation service" and "sign #6: the menu changes" -- the formerly full menu + specials was reduced to a skimpy lunch menu + specials.

Finally, when I went in on Monday 26 May 2008, we had "sign #2: they are out of something mundane". In this case, it was lettuce, so instead of the greek salad with the manicotti, I had to choose rice or potatoes instead.

I'm putting 2 June 2008 in the title for this post, but I can't actually say that's the first day they weren't open as I was on vacation the week after 26 May. It's a deduction based on them not getting full deliveries for the week of 26 May and being definitely closed when I went by on 9 June. Combined with that, a new month with all its bills is a logical time to close up shop and the telephone is already disconnected. Actually it's a bit interesting. If it weren't for the phone being disconnected, I wouldn't be absolutely sure. There is no signage at all indicating that they are closed. Usually there is a "Thanks to all our wonderful customers for a great XX years" taped to the door, but not here.

Inside, you can still see the Cheese Manicotti special on the white-board. Oh well -- Thanks guys! I enjoyed it!

UPDATE 2 April 2009: Added Captain's Kitchen Yellow Pages ad from 1970

UPDATE 9 April 2009:

Well, for a while the sign said that an Italian restaurant was coming (Giovanni's, I think), but that never happened, and now it appears the place will be a Mexican restaurant for Mexicans (at least that is my interpretation since the sign says "Patrones Restaurante Mexicano Y Barra" rather than "Patrones Mexican Restaurant & Bar".

I don't know what's up with the For Sale sign, unless the area between the old Redwing and the restaurant is a seperate parcel.

I have to say I don't like the lettering here at all:

UPDATE 14 June 2009: Added the 1977 Southern Bell Yellow Pages ad above

UPDATE 8 June 2012 -- The new operation in this building, Continintal Bar & Grill (a very un-Mexican sounding name to me, though perhaps not to a Mexican) seems to be open. Except that I have yet to ever see a single car there.






UPDATE 27 September 2014 -- Well, as reported, the place has been razed:






















Written by ted on June 13th, 2008

Tagged with , , , , , ,

70 Responses to 'Captain's Kitchen / Zorba's / Sparta / Zorba's, 2628 Decker Boulevard: 2 June 2008'

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  1. I saw this coming around the year 2000-2002. Somewhere in there, the Thursday lunch special; Pork Souvlaki disappeared. (This was my reason for going there in the first place)

    Then all of a sudden, all the wait-staff that's been there for years dissappeared. The food took a definate nose-dive. The Maitre-de left. For the last 3 years, I went once per year each time vowing to never return.

    Today I see it's now owned by some securities company.

    Very sad. I and others use to come from miles to eat here.

    Mr BO


    23 Jun 08 at 11:21 am

  2. Didnt know Zorba's closed. I was never a Zorba's fan, myself, still cant stand Greek food.

    We must have grown up fairly near each other, though I suspect you're a little younger. I graduated from Spring Valley in '72. If you went to EL Wright Middle School, you knew my mother.


    23 Jun 08 at 4:29 pm

  3. A few years later, I graduated in '79..


    23 Jun 08 at 4:38 pm

  4. You may have known my brother Perry if you went to Spring Valley. He graduated in 77 I think; was the football quarterback.


    23 Jun 08 at 4:42 pm

  5. Sorry to get so personal; I sit here in Chicago and the last thing I expected today was to encounter a blog written by someone from my hometown and my area.


    23 Jun 08 at 4:43 pm

  6. Afraid I went to Wildewood, not Spring Valley.

    It's a small world though..


    23 Jun 08 at 4:52 pm

  7. Great blog. I remember Captain's Kitchen I would guess it closed around 83 or 84 and Zorba's moved in soon after. There is another Zorba's in the Irmo area in the 7 oaks shopping center. Not sure what the connection is but the food is pretty much the same.

    Mr Bill

    26 Jun 08 at 3:51 pm

  8. What of the Zorba's further out Two Notch, that took over that ill-themed seafood place in front of that hideous Wal-Mart that was built on top of the Spring Valley HS Cross-Country course? And, of course, the Irmo Zorbas?

    Perhaps they closed this location because it was hemorrhaging money... and also on Decker Blvd.
    I sure hope the others stay open.


