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Spinnaker's Restaurant, Columbiana Centre: mid-2000s   13 comments

Posted at 12:42 am in historic,restaurants

Spinnaker's was at one time a fairly popular casual dining restaurant along the lines of Bennigan's or TGI Friday's. To differentiate themselves from the casual pack, they had two branding gimmicks.

First, they would generally locate as part of a mall rather than in a free-standing building, and second, they would bake the complimentary table bread in a glazed terra-cotta flower pot and bring it still in the hot pot to your table.

When I started working in Augusta, Regency Mall was already on the way down, and Augusta Mall was in its prime with a Spinnaker's on the Rich's side of the mall. On the Grand Strand, Spinnaker's had locations at both Briarcliff Mall (now Myrtle Beach Mall) and Inlet Square. In fact, I blame the loss of Spinnaker's at Inlet Square for the start of that unhappy mall's long (and continuing) downward spiral as the space was never re-leased.

The Inlet Square closing was the first one I noticed for Spinnaker's, and my memory is that it was fairly early on, perhaps in the early 90s. After that, it seemed as though every time I drove by a former location, it was gone. I believe the Briarcliff location closed next, followed by the Augusta one. According to The State's archives, this location at Columbiana Centre was open as recently as November 2001. At least one location was open as recently as November 2009 (picture also here). I'm thinking that one lived on as a legacy on the strength of the local operators as I can't seem to find any corporate site for the chain.

While I don't know why Spinnaker's went into decline, I can only say that I personally found it rather average. In particular, I recall two things: The French Onion Soup was chicken based rather than beef based, making it distinctly sub-standard in my opinion, and the Flower Pot Bread was a better concept than actuality as it tended to stick to the pot giving you a mangled loaf when you tried to get it out and was actually a very bland and uninspired recipie.

Until quite recently, the interior mall corridor at Columbia Centre still had the doors into the vacant Spinnaker's space. Within the last year, they have covered the whole facade over with a mural of a walking girl sporting Rapunzel hair and vending machines.

UPDATE 2 March 2010 -- Here's the empty Spinnaker's spot in Inlet Square Mall in Murrells Inlet:

UPDATE 26 march 2010: Changed closing date to "mid-2000s" based on comments.

Written by ted on March 2nd, 2010

13 Responses to 'Spinnaker's Restaurant, Columbiana Centre: mid-2000s'

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  1. Doing a Google search I found that the chain is still alive but found no corporate office either.

    A story I heard was that around the mall's 10th anniversary they started jacking up rents and a number of businesses, including this one, decided to leave than ante up. At one time ther was a rumor that TGIF Fridays was going to take over this site, but obviously that has not happen.

    Tom

    2 Mar 10 at 8:45 am

  2. I think that the Spinnaker was open as late as 2006.

    Also, back in the early 1980s, I think one of the buildings across from Richland Mall was called "The Spinnaker," but I always assumed that it was just some local business. It might have been in the same building where "Sir George's" was.

    badger

    2 Mar 10 at 9:24 am

  3. I ate there once and found it to be dirty. I think there may have been a bug or two crawling around my table also. The staff was un-attentive. The food was average so we never went back. I ate there in 03. Not sure when it closed.

    Mr Bill

    2 Mar 10 at 12:10 pm

  4. This place's heyday was in the mid-1990s... I think it went downhill before 2000.

    I'm surprised this space has ever been leased. A Fridays would be great.

    Brian

    3 Mar 10 at 10:56 pm

  5. I agree with Mr Bill. I ate at Spinnakers once in the Columbiana Centre in the late 90s. Horrid. Dirty. Bad service. Poorly prepared food using average at best recipes. And, just to be sure, dirty. Dirty floor. Dirty tables. Dirty seats. Awful.

    Mitch

    5 Mar 10 at 10:18 am

  6. Overpriced beverages were available at this location until at least 2005 as some of my coworkers used to drag me there for after-work drinks.

    Brian M

    26 Mar 10 at 10:22 am

  7. Thanks, I'll update the post title to mid-2000s..

    ted

    26 Mar 10 at 12:03 pm

  8. it also had several incidences with bug infestations and several mice were seen and found in the restaurant. the owner Jason was smart to get out when he could before worse happened. I hope he hasn't opened another one somewhere else because I feel for the people there as dirty as this place was the kitchen was way worse.

    bill

    10 May 10 at 6:58 am

  9. The Asian restaurant that used to be across the hall from this has closed

    Andrew

    31 May 10 at 5:29 pm

  10. I have to agree with some of the above comments. The last time I ate at this Spinnakers, The food and service were terrrible. The bread had a big chunk of mold growing on it, and the baked potato that I got was half rotten. The place was filthy, and the wait staff acted like they had no idea that the place was terrible. That's if you could ever track a waiter/waitress down. I could never figure out where they would disappear to, as the restaurant was not that big. Smoke breaks outside, maybe? Anyways, the place was a dump.

    Cameron

    16 Jun 10 at 10:41 am

  11. I ate at the Spinnakers in Knoxville (West Town Mall) and loved it, the food was great and they gave you a ton of choices, I have not been able to find it anywhere else and hate it. If nothing else I wish I could get the receipes.

    turtle111

    12 Apr 11 at 6:35 pm

  12. earlier this week, I saw signs that folks might be working on this site in preparation of something new opening in it (but no signs of what would open)...I think I'd like to see California Pizza Kitchen or TGI Friday's

    Andrew

    17 Oct 12 at 11:12 pm

  13. This old spinnakers space at Columbiana is now used as tenant storage spaces. The original neon is still hanging in the doorway (and it still works) and the original tiling (the blue with yellow) is still intact in the main dining/bar area. The mall shows it to potential buyers quite regularly, but to no avail because that space needs A LOT of work for it to function as any business.

    Caroline

    9 Dec 12 at 10:33 am

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