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Annabelle's, Columbia Mall & Dutch Square: 1990s   40 comments

Posted at 11:44 pm in historic,restaurants

Annabelle's was a casual dining restaurant something like a Friday's or Bennigan's which seemed to speciaize in mall locations. I'm not sure if the chain is still around, but the two that were in Columbia are long gone and I'm responsible.

OK, not really, but I did have a one-man boycott going in the mid to late 1980s. I had always enjoyed eating at Annabelle's. I wasn't too interesting when they started a "Chicken Around The World" promotion because I don't eat chicken, but as I was dining there one day, I came across a promotional display on my table. It was a cardboard rectangle with a chicken dish on each of the four sides. As I recall, there was a French dish, and Italian dish, a Mexican dish and a Chinese dish. Each dish was "presented" by a cartoon Chicken designed to represent each country. The French, Italian and Mexican chickens were fine -- they were dressed in costumes meant to invoke each country, but were good looking cartoon chickens. The Chinese chicken had buck teeth and glasses. Perhaps I was over-sensitive since I had just started working in the software field, and a lot of my new friends and co-workers had Asian ancestry, but it seemed to me that the 1980s were way too late for something like that, and that it should be possible to do a Chinese chicken character that was innocuous as the others. I wrote a letter to the company and never heard anything back, and the next time I went in, the table displays were still there, so I took Annabelle's off my list. In retrospect, I'm sure the chain honcos never got my "crank" letter, and that probably the art approval didn't even go up that high in the first place, but there were plenty of other places to eat and I did.

These pictures are of the downstairs of the Columbia Mall location. This location of Annabelle's was interesting in that that it occupied two floors, though only the bottom floor had an entrance. As I recall, there were stairs inside -- I'm unsure if there were an elevator or not. The Dutch Square location was only one floor and was on the main corridor across from the record store coming in from a Dutch Square Boulevard side entrance.

UPDATE 15 August 2009: It is going to read a bit awkwardly, but I am combining the separate post I did (for some reason..) on the Dutch Square Anabelle's by itself with this one. I'll also move those comments here as well. Also, I'm putting the Anabelle's logo as found by commenter Melanie at the top of this post. So here goes:

I've written about Annabelle's before, but I was in Dutch Square recently, and saw the old door, so I decided to give the Dutch Square location its own post. I don't have much to add to what I said initially, but for some reason or other, I think I had more meals with friends at this location than at Columbia Mall. Perhaps it had to do with seeing movies at the original Dutch Square Theater. At any rate, I always thought this copper-sheet doorway was a classy touch!

As far as I know, nothing ever followed Annabelle's into this space.

UPDATE 2 November 2009: Well, the old Annabelle's space at Dutch Square will be getting a new tenant: Burger Time Chargrill & Bar. Good!

UPDATE 18 November 2009: Added two more photos of Burger Time

Written by ted on September 13th, 2008

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40 Responses to 'Annabelle's, Columbia Mall & Dutch Square: 1990s'

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  1. I found Annabelle's too cramped to suit me, but it was wonderful to find a place to sit and have some cold beer while the rest of the family trudged through the mall doing whatever it is people do for hours in malls.

    You could also sit and drink beer in Mr. Dunderbak's but there was no tv there.

    Dennis

    14 Sep 08 at 5:40 am

  2. As a kid, I loved Annabelle's. They had a soft drink for kids called a Sasperilla. No clue what was in it, but it was pretty great.

    I always thought they had the best themed seating areas too.

    They had a spiral staircase that led from the ground floor up to the bar area, but eventually it was closed with a chain. Maybe somebody had a few too many before trying to negotiate it.

    They actually had 3 staircases, which even as a kid I found odd.

    This Annabelle's was replaced with a Sam Goody, where I worked. It was called Muisicland, before being moved downstairs to this location.

    Ken

    14 Sep 08 at 9:58 pm

  3. I've always heard of Sarsaparilla as an "antique" soft drink, such as you might have found in the Wild West. Wikipedia says the term Sarsaparilla can be used interchangeably with "root beer", though I don't think I agree with that. Anyway, I think you can still get it. (And though it doesn't contain any sarsaparilla root, if you haven't tried Virgil's Root Beer, you should -- it's great stuff! Available at Earth Fare).

    ted

    15 Sep 08 at 12:31 am

  4. There was also an Annabelle's in Greenville, NC that closed up suddenly in the late ninties while I was living there (same logo, same type of eatery). A little Googling found that the Wilmington, NC-based holding company H.T. Restaurants went belly-up in 1998:

    http://bankrupt.com/TCR_Public/980410.MBX

    A little extra digging found an article from 1985 showing Campbell's used to own a company called H.T. McDoogal's, which owned Annabelle's at the time. The "H.T." hints that it's the same company, just given a name-update:

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3190/is_v19/ai_3772206

    J.P.