    27 Jun 08 at 3:17 pm

  9. I don't believe there is any connection beyond the right to use the name "Zorba's".

    I ate at the Spring Valley Zorba's a few months ago, and wasn't impressed at all! There was not a single greek item on the menu.


    27 Jun 08 at 3:23 pm

  10. The Irmo one has tons of greek food.

    Mr Bill

    30 Jun 08 at 9:32 am

  11. Having grwon up near Decker Blvd. I can tell you that for years Captain's Kitchen was about the only locally owned seafood place. They expanded the location several times and at one point had a boat attached to the end furtherest away from Decker to make the whole place look like a long boat from the outside. I also remeber that they specialized in calabash style seafood and featured all you can eat specials. I ate there several times and always loved it.
    They also briefly had a location in West Columbia near the old speedway.


    1 Jul 08 at 9:44 am

  12. A bunch of us ate at Captains Kitchen regularly in our college days (60's). I remember it was waaay out of town in those days. The food was fairly good, but I remember the service was pretty bad. It was an all you can eat place, but I always suspected the waitresses were trained to attempt to ignore you after the first serving! The owner got into the bar business and opened the "Brig" when"Down Under Columbia" opened in the early 70's. I was a bartender there for a few weeks. I remember interviewing with the owner. He was a nice guy, but he hired a bunch of rednecks to run the Brig. These peckerwoods knew nothing about the bar business and it was soon closed. I think that was the beginning of the end for Captains Kitchen as well. As for Zorba's, the one in Irmo does very well, although the menu hasn't changed in decades. The wife and I ate at the Parklane location a few years ago and were underwhelmed to say the least. It won't be missed.


    16 Jul 08 at 8:17 am

  13. Interesting! I had comnpletely forgotten about "Down Under Columbia".


    16 Jul 08 at 10:22 am

  14. First, let me say what a weird site this is. A site devoted to "Days gone by" in Columbia South carolina.
    Second, let me say that I can't stop reading it. As someone who was born and raised in Columbia I always find my self telling people how things used to be, or where things used to be, or how good things used to be. I hated when my parents, or grandparents would do it, but I can't seem to help it. Or, if I know someone who's also a native, then it seems to be almost like a competion of who can remember the most about the old landscape of the city.
    I was born in 66 and spent the first 6 years of my life in Forrect Acres, then moved out to Spring Valley, so the Northeast is where most of my memories lie. My mother grew up in Hopkins, so we did a lot of shopping in the places and stores that she was fimiliar with. We shopped a lot in 5 points, downtown at the old Tapp's and Belks, Richland Mall, Dutch Square, and Trehnolm Plaza.
    Captain's Kitchen was one of my parent favorite resturants. I believe it may have even been the first resturant my parents took me to. When I got older I used to beg them to get a table in the back that was shaped like a boat. They also had jars around the waitress station full of sea creatures. I especially emember the octopuss. My mother still believes that Captain's Kitchen had the best coleslaw. You know your in the South when someone brags about coleslaw and hushpuppies.
    The far left of Captain's Kitchen was shaped, or enclosed in an old boat, but who remember's the Bounty out toward Hopkins that was built like a huge boat. My grandparent's loved to eat there. It looked like some crazy themed resturant from the coast.
    Also, what was the resturant located on Decker where Chick-fil-a is now. I think it was Applegates Landing. It was also themed on the inside. I remember a salad bar that was made from an old truck.

    Hal Reed

    4 Sep 08 at 6:11 pm

  15. I remember a boat shaped restaurant out on, um, the Sumter Highway, I think. Maybe that was The Bounty. As I wrote, I remember Captain's Kitchen, but not that it had a boat shape part.


    4 Sep 08 at 10:53 pm

  16. There was a boat shape restaurant off of the Sumter highway called the Bountry that looked both inside and out like an old sailing vessel.

    The Captain's kitchen on Decker had a boat attached to the end of the restaurant furtherest away from Decker, but the place as a whole was not designed to look like a boat.

    While we are on local seafood, anyone remebers Chappy's and Cedric's Fish & Chips?


