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Flaming Pit Restaurant, I-26 & US-378: 1970s   11 comments

Posted at 11:11 pm in Uncategorized

This ad from the 1974 Southern Bell Yellow Pages is similar to other ads for the Flaming Pit that I have seen in that it never gives a real street address for the place. That, and a complete lapse of mind that let me confuse I-20 with I-26 led me to originally post some pictures of what was certainly the wrong building for the place!

We never went to the Flaming Pit, though I seem to remember radio commercials that made it sound like a very exotic place. (I didn't do "exotic"..). I'm not exactly sure what "Open Hearth Charcoal Cookery" is, but combing that with the name of the place, I envision a large central grill in the middle of the dining area (hopefully very well ventilated with charcoal involved..) where your orders were cooked as you watched.

I'm a little surprised that the bar was The Wells Fargo Lounge given that Wells Fargo is, in addition to its evocative history, still around and presumably trademarked..

UPDATE 15 June 2010: Removed incorrect pictures, and corrected the text in which I was completely wrong about the location!

Written by ted on June 14th, 2010

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11 Responses to 'Flaming Pit Restaurant, I-26 & US-378: 1970s'

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  1. I think this was next the the Ramada Inn at 378 & I-26. I definitely remember the Wells Fargo Lounge being there. That yellowpages ad makes it look more stand-alone than it really was.

    E.J.

    15 Jun 10 at 6:05 am

  2. To be honmest I do not remember a Ramada on Bush River Rd. Just the Radisson-nee Shearton and the two that are there now.

    Tom

    15 Jun 10 at 9:29 am

  3. Oops! I read I-26, write down I-26, but *think* I-20!

    So EJ, is that building still there?

    ted

    15 Jun 10 at 10:11 am

  4. No, it's gone. I can't remember if they tore it down when they revamped the interchange, or if they tore it down recently and built a new hotel on virtually the same spot.

    E.J.

    15 Jun 10 at 8:47 pm

  5. If it is the Ramada by Lexington Medical Center, then it was later renamed "The Plantation Room" and still had it when the motel lost its Ramada affiliation.

    Tom

    15 Jun 10 at 10:20 pm

  6. The restaurant in the basement of the Main St. Belk's was called The Plantation Room. Always busy and good, but it never achieved Tapp's basement restaurant's fame. Does anyone know what the one at Tapp's was actually named? or, while we're at it, does anyone remember the little restaurant in the basement of Davidson's?

    Dennis

    16 Jun 10 at 5:50 am

  7. The FP was a bit before my rambling days. I'm sure it's been thru various incarnations since but I best remember it from about 10 yrs ago. Maybe it was 'Plantation Room' coincidentally? It had the best buffet lunch/dinner featuring things one usually doesn't see like, leeks, rutabaga, fresh turnip greens with real chunks! Not the dice-cubes out of a can. Oh, and some of the best lamb I've ever had. Anyway, they were doing great business circa the late 90s early 2000s. Then he expanded to take over the old steak restaurant in Lex. near Hess at 378 & Hwy. 6 junction. I guess he got over-extended & couldn't pay his vendors. Whatever the reason, he folded. Now the only thing comparable is Hudson's.

    John R

    16 Jun 10 at 9:13 am

  8. Dennis, wasn't the one at Tapps, the Fountain Room?

    ted

    16 Jun 10 at 1:13 pm

  9. The Penny's at Columbia Mall originally had a small restaurant as did both Whites.

    I remeber going to the Plantation Room at Belk's. It had a dark wood interior and b/w photos of SC plantations. Models would walk around during lunch wearing and showing off the latest fashions.

    Tom

    16 Jun 10 at 4:08 pm

  10. I remember Flaming Pit. I worked there in the mid 1970's. It was one of my most memorable jobs.

    Jackie Payne

    13 Apr 14 at 9:57 pm

  11. Worked there in the early 80s. The restaurant was The Flaming Pit. There was no charcoal cooking. That either never existed or had been replaced. They made you work off the clock, and most of the staff was replaced over time by work release prisoners. They had an attached "piano lounge" with a cocktail waitress (just one) who would sing "Paper Roses" several times a night. Otherwise it was some old guy in a Hawaiian shirt playing easy listening junk. The restaurant and hotel was franchise owned. They went through 5 or 6 managers in a year. They once tried to save money by not having the "honey wagon" come and pump out the septic tank. This resulted in raw sewage backing up through the drains in the kitchen. If you refused to work off the clock, you'd be fired. I once was eligible for a raise and the manager told me he was going to do me a favor and not give me one because I'd be put in a higher tax bracket. That was a lie of course and i said i couldn't be in a higher bracket because that didn't kick in until one reached $36,251. He called me a smart-a** little so and so. Eventually the poor management caught up with them and Ramada and The Flaming Pit yanked their franchise. The restaurant then changed it's name to The Plantation. I think the damage had already been done. The restaurant was bulldozed to the ground as well as part of the motel. New buildings were put up. and it became a Holiday Inn. I have no reason to believe the old owners have anything to do with the new owners and is an altogether different operation. It's official address is 110 McSwain Dr West Columbia, SC 29169

    Dave

    24 Mar 15 at 11:38 am

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