    17 Sep 08 at 5:15 pm

  5. Interesting articles. Campbell's probably should stick to soup..

    ted

    17 Sep 08 at 5:47 pm

  6. Annabelle's at Dutch Square was actually on two floors -- at least when I was going there in the late 80s/early 90s. It had an interior staircase just behind the salad bar area.

    All I remember about the place was the fried cheesecake -- ah, the things you could eat as a teenager... :)

    Brian

    24 Sep 08 at 4:39 pm

  7. I used to work at the Annabelles in the Columbia Mall. It was a super fun place to work and the money was pretty decent too. I had a GM named Ed McDermott. The assistant was Randy Alford. I had a great time working there and met e group of friends i will remember to this day.

    Jeff

    24 Nov 08 at 7:45 pm

  8. If memory serves me, this place had a different name, Tuesday's 1865, I believe it was. This is back around 1978-1980.

    Swampy Bob

    6 Jun 09 at 1:47 am

  9. Hmm. I don't think so. There is such a chain, but I think that, like a lot of chains, it never made it to the Columbia area.

    (Given its size and being the capital and all, you'd expect we would have had a Bennigans, Borders Books, Chi-Chi's, etc, but for some reason: no)

    ted

    6 Jun 09 at 12:16 pm

  10. I am pretty sure there was a Borders briefly at Richland Fashion Mall when the "new" mall first opened in the Bonwitt Teller wing. Like most stores in that wing, it did not last long.

    Thomas

    6 Jun 09 at 4:31 pm

  11. Yup, it was Tuesday's briefly ( maybe '78-'80 as stated earlier) before it was Annabelle's at Columbia Mall for sure. I worked at that mall from '78-'84 and we used to go to Tuesday's after work. There always seemed to be a line to get in. I remember walking by on my way to the Burger King that was down the same hall on the left and it always looked busy. I thought Annabelles was alot better. Good happy hour specials. I think Schiano's Pizza and Chick Filet are the only original resturants left unless you include Picadilly's which has changed names several times. Back then that mall was the place to be. I loved working there back then.

    jjt

    6 Jun 09 at 5:40 pm

  12. I don't think there was a Borders at Richland Fashion Mall. There was a Brentano's, though.

    badger

    6 Jun 09 at 11:03 pm

  13. Yeah, that sounds right. Borders are big, Barnes & Noble sized stores. I actually like them better than B&N, but for some reason they've never come to SC at al that I'm aware of. (And are in big financial trouble now).

    Well, that's two votes for "Tuesdays". I could be wrong -- it won't be the first time!

    ted

    7 Jun 09 at 1:12 am

  14. I worked at Cola. Mall back in the mid 80's and I remember Tuesday's restraunt..it was like a Morrison's from what I remember. Then it turned into Annabell's after that I think. Or was there a Morrison's there too at Columbia Mall? Im not sure now.. it's been too long ago.

    Del

    7 Jun 09 at 9:49 pm

  15. Other Cola. Mall memories are of a small coins/stamps/baseball card store in the middle of Sears (lower level next to the escalator). I would pass by it going to work as I always entered through the entrance to Sears next to the automotive dept. You'd smell the popcorn as soon as you entered from that candy/popcorn counter they had ahead. Later around '83 they moved the coin shop upstairs at the exit into the mall.I also had a friend that worked at the custom leather shop in Sears.Lower level to the left at the exit into the mall next to where Todd And Moore was. Sears also had a buffet restaurant upstairs with a tiny arcade near the entrance. I used to eat lunch there and it was always empty. They had really good food as I remember and I always had time to play a couple video games. Another vivid memory was of the T-Shirt shop next door on the left of Tuesday/Annabelles. They had a air brush artist that used to do incredible work. He specialized in Frazetta art that was all the rage back then. And Spencer gifts with all the gag gifts and all that blacklight stuff in the back. The barking dog, the little train that did the loops, Rubiks cubes and the poster bin out front with whatever the hot poster at the time was. Thanks again Ted for this great site.

    jjt

    7 Jun 09 at 11:26 pm

  16. I remember the Morrison's being there next to Chick fil a. I thought Todd and Moore was near JC Penny.

    I do remember a fancy bookstore at Richland Fashion Mall but don't recall the name. I do recall they left the playboys out on the magazine stands, instead of behind the register, and my friend and I would always go in there and check those out.