    5 Sep 08 at 2:54 pm

  17. The Bounty was owned & operated by B.C. Inabinet, a college football star who founded Defender Industries and got rich selling janitorial supplies. We often bumped into him at his restaurant, and he was a happy, wonderful host who love people and loved to eat!

    He also owned a working shrimp boat on the coast called The Bounty, and in the restaurant was a series of photos of the boat's christening. His wife hit the bow with a magnum of champagne, and instead of breaking, it knocked a chunk off the boat! He found this hilarious and loved to tell the story.

    Behind the restaurant he built a little shack on the lake's edge where you could get beer and oysters in a sort of tropical setting. Great fun.

    B.C. died from complications following stomach-stapling surgery (he was huge). I heard that he refused to follow doctor's orders about eating after the operation and that's what did him in.


    5 Sep 08 at 4:57 pm

  18. Captain's Kitchen on Decker Blvd. was a wonderful seafood restaurant. I was in the army, stationed at Ft. Jackson from July 1970 until January, 1972. It was our favorite place to eat, but on army pay, it was a once a month special treat. Great catfish!

    In the mid to late 1970's, there was also one in Augusta, GA, off of I-20. Same good food, but it was only there for a few years.


    16 Sep 08 at 11:12 am

  19. I remember the back of the Captain's Kitchen had what looked like the wheelhouse of a boat. My brother and I had a blast playing in it while my folks ate dinner.


    17 Sep 08 at 2:06 pm

  20. When the Bounty first opened, they had a large schooner that would take restaurant guests on cruises around the lake.


    30 Sep 08 at 7:48 am

  21. The Bounty was a renovated wooden structure on the old swim club called Pine Woods. I think Pine Woods closed in the early seventies. I was involved with installing insulation under the restaurant for insulation. I believe the restaurant burned down after a few years.


    12 Nov 08 at 5:17 pm

  22. I remember the Bounty well as I grew up on that side of town and we went there often. The whole restaurant inside and out looked like a ship right out of the 1600's complete with great lighting at nights and mannequins. There was indeed a boat that took you on tours of the pond (although at 5 yrs old it seemed huge, especially after dark). It also seems that there was a pirate wharf out back with a little souvenir shack where you could get (among other things) little pirate flags and probably even those plastic pirate swords. In my memory it was as cool as Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney, and there has been nothing like it in Columbia since.


    13 Nov 08 at 11:41 am

  23. hey everyone....

    The Captain"s I was born in 1967 and it was the first place my parents took me when I was just a few weeks old. My dad loved the place, knew everyone and had to show me off. When I was older I use to go play in the wheelhouse area that was like a boat!!! Such wonderful memories...both of my parents are gone now. I also enjoyed many lunches with my mom at that location when it was Zorbas...which I still miss.


    11 Dec 08 at 3:10 pm

  24. oh...and the Bounty. We went there too. My father loved seafood and we lived on that side of town. Never thought the food was as good as Captains Kitchen.


    11 Dec 08 at 3:11 pm

  25. The Bounty off of Garners Ferry Rd... few restaurants out that way in the late 70s other than the Chicken Coop near where Zaxby's is now.

    At the Bounty after dinner they'd ride you on the pond in the "ship." One time the "skipper" said "You see that thing over there that looks like a log? Well, it is a log." The place burned to the groud, maybe in the 80s.

    Midnight Rambler

    16 Dec 08 at 2:43 pm

  26. The Bounty was a great place to go eat but I agree with Kelly, I don't think it was quite as good as Captain's Kitchen. When I was very young, my parents were members of Pinewood Club (where the Bounty was.) It was the big pond and a few rustic buildings. One was the canteen and others I think were the Men's and Women's buildings to change into their swimsuits. That's where I learned to swim. Good fishing there too! I believe the Columbia Fire Dept may have torched the Bounty for training purposes. At least that is what I was told.


    21 Dec 08 at 8:49 pm

  27. I ate at the Bounty once after it opened in the 70's, though I don't remember the exact year it opened. We stopped going to Pinewood in 1970 when pollution made the lake too nasty to swim in. Plus, an infestation of garfish made it frightening to swim in too. But it was a paradise to child in the 1960's. I later realized that it was a white's only alternative to the integration of Spring Valley park.


