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Edna's #1, 3609 River Drive: 31 March 2016   31 comments

Posted at 12:20 am in closing

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Well, this is the end of an era. Edna's on River Drive predates me into this world by something over a year, so has been a Columbia institution longer than I've been alive. Of course, it has been an institution in a part of the town we used to think of as far away, so if we ever ate here growing up, it was long enough ago, and infrequently enough that I can't remember it. I'll have to try to remedy that before 31 March.

This kind of walk-up, no inside dining restaurant used to be common. In fact that's the way I recall Bell's and the original Garners Ferry McDonald's. Nowdays it is much less common, though you can still see remnants of the style, now worked around, in Zesto and Dairy Bar. I love the common-sense practicality of the cement blocks shorter customers can stand on to bring them up to window level.

Edna's also had an affiliated located at 2200 Two Notch Road, in a building that is still there, and a third location off Forest Drive, which was razed some years ago.

Here is a nice appreciation of Marie Rose Tyner, who ran the restaurant for many years and passed in the summer of 2015.

Here are a few pictures I took of Edna's in operation on 27 June 2009:

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Here are some taken 6 March 2016. I was surprised at the large areas of green right around the restaurant:

The whole photoset is here.

And here are a number of images contributed by commenter Homer:

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UPDATE 21 March 2016 -- Finally made my first visit to Edna's as a customer on Saturday. It was the wrong time for a meal, but I picked up a milkshake, and it was pretty tasty. I wouldn't say the place was crowded, but there were people in and out the whole time I was there:

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UPDATE 4 May 2016 -- Here are some post-closing pix from 17 April 2016. Kinda sad:

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Written by ted on March 7th, 2016

Tagged with , , , , ,

31 Responses to 'Edna's #1, 3609 River Drive: 31 March 2016'

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  1. How heartbreaking. Edna was my Granny.
    Many memories of joining her at work while
    My own mother worked full time at Ricland Memorial Hospital.
    I used to hide in the small space under the fryer.
    I liked my cheeseburger with mustard ketchup and
    Pickle only.
    I was a 6 yr old.
    Later my very first job was making hot dogs.
    I can still remember how to wrap them Ednas way in
    my sleep.
    I miss her so.
    Nothing lasts forever.
    Thankful for my Granny and all those wonderful
    memories.
    Thankfully they will last forevet.....
    Miss you Granny ( Edna )
    Xo
    Little One

    Donita Bailey

    8 Mar 16 at 5:27 pm

  2. It's sad that no one else in the family is able to take up the torch and keep this Columbia fixture in business.

    I went there for lunch two weeks ago and even though I was there relatively late (1:30) there was a steady stream of customers in and out. I have plans to got at least two more times before the closing day. As everyone on here knows, I'll be in mourning on April 1st.

    Homer

    8 Mar 16 at 11:19 pm

  3. @Donita - wonderful memories, I'm sure. Your Grandmother was one of a kind!!

    Homer

    8 Mar 16 at 11:20 pm

  4. There were actually 4 Ednas.
    One was located beside the old Cola Blowfish
    Baseball stadium. Long since torn down.
    My grandmother let her first husband Willie run it.
    It did not stay open but a few years.
    Edna was one of a kind.
    She taught me many things. Hard work and honest living is honorable.
    After she passed things got technical with the restaurant.
    Im sure some family would want to continue
    to keep Ednas legacy going.
    As before my granny passed my mother said
    the business was the best since that location had opened.
    By the way the concret blocks that are in place at the order window
    were placed there buy Ednas father Pop Pelfrey.
    The original chilli recipe is Ednas mothers Bertha Pelfrey.
    Ednas was indeed a family operated institution.

    Donita Bailey

    9 Mar 16 at 6:56 am

  5. I never knew there was a 4th Edna's. That's news to me. It would be great if someone outside the family would be interested in keeping this institution in business.

    Homer

    9 Mar 16 at 11:01 am

  6. One can only hope....
    It is totally out of my hands.
    Love the photos....
    Thank you...

    Donita Bailey

    9 Mar 16 at 12:48 pm

  7. I do think Family owned is a good talking point for some businesses out there but one of the pitfalls is that when the ownership is ready to retire, no one else in the family is fit to take it over and so the business fades off into the sunset...Edna's is a good example and the one that sticks out to me the most (prior to this transcribing) is Lourie's...