    Mr. Bill

    8 Jun 09 at 8:57 am

  17. Yup, the Morrison's (now Picadilly's) was next to Chick Fil A. Originally located on the wing to the right facing JC Penny. There was also a bank branch where we made our store deposits. Don't remember the name. Todd and Moore was on the right facing Sears lower level. There was a Athletic Attic originally then Athletes Foot upstairs next to JC Penny on the left. Schiano's pizza was originally located on the wing to the left of Jc Penny before it moved downstairs in front of Picadilly's. Then all moved to the food court except for Picadilly's.

    jjt

    8 Jun 09 at 12:50 pm

  18. The bank by the Chick-Fila-a was a SCN. There was also a Bankers Trust near the Burger King by the lower Sears entrance.

    Tom

    8 Jun 09 at 3:41 pm

  19. The bookstore at Richland Mall was Brentano's.

    Cary

    8 Jun 09 at 4:03 pm

  20. jjt said "Another vivid memory was of the T-Shirt shop next door on the left of Tuesday/Annabelles. They had a air brush artist that used to do incredible work. He specialized in Frazetta art that was all the rage back then."

    Frank Frazetta was definitely in a world of his own. His album cover and magazine work was always top notch.

    Terry

    9 Jun 09 at 3:59 am

  21. I wonder if we called that number in the photo on the door, if they would let you to take interior photos if anything of the old Annabelles is even still there? Maybe a project for when my kids go to see the grandparents.

    Melanie Gallant

    19 Jul 09 at 7:00 am

  22. About the mid 1990's, when my wife and I were dating, she used to work at the J.B. White's department store. After work, 'round 9 or 10pm, we used to go in there and have dinner. They had the best quiche. Their service was notoriously slow, however. One night, the waitress took our order and left. After somebody else dropped off our food that was it. We dropped a 20 and left. The waitress thought we left w/o paying and came screaming after us in the parking lot. Memories! They just shut down one night and that was it. I heard it was financial problems and other legal issues.

    Stacey

    4 Aug 09 at 1:45 pm

  23. I used to work at Annabelle's in Dutch Square. Great food, memories, a really fun atmosphere! The layout was a bit akward. No elevator. Upstairs was non-smoking & all the smoke from the bar would rise up the open atrium. The bar would flood when it rained hard. Remember having to polish all that brass - ah.. 80's style!

    Ali

    4 Jan 10 at 4:55 pm

  24. Went to Burgertime -- It is great if you like well done burgers from frozen patties - the home stereo was turned up way too loud. -- looks like opened on shoestring-- it appears they spent all of the money on the signage-- Bathrooms were scary - On the plus side they serve Mexican Cokes with real sugar that the waitress says they buy at Sams Club - Gotta love a Rest. that buys its stock at Sams- The owner of BurgerTime also owns 360 Sports Club on Bush River Road and the waitress said if I take my reciept there I can get a dollar off a dozen wings I would keep this on my radar for future closings

    Kc

    7 Jan 10 at 8:27 am

  25. I Went to Burgertime ,, Great Burgers all my topping was fresh ,,, did get the coke and my wife got the old nehi grape...place looks nice..Its appears they spent a lot of money in the inside too...Very nice place in side...Dutch Square needed a place like this.... Good luck burgertime...ps all fresh ground beef..was good ...

    realdeal

    25 Jan 10 at 10:36 pm

  26. Burgertime ...I went.. Good to see somebody reopen the old Annabelle's.
    Great place and great hamburgers to .A very good turkey burger.....will cum back,.... need more light...in the front lobby.......but a very good turkey burger... very clean and new place...

    Foodmazine

    28 Jan 10 at 6:50 pm

  27. I used to work at the Cola Mall Annabelle's during college in the early 90's...had a great time and usually, the $ was good. Especially at Christmas! worked with a lot of really fun people. there's some clothing store there now, but on the rare occasion that I go by, I always remember that downward-sloping entrance, the area immediately to the left that was down a couple of stairs and was where that spiral staircase led from the bar upstairs...the non-smoking area straight ahead that included "the jail" that had 2 tables with jail bars, the great salad bar at the base of the 2 back staircases. there was a cigarette machine back by the bathrooms, and upstairs had all the cozy booths and that neat little area that had that 2-top in that little area that hung over the entrance...table 9-1, or was it 9-4?! had a lot of fun back then! hated to see those restaurants close! fantastic lasagna (which was Stouffer's, by the way!) and cream of broccoli soup that was always a hangover helper and those of us that worked there then came in with our share of those! ahhhh, the glory days of youth! :D

    Adrienne

    17 Feb 10 at 11:33 am

  28. Looks like the 360 Sports Grill on Bush River rd that was associated with Burgertime is closed -- May want to check it out

    Kc

    30 Jun 10 at 7:38 am

  29. Beer and Nachos after work!

    Peter

    5 Aug 11 at 10:33 am

  30. The Columbia mall location was famous for it's lead belly potatoes. Very large baked potatoes with all kinds of stuffings like turkey, cheese broccoli, you name it. I remember it being quiant and romantic for date night.