    8 Jan 09 at 12:06 am

  28. My husband used to work at Captain's kitchen. He said you should never eat there on a Saturday night--they changed the oil on Sunday.


    11 Feb 09 at 7:19 pm

  29. So THAT'S what happened to it huh? I didnt know the old building was still there. I remember the commmercials about it where they wanted and told everyone to "Come to the Captain's Kitchen, for "treasure" of the sea" what ever that was supposed to mean. I never ate there since I grew up on the Cayce side of town in the 60's. I always wanted to go there, but never did. But now I can take pics. of it knowing what it was. Thanks for letting us know.


    12 Apr 09 at 5:51 pm

  30. Ooops! meant to say "Come to the Captain's Kitchen for TREASURES of the sea".. I'm stuck in the 60's still.


    12 Apr 09 at 5:53 pm

  31. Wow! What a great Blog! I think I knew some of you people years ago. Do you have a Facebook group for Columbia Closings? I lived in Columbia 71-87 growing up and graduating from Richland NE and USC. My Mom still lives in the same house across from Forest Lake Elementary.
    Moved to Charleston in 87 so all my clear memories of Columbia are pre-Hugo. Boy, has Decker changed! I worked at Richway as a teen and had my HS graduation lunch at Applegate's Landing.
    As for Captains Kitchen, We might have eaten there once but we were such Seafood snobs. My Grandparents lived on the water at Cherry Grove so we were always catching every type of sea creature and cooking it seven different ways.
    Thanks for this blog! I have a feeling I'll be reading and forwarding it for hours.


    7 May 09 at 7:53 pm

  32. Welcome Cynthia! No facebook, I'm afraid.


    7 May 09 at 10:40 pm

  33. When Captain's Kitchen was first built, that whole side of Decker up to where the Trenholm Extension is and back to behind the buildings where Fashion Place Shopping Center is presently located was one of many spring lakes (more of a pond) in the area. Look at this geography on Google Maps and you'll see a handful of spring lakes and ponds in the immediate vicinity. The Captain's Kitchen pond kissed the parking lot and, to a kid's eye at least, almost gave a certain authenticity to the fishing boat theme. The Red Lobster across Decker Blvd. followed this tradition by having been built on the sister pond, Carys Lakes. And speaking of closings, wow, I was just looking at the street view for Decker and I'll be dogged, The Red Lobster is gone, when did that happen?

    Though the pond adjacent to Captain's Kitchen wasn't very deep, people regularly swam there in the hot summer months rather than go the distance to the Sesquicentennial State Park spring lake. This could be a faulty memory, but I seem to remember that there was even a 'pond house' or some sort of area where you could rent small boats or rubber rafts; I certainly wouldn't bet the ranch on that part. Right at this very moment there is someone in Columbia (or Walla Walla Washington for that matter) with a photo of the new Captain's Kitchen and the swimming pond next to it but they don't have a clue about Columbia Closings.

    Moral of the story? Take photographs of every business you frequent and enjoy no matter how much you think, "... I see this place a couple of times a week, why do I need to take a picture, I know what it looks like. After all, won't it be here forever? ..." As Ted's blog makes painfully obvious, no, the place will not be there forever and no matter how much you think you will remember it, you will not remember it enough.

    Michael Taylor

    18 Oct 09 at 11:39 pm

  34. This Zorbas was a franchise of the original one in Irmo. It was owned by Albert Chen who also owned the Club House (old Vista Brewing). Both this Zorbas and Club House closed around same time.

    The Kokolis who own the origianl Zorbas in Irmo tried to do the Zorbas in Northeast in the old Gilligan's.