    Andrew

    10 Mar 16 at 12:00 am

  8. Man, this is sad. My great aunt used to take me there when I was a kid. She actually knew Edna! If you're old enough, you may have also eaten at Deke's. It was a similar place, on Sumter Street behind the old Tapp's store. Deke Coosa was a really nice guy. There was another place, whose name I've forgotten, across the river on US1. It was on the left if you were headed into West Columbia, more or less across from the current Goodwill location. I had lunch there with a friend the last week it was open.

    Mike

    10 Mar 16 at 3:42 am

  9. A couple of co-workers went to Edna's today for lunch and said that people wee lined up at the window. I'm going with a friend tomorrow so I'll post our experience tomorrow.

    There used to be a hamburger joint in West Columbia that was named Ed's. They had some great hamburgers as well.
    When they closed people were lined up to get in, me included.

    Homer

    10 Mar 16 at 10:21 pm

  10. HELP SAVE EDNA'S FROM CLOSING FOR EVER!! GO TO MYEVENT.COM/EDNASRESTAURANT TO HELP THE WORKERS AND MY FATHER KEEP THE BUSINESS OPEN AND BRING IT UP TO THE NEW STANDARDS. WE ARE TRYING TO KEEP THIS LANDMARK SITE OPEN!!

    Rachel

    10 Mar 16 at 10:51 pm

  11. I am glad to see someone trying to save Edna's. The message for the fundraiser is also on their Facebook page. I hope they can make it!!

    Homer

    11 Mar 16 at 12:26 am

  12. Story in The State today on the drive to save Edna's.

    ted

    11 Mar 16 at 2:14 pm

  13. I went there today for lunch and there was probably around 30 poeple waiting in line for service and a steady stream while we were eating. WIS'-TV was there as well. I contriuted to the fund last night and I hope that anyone else that loves the place will do the same if they can!!!

    Homer

    11 Mar 16 at 4:26 pm

  14. My wife and I went there yesterday (Friday) for lunch and it was packed. It was a long wait but worth it, great as always. Will definitely be hitting it up a few more times before the end of the month.

    Justin

    12 Mar 16 at 1:59 pm

  15. WIS ran an article today stating that Edna's is closing for a variety of reasons and discouraging people from donating to a fundraiser site that came about to keep the doors open...

    I wasn't holding hope that a fundraiser site like this would help as I remember similar efforts emerging when S&S closed at Richland Mall several years ago but the were ultimately unsuccessful so I can't say I'm surprised...

    Andrew

    13 Mar 16 at 6:10 pm

  16. Life is unexpected. You can plan for the future.
    But fate intervenes and what you wanted isnt what
    always happens.
    There is more to this story.But its not my place to
    let it be known.
    Ednas is not dying.
    Ednas is not dead.
    The restaurant will remain in the momories of those that
    ate there.
    And worked there.
    And the family that grew up there.
    I hate it more than you know.
    My mom was a ten year old when my Granny started that business.
    Now she and Edna are gone.Raymond too.
    Glad I have all those handwritten recipes from Edna.....
    Everytime I use them I m thankful and feel her love and
    presence.
    No one can take that away......

    Donita Bailey

    13 Mar 16 at 7:45 pm

  17. There was a clarification posted on Edna's Facebook page today. The current Edna's WILL close on March 31st. They have lost the access to the building and grounds. The fundraiser seems to be a tool to help members of the family that want to keep the legacy going to open a restaurant in memory of Edna & Raymond Schumpert and Marie Tyner.

    If this ever does come to fruition I can only recall a comment made when Rockaway's re-opened after their fire years ago. The burgers just don't taste the same cooked on new equipment....

    Homer

    14 Mar 16 at 1:16 am

  18. I dont know for certain but my mom told me before she
    passed in 2008 that the City of Cola had wanted to
    widen the road and put in a beautification project for
    that particular area of River Drive....
    Marie was the backbone to keeping Ednas going. She left us too soon. I agree with Homer .
    It wont be the same.