    Denise

    14 Aug 11 at 10:43 pm

  31. Yup! Used to take my kids there when they were pretty young. Had a great salad or salad bar, if I remember correctly!

    Cindy

    27 Aug 11 at 9:21 am

  32. I worked at the Annabells in Winston Salem, I wastherethe day the IRS closed and chained the doors due to fradulant tax evasion. Great times though I still miss the food. what awasgeemptingthe kegs and liquor with out the games on the tv. Still had fun. By the way hated polishing the bras too, we always used an car buffer cut down on the wax on wax off approach.

    Daniel

    14 Jul 12 at 2:43 am

  33. I worked at the Annabelle's in Hickory NC . It was a two story in the mall as well.
    I loved the shrimp fettucini and the morneys. Oh and the broccoli soup with that huge buttery bread !
    I made the sasaparilla with half sprite, half mello yello with grenadine on top and a cherry.That's all there was to those...=p
    I worked there for years in my early twenties. Made decent money. Worked with alot of cool people and had a great time. I miss it. To this day it is still a great memory...
    One day they just started running out of food to serve and within a few days they shut down. Everyone who worked the last few days took something to remember the place by, and I still have a mug with the Annabelle's logo on it!
    Sometimes I even miss the brass! LOL
    There is one Annabelle's left. It is in a mall in New Bern, NC if anyone misses it. It has the classic Annabelle's look....And you can still get the fried mushrooms with that yummy sauce! I am lucky that family lives there so, I always stop when I get that way...

    joy

    2 Sep 12 at 1:14 am

  34. There used to be an Annabelle's in Va Beach at Pembroke Mall when I was growing up and the place was awesome for about the 1st ten years. It had the same two story design other people have mentioned with the bar downstairs with seating on either side, and then more seating on the 2nd floor plus a salad bar.

    The last 4-5 it really went downhill. Portion sizes changed, the things that made it unique like the metal plates and mason jar glasses were replaced with regular restaurant stock, etc... Used to love their bacon cheeseburgers and 'Lead Belly' stuffed potatoes.

    The one thing I do remember when they closed was that they said the Pembroke Mall Annabelle's was profitable, however the location was to far out on their footprint after a bunch of closures. So they closed our location too. Which is to bad. I miss it.

    Joe

    30 Sep 12 at 9:23 am

  35. I have a giant mug from there as well from when they used to have Wing nights in the early 90's. It's on my desk full of change. I'd post a picture but don't see an option.

    Joe

    30 Sep 12 at 9:25 am

  36. I should have read more before I posted.... The Pembroke Mall Annabelle's was also a Tuesday's for about a year too.

    Joe

    30 Sep 12 at 9:30 am

  37. Here's another bit from my local paper the Virginian Pilot.

    ANNABELLE'S AT PEMBROKE SHUTS DOORS WITHOUT NOTICE SHOCKED AND ANGRY WORKERS WONDER WHAT'S NEXT.(LOCAL) - April 4th, 1998

    http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-68467242.html

    Joe

    30 Sep 12 at 10:10 am

  38. Used to work at Annabelle's Cola mall in late 80s. Had a blast drinking with the crew afterwards at Keg O'Nails. Used to raid the freezer and fill apron pockets with fried cheese and potato skins to cook at home! (Shhhh!) McDermott, Lisa ???, Miss "Cross". Great times.

    Scott

    13 Nov 12 at 11:44 pm

  39. I believe Annabelle's also had an Eastland Mall location in Charlotte. I remember eating there in the 80s 90s a lot. I;d always get the bacon cheese burger and fries. It was across from the movie theater near the entrance that was in the parking garage. I miss both Annabelle's and Eastland Mall.

    Joe Hinson

    27 Feb 13 at 4:53 pm

  40. I used to go to the Hickory one all of the time as a kid. the Sarsaparilla was my favorite. Glad to see a post here about how to make it finally. I still have and wear a sweatshirt from there that is white with the logo on it. My brother had given it to my great grandmother. I can't remember if he worked there in the early 90s, or if he was dating someone that worked there...

    Katie

    29 Sep 13 at 11:29 pm

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