    22 Oct 09 at 10:58 pm

  35. Somebody's gotta say it:



    24 Oct 09 at 3:39 pm

  36. Sparta I remember Sparta but can't recall when that was there.

    Mr Bill

    26 Oct 09 at 12:18 pm

  37. There is a Zorba's in Aiken, SC that is really good.


    15 Dec 09 at 2:30 am

  38. I tried it several times while I lived in Aiken, but never really warmed up to it. Same with The Acropolis there.


    15 Dec 09 at 2:45 am

  39. My parents took me to the Captains Kitchen many times back in the 60s, my Dad would get the all you could eat oysters. I remember they would bring them to the table in a bucket, give Dad a large bib and oyster knife and he would go at it. The front was shaped like a boat and that was the coolest thing for a kid around 10 years old, (I'm 54 know). I have lived in the Garners Ferry road area all my life, went to Lower Richland, worked at McDonalds near Jacson Blvd. in the early 70s, met my wife there, worked at Square D in 74 and 75, still live off Garners Ferry and am amazed at how much this side of town has changed in the past 40 years.


    16 Jan 11 at 11:39 am

  40. I always had to eat the boneless perch at Captain's Kitchen when I was young, as that was one of the menu items that kids could eat cheap there. A highlight of my life was outgrowing the children's menu and being allowed to order shrimp.


    14 Feb 11 at 11:58 pm

  41. When we lived at Ft Jackson we would go like John said previously once a month to eat at Captain's Kitchen. It was my all time favorite place to eat as a child. I remember the buckets they would bring out for the oysters they served. Sorry to hear that it is no longer open.


    14 Jun 11 at 11:10 pm

  42. The Captains Kitchen on Decker Blvd. was owned by J.D. Hammond and C.V. Godwin. In the '60s, the place was hopping -- lines out the door and across the parking lot -- on Fri and Sat nights. Seriously, folks would wait in that incredible line because the food was really good and fairly affordable. Mrs. Hammond would work the cash register Fri and Sat. J.D.'s daughter Phyllis and C.V.'s son Dan worked there some weekend evenings when they were in high school.

    A lot of the staff was ex-Army or had husbands at Ft. Jackson. Busboys were teenagers who lived nearby. The waitresses were attractive and friendly. (I remember them well)

    Food was good: great fried seafood, french fries, fried onions, and hushpuppies -- and *excellent* steamed oysters. Everything was all you could eat. Someone mentioned the good cole slaw. That was true. I never liked slaw until I had theirs.

    Yeah, sometimes, the reorders didn't come as quickly as you wished, but that was usually due to the back-log of new orders ahead of you. The whole staff there hustled, anyone who didn't hustle didn't work there long.

    I think "the original" in the name came about in the early-'70s because someone approached them and wanted to franchise it. That person opened one in another state (WV or KY, I think). At some point, they opened the one across the river.

    The Captain's Kitchen was built on the banks of Jackson/Gills Creek, across Decker from the headwaters of Arcadia Lake. Nothing but woods anywhere nearby. The closest thing was Dentsville High School (aka, Dunceville). You could probably find a photo of the place in the Dentsville yearbooks of the late '60s.

    Captain's Kitchen was successful and grew from one small dining room and a kitchen. They added a large dining room, then a porch dining room along the creek, then a smaller back dining room. At some point the owners bought a large "cabin cruiser" that looked somewhat like the Minnow in Gilligans Island and attached it to the far end (away from Decker) of the building. Kids would go up there to spin the helm and ring the bell.

    I noticed business fell off in the '70s after the "A-rab Oil Embargos" twice caused gas prices to double. Folks just couldn't afford to drive that far or eat out.


    5 Feb 12 at 3:24 pm

  43. I LOVED Captain's Kitchen. My brother and I would get perch and Mom would get shrimp, Dad would get scallops and we'd share everything. Then I'd get Hot Tamales and my brother would get a Nestle's crunch bar at the vending machine. I always thought it was big deal when we'd go there. Some of my happiest memories were at Captain's Kitchen.


    28 Apr 12 at 5:12 pm

  44. I noticed this afternoon that a Mexican restaurant (name escapes me) appears to be open here (or will be soon)...and the only thing I could think of was the City of Columbia attempting to make Decker Blvd. as Columbia's International Corridor


    27 May 12 at 9:35 pm

  45. this one shows up in the recent updates without anything new being added to it


    29 May 12 at 9:54 pm

  46. Actually I added spaces before and after the separating forward slahes in the post title because WordPress was treating it all as one word causing it to be unsplitable and making it not wrap well.

    (And I will make a "real" update soon, with pix of the new Mexican restaurant.)