    Donita Bailey

    14 Mar 16 at 7:52 am

  19. Wasn't there another Ednas on Forrest drive? A couple blocks east of Providence hospital (I think there's a CVS there now) They served the same foods and had paintings on the wall done by the owner. I think the side of the building also said "Wade 'n Bills"

    MrBO

    15 Mar 16 at 6:01 am

  20. I only recently learned of Edna's due to my wife getting allergy shots near the hospital. Sorry to see it go.

    Scott

    15 Mar 16 at 3:25 pm

  21. Yes.
    There was the one on Forest Dr and Pinehurst.
    When it first opened Edna offered a meat and three or more
    Veggies during lunch.
    Along with grill to order food.
    I know as I helped during summer break while in school.
    There were many paintings done by Raymond displayed
    throughout the restaurant.
    He even painted at easel behind the bar duting slow
    evening times.
    Eventuality Edna gave up the meat and three because she
    decided she rather go tp Wateree River and fish all night.
    I was often her partner along with Ann Johnson whom
    was Ednas employee and long time best friend.
    I forget when but there was a nigjt time robbery at that
    location during closing and a shootout between Raymond
    and robber occurred in parking lot.
    Soon after Edna and Raymond decided to let
    that location go.
    One other note of interest perhaps. James Dickey was a frequent
    visitor and patron of Ednas...
    Along with many politicians and state senators........

    Donita Bailey

    15 Mar 16 at 5:30 pm

  22. I remember the one off Forest Drive. I think it was about where the CVS is now (somewhat behind it I beieve). I wish I had taken some pictures there. I meant too the second time I went, but it was closed that day. The paintings combined two subjects not usually associated with each other.

    ted

    16 Mar 16 at 12:02 am

  23. Went back today for lunch and it was crazier than last week. There were so many people crowded around that little building that it took them an hour to fill my order!! Going back tomorrow to get one last Edna burger for my Mom. It should really be nuts!!

    Homer

    19 Mar 16 at 12:33 am

  24. Edna's Saturday update:

    It wasn't that bad this afternoon. There were only about 10 people congregated around the building but they were placing big orders. 9 hot dogs here, 5 burgers there. A guy in front of me ordered a BACON DOUBLE CHILI CHEESEBURGER. I could immediately feel my arteries closing up. But, on the way home I thought to myself what the hell. I'm gonna get one Thursday. After all, it's the last burger I ever have from there!!

    Homer

    20 Mar 16 at 3:05 am

  25. Got our last meal there yesterday for lunch, I went at 2PM and it wasn't bad at all, took about 15 mins to get my food but right after I ordered they got a bit of a late lunch rush.

    Justin

    25 Mar 16 at 12:07 pm

  26. I got my Edna's experience under my belt yesterday and there were plenty of people looking to get an experience in as well (but I was finished by the time Justin arrived)...but I enjoyed my double cheeseburger basket...

    Andrew

    25 Mar 16 at 1:31 pm

  27. In case anyone hasn't seen it there is an articles in this weeks Free Times about the closing. Here's the link.....

    http://www.free-times.com/restaurants/the-end-of-an-era-remembering-ednas-032316

    Homer

    28 Mar 16 at 12:54 am

  28. R.I.P. Edna's

    I went with a friend from work today for one last lunch and it was totally insane! There must have been between 50 and 75 people mingled around the building either waiting to order or waiting for pickup.

    Several people were ordering for groups so there were orders like 5 cheeseburger baskets and 6 hot dogs; thing like that.

    We left work at 1:00 hoping to be part of the 'late' lunch. Surprise!! We got there (after parking in a vacant lot up the street) around 1:20. Placed our order around 1:40 and got our food at ----- 2:30. We had to wolf it down so we could, hopefully, get back to work before anybody noticed we were gone. BTW - we got back to work at 3:15.

    Gonna miss the place. About the only joint that comes close (but not by a long shot) is Whataburger on Meeting St. in W. Cola. But that's not even a road trip I'm willing to take for lunch coming from Alpine Rd. At least Angelo's is still open on N. Main. That will probably become one of our lunch stops now.

    Here is a link to an article that was in The State yesterday:
    http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article69131282.html

    I'll post another comment with a link to some pictures as well.....

    Homer

    1 Apr 16 at 1:23 am

  29. Here's the link to the pictures from The State:
    http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article69120447.html

    Homer

    1 Apr 16 at 1:23 am

  30. Sad to see this place finally close. I did get in about 5 lunches in March so at least there's that. I've never been to Anthony's, will have to check that out.

    Justin

    1 Apr 16 at 11:11 am

  31. Opps, I misread, Angelo's, never been there either!

    Justin

    1 Apr 16 at 11:12 am

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