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Applebee's, 245 O'Neil Court: 12 March 2017   12 comments

Posted at 11:49 pm in closing

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I like Applebee's pretty well. For a late night burger, it's one of the better options, and they usually actually cook them "well done" when I ask.

We used to go to this particular Applebee's store fairly frequently for Sunday lunch years ago. Then there was a period where it had a 'B' or 'C' rating and fell off our list. They fixed that, but we had mostly moved on. The last time I can specifically recall eating here, was during one of the most torrential downpours I had ever seen. We asked for, and got, permission to leave through the side door as it was much closer to the car.

Speaking of rains, I believe this store was badly beset by the October 2015 flood, so it rather surprises me that they have closed it after recently putting so much money into it to get it open again. According to the note on the door, which I will post when I get my daytime pictures uploaded, this store has the same ownership as the one out Two Notch towards Sparkleberry (and which I eat at probably once a month or so) and the one on Killian Road, and those are still open.

Appropos to none of this, specifically, one of the more funny and surreal dining experiences I ever had was at an Applebee's in Florence when the kitchen had stopped talking to the servers and only the bartender was on speaking terms with both sides and ended up passing orders and tense communications back and forth.

(Hat tip to commenter JB2)

UPDATE 21 March 2017 -- As mentioned, the daylight pix:

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Written by ted on March 20th, 2017

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12 Responses to 'Applebee's, 245 O'Neil Court: 12 March 2017'

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  1. This was THE SPOT for me and my friends back in the mid to late 90's when it was still okay to smoke indoors, which I hated. We would always sit at the bar and my friends would always sit on the side where the smoke would not blow my way. I'm glad they came out the clean indoor air act but I am pretty sure that a lot of restaurants lost a lot of business because of it. I saw a huge decline at the Spring Valley Applebee's when the law went into effect.

    Anyway, my last time going in there was this past fall. I always sit at the bar because you always get faster service at the bar. Plus I drink no matter what time of day it is. I picked up my son from Midlands Tech and on the way home we stopped at this Applebee's. As we were getting ready to sit at the bar, the bartender asked my son how old he was and he replied 17. She (the bartender) said that he could not sit at the bar. She said it was a state law. I flat out told her that that was a lie because my kids sit with me at the bar all the time, no matter what restaurant. Then she proceeds to say it was an Applebee's rule. Once again, I told her she was lying because we do it all the time at the Spring Valley one. Then she proceeds once again and said well, it's our manager's rule. I said, you know what, you missed out on a 25% tip. We left, went to Spring Valley and told April (the bartender) about it and she laughed and said it is NOT their rule. So in a way, because of my last experience, I'm glad they closed down.

    Sidney

    21 Mar 17 at 9:41 am

  2. It's crazy if you think about it. Now there are 3 restaurants in the Northeast area that have closed down in the past 2 months. Applebee's, O'Charley's, and Quaker Steak. I'm hoping they bring a Twin Peaks to the old O'Charley's place.

    Anyone who knows restaurant business knows that most of your money comes from the bar. The markup on drinks is way more, percentage wise, than food. O'Charley's had a small bar, it was dark and very uninviting. The few times I went in there to drink, I never had good service. With Quaker Steak, they were just in a bad location. Applebee's, obviously from my above post, they didn't understand that concept.

    Applebee's Spring Valley used to be great when Nicole was bartender. She would talk to everyone. She knew everyone and everyone knew her. Any bar with a bartender that has a great personality, is half way decent looking and keeps the customers as priority number 1, will thrive. Whitney at Twin Peaks is a great bartender as well. Good looking, nice personality, remembers me and my son. Same with the young lady at Wild Wing Cafe in the Vista (she used to work in Sandhills). She remembers me and my drink and has a great personality and a beautiful smile.

    So if you are going to start a bar, there's some good advice right there to make it successful.

    Sidney

    21 Mar 17 at 9:54 am

  3. It seems from talking with a good many peeps that I knew growing up on the NE side of town, that many GEN Xers have moved to either Lexington, or Chapin to raise their families if they stayed around the Columbia area. Has anyone here seen that migration over the last 20yrs?

    palmettoconnection

    21 Mar 17 at 1:17 pm

  4. I know a few people who have moved out that way. My kids mother has said over and over that we should move out there also. But I'm not ready for that. My family, 3 sisters and mother are on the NE side of town. And I bought my house right before the housing bust, so the value of my house is still $20,000 below what I paid for it.