    29 May 12 at 11:00 pm

  47. I worked in the kitchen at the Captain's Kitchen in the summer
    of 1973 between my Sophmore and Junior years at Spring
    Valley. Did mainly food prep and cleaning. When I came home
    from work my mother made go in the laundry room and strip
    and hit the shower because I wreaked of fish and shrimp.
    They really good seafood and the place always seemed to
    be busy. The owner J.D. Hammond was quite a character! He
    used to drive down to MeClallanville everyday and bring back
    fresh shrimp, oysters etc.
    There used to not many places to go out to eat in Dentsville.
    Not sure what's there now. We moved to Cincinnati in late
    1974 and don't get back to Columbia much. So a place like
    the Captain's Kitchen to us was a nice place to go back in
    the day!


    4 Jul 12 at 7:01 pm

  48. This place went downhill as Zorbas when the Greeks sold it and the Oriental guy took over

    Paul D

    5 Oct 12 at 3:24 am

  49. We would take the long trek to the Captains Kitchen from South Beltline every so often to eat real seafood as opposed to fish sticks that my mother made.


    1 Aug 13 at 8:56 pm

  50. Now that the comment crisis is settled, I am going to repost this. If anyone remembers E.D. Hooker who worked here in the 70's please let me know. He was my uncle and moved up from Charleston after his stint in the Navy was over.


    14 Sep 13 at 12:54 am

  51. I fondly remember my parents taking me and my sister to the Captain's Kitchen. Our family lived in the area and we went there most weekends and especially when we had relatives was the place to go for great seafood in that part of town. I remember playing in the wheelhouse and I think..on your birthday you could ring the bell. Zorba's was goo for awhile..but then it went down hill. I remember when they tore down the boat part of the restuarant..I think it was because it had been infested with termites and had become a fire hazard. At least thats what a waiter told me .. after it had become Zorba's.


    9 Oct 13 at 9:14 am

  52. Just so everyone knows there are 2 Williams on here. I am going to start putting something at the end of my name so both of us will not get confused.



    9 Oct 13 at 1:32 pm

  53. MrBO

    15 Dec 13 at 7:29 am

  54. Hmm..

    Frankly, I call BS on that. They're finding a way to get money to do what they wanted to do anyway. I have never seen a flood here in the last 40 years. On the other hand, Forest Lake Shopping Center and Five Points flood regularly...


    15 Dec 13 at 4:44 pm

  55. I agree with Ted. I have worked on that side of town off and on for the last 30+ years and I have never seen a flood in that area despite its proximity to the creek behind it.

    I think the county is getting desperately trying to figure out what to do with the entire Decker corridor as it is still going downhill (if it can get much lower).


    15 Dec 13 at 8:39 pm

  56. Another example of RichCo frivolously spending money. County Councilman Jim Manning was all over TV and the Fish Wrap pimping this deal, so I'd bet he's up to his neck in whatever tomfoolery and chicanery may be going on.

    What a crock. I've never known that area to flood. If you're gonna tear down stuff because there used to be a waterway there, then Five Points needs to go.


    16 Dec 13 at 7:43 am

  57. By this logic, I'd say WVOC's Old Station on Radio Lane (off of Bush River Road) would need to be razed.

    I read in The State several years ago as Taco Bell was building their new location at Decker and Trenholm Road Extension that something Jim Manning heard with regard to rebuilding/revitalizing an area was to start at an intersection and focus on said intersection and he felt Decker/Trenholm was "just as good as any" and so Taco Bell came along in that quest. Taco Bell's former Decker Blvd. location is now Nick's Gyros and Subs.

    The idea is to revitalize Decker as Columbia's International Corridor but the move of TJ Maxx, Target, Kroger, Red Lobster and Olive Garden (among others) to Sparkelberry Square and Village at Sandhill over the course of several years has created a perception that Decker Bolevard has gone downhill and Jim Manning has a long road to try to reverse said perception I think (I'd wager that Columbia Place Mall's issues in recent years aren't helping matters, either).


    16 Dec 13 at 5:48 pm

  58. That's why the old WVOC station is on stilts. If it floods you either get outta there or you're stuck in the building till the water recedes.


    16 Dec 13 at 9:50 pm

  59. Drove by this place today, it has been demolished. nothing but dirt is left. i used to go to this place all the time, i knew the owner personally. so sad to see this place go!


    13 Aug 14 at 3:02 pm

  60. I have found an article indicating that there is a green space (like a park or a dog trail) planned for this spot...


    9 Sep 14 at 9:39 pm

  61. We loved Zorba's on Decker! It was close to home and the food exceptional! Even had a Valentine's Day Special that day for dinner-a meal and bottle of wine for $25.00 which we enjoyed very very much! Hated to see them close and now the building is being torn down due to some kind of drainage problem!

    Pat Lewis

    23 Sep 14 at 10:55 am

  62. It was also a night club back in 2009. A latin night club from Friday until Sunday.


    23 Sep 14 at 5:23 pm

  63. Yes, there is an entry here and here.

    I hope to have demolition pix soon too.


    23 Sep 14 at 5:40 pm

  64. The first Captain’s Kitchen opened in 1964 at 2628 Decker Boulevard advertising as “Columbia’s First Exclusive Seafood Restaurant”. It was owned and operated by Charles V Godwin and J D Hammond. In 1969, Hammond and Godwin formed a national franchise chain and the first franchise was built in Kentucky. In September of 1970, the second Captain’s Kitchen in the Columbia area opened at 2030 Charleston Highway in Cayce. There were also corporate owned Captain’s Kitchen restaurants in Augusta, Charleston, and Greenville. The Cayce location closed in 1975 and, in 1976, Skipjack opened in the same building, which is still standing, but now empty, at 2030 Charleston Highway. The original Captain’s Kitchen closed in 1984 and, in June of 1985, Zorba’s opened their second area restaurant in the old Captain’s Kitchen building on Decker Blvd.

    Paul Armstrong

    31 Jul 19 at 10:22 am

  65. The Zorba's on Decker was still being advertised in the State in July of 2009, but that was the last listing of it I've found in the newspaper archives. The building stood vacant for several years and, in 2014, the property was purchased by Richland County under a FEMA floodplain management program and the building was demolished.

    Paul Armstrong

    1 Aug 19 at 10:04 am

  66. Actually after Zorba's and before being razed, this place became Patron's and Continental Bar & Grill


    8 Aug 19 at 12:00 am

  67. For a young couple without much money in 1970, The Captain's Kitchen was a real treat. It was the closest thing to fine dining we were ever going to get. I'm thankful for the memories - and for the seafood we got to eat..

    Harold Ward

    28 Nov 19 at 9:59 am

  68. I helped open Zorbas on decker in 84. Jimmy hired me just before my 16th birthday. That is where I was taught to cook.
    People don’t know this but Jimmy and Margie loved us. They were tuff on us but damn they loved us.
    To the old crew Todd Oliphant, The late Jim Friend, John Hardesty, Marty Peake, Thomas Kinssey, Papa Niko, Nick and Gary. I want you all to know There was a bind with the Zorbas crews and waitresses that still sticks to me today. I can still remember Terry and Sherrie Jackson laughing at us idiots in the kitchen. Jimmy was very strict about the food that went out the window and to your table.
    I want you all to know I miss everyone of you and love each of you all still today. We got old quick didn’t we. Back then we were invincible. Will always remember Jimmy renting out Dooleys for us all that Christmas. What a party.

    Jamison seibert

    22 Jan 21 at 8:21 pm

  69. Folks Richland County is seeking public input as to what should become of the greenspace that they have in mind for this site and the WLTX article I linked should provide an opportunity for those interested (between now and July 16) to provide their feedback to the county to determine what should be here next...


    28 Jun 21 at 9:59 am

  70. For many years The Captain's Kitchen on Decker BLvd was where my family would bring me for my birthday. I loved the place. As I remember the front of the restaurant had the bow of a shrimp attached, so the whole place looked a little like a ship. As a kid one year I walked all the way to the front, and had to go through the bar, to see what the boast looked like. I was disappointed it was just a shell, but that proved to be a learning experience. I can't remember when we stopped eating there as a family. I was hoping when I visited this page that someone would have a pic of the restaurant with the ship's bow on the front.


    19 Sep 23 at 3:38 pm

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