    Sidney

    21 Mar 17 at 3:03 pm

  5. I will use this one entry to reply to several of the above...

    If you want to eat at a restaurant's bar with your kids, don't go to the new Dave and Buster's at Columbiana. They do have that rule, which may surprise you given the video games.

    Carrabba's is another recent closure in the area.

    NE Columbia is increasing in population, not losing people. Blythewood has a number of new or expanding subdivisions. The Clemson Road area has so many houses they have traffic issues, hence the widening of I-77 to 8 lanes. For every closure there is (at least) 1 new restaurant. But note the closures are mostly "casual" restaurants, with the new ones "fast casual" (Freddy's, Smashburger being built) or fast food. This is a nationwide trend.

    Bobby

    21 Mar 17 at 3:23 pm

  6. Oh I meant to add this. I only sit at the bar with my kids when it is not busy. I know bartenders make their money off of the alcoholics like me. So if it's busy, I won't take that away from them with my kids taking 2 or 3 potential customer seats.

    Once again about Carrabba's. Location, location, location. Because of it's location, I forgot about that one. lol.

    Sidney

    21 Mar 17 at 4:57 pm

  7. @Sidney - It takes a man to make a comment like the one you did about sitting at the bar. Bartenders make their tips off alcoholics like me as well. It can be hard to admit that for some.
    But if you can say it, I'm with you buddy.
    My wife calls me a functioning alcoholic.
    She is not complimenting me.

    Rick

    21 Mar 17 at 5:20 pm

  8. @Rick - It was bad a few years ago, 2014 and back. Then I got a DUI and quit drinking for a year and a half. I didn't have a single drop of alcohol for 17.5 months, from July 14th, 2014 - December 31st 2015. Then I started up again on January 1st, 2016. Although I may drink every night like I did before the DUI, it's mainly in the house now. I used to know a lot of bartenders and managers in the Northeast area and in the Vista. I can barely remember their names now but I knew the ones at SV Applebee's, Quaker Steak, Buffalo Wild Wings, Outback, Texas Roadhouse, when my son worked at Arizona's I knew the bartenders and the managers, Wild Wing Cafe Sandhills, Brixx, Bar Louie's and then Blue Fin, Icy's (Polliwogs), Red Lobster, Andy at Liberty Tap Room, Mark the owner of Blue in the Vista, Juan at Eric's San Jose, everyone at San Jose on Hardscrabble. I had my own business at the time and only worked 3 days a week so I had all the time in the world to drink. I spent a turd load of money in restaurants and bars between 2008-2014.

    IMHO, one of the signs of being an alcoholic is when you get your drink either, on the rocks, straight up or like I do, with just a splash of water. When you start drinking with no soda chaser, you're an alcoholic.

    And now I work 2 blocks from Greenes in the new Innovation Center, so I get my liquor for a whole lot cheaper now. Crown Royal and Jameson 750ml, $19.99.

    My main thing was, anywhere I went, always get to know the bartender and the manager. I would purposely go into a place and ask for the manager just to get to know him/her. I would also tip well every time. Which got me free drinks, shots, food, discounts ALL THE TIME. And when i walked in to anyone of these places, my drink was ready before I got to the bar. I remember standing in Wild Wing Cafe and Denise would look at me, over the 3 people in front of me and have a drink ready for me. "Sid, here you go babe!"

    Sidney

    21 Mar 17 at 10:22 pm

  9. Yum!

    Antionette

    2 May 18 at 6:14 pm

  10. I Wanna Be It A Chuck E Cheese's Pizzeria And Games?

    Antionette

    3 May 18 at 8:30 pm

  11. Somebody Can Make It A Chuck E Cheese's Pizzeria And Cafe Please?

    earvin

    17 May 18 at 1:32 pm

  12. I Mean Games Not Cafe

    earvin

    17 May 18 at 1:33 pm

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