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Dobbs House / Steak 'n Egg Kitchen, 4835 Forest Drive: 1970s   6 comments

Posted at 11:22 pm in historic,restaurants

The Steak 'n Egg Kitchen was in this building on the bank of Gills Creek across the street from Trenholm Plaza and in front of Forest Lake Park. Commenter Lisa B's parents ran the restaurant (and another in Cayce), and she has an interesting rememberance here.

What I remember about the place is that it had a counter fitted with round, floor-mounted, stools on which a kid could twirl for as long as a parent could stand it and unpadded booths, like at the Waffle House or Huddle House lining the outside walls. I don't remember much about the menu, though I think it inclined towards hearty breakfast and lunch fare, but I do remember one item in particular. We didn't get to go there often (and in fact generally ate only one meal a week 'out'), but when we did, I had to have "Black Bottom Pie". I don't remember what was inside the chocolate cracker crust, but whatever it was, it was good! I think it's rather interesting that with the Steak 'n Egg Kitchen, there were at least three lunch counter operations in this block of Forest Drive. The other two were Liggett's Drugstore (later Ligget Rexall) at Trenholm Plaza and Campbell's Drug Store at the other end of Forest Lake Shopping Center. All three are gone now..

I'm not sure how long the Steak 'n Egg Kitchen lasted, but I'm pretty sure it was gone by the time I started college in 1980, and think it was in fact several years before that. This article from 1987 says that the chain still had 130 units then, but that it was troubled and that the new owners were attempting a turnaround. I don't find a corporate web site, so I'm guessing it didn't work. Anyway, after Steak 'n Egg Kitchen closed, another restaurant set up shop briefly in the building (which was remodelled). I can't recall the name of the place, but I got the impression that it was family run, and it had home-made raw fries. I think there was a non-retail business after that, perhaps an insurance office or some such and then the current tenants arrived and split the building. I've bought brandy & rum for cooking from the liquor store, but I don't know anything about the other two outfits. At any rate, none of them have Black Bottom Pie..

UPDATE 30 Jan 09:

Here's the old Harden Street location (mentioned in the comments). It's now El Burrito.

UPDATE 14 July 2012: Added the full street address for the Forest Drive location, and added the "Dobbs House" name to the post title. Also added some tags.

UPDATE 11 October 2013: Here is a great picture of one of the incarnations of this location. Thanks to commenter Dennis for ferreting this out!

Written by ted on October 29th, 2008

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6 Responses to 'Dobbs House / Steak 'n Egg Kitchen, 4835 Forest Drive: 1970s'

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  1. I remember the building being there in the 1960s operating as a restaurant, though I do not remember its name.

    Tom

    30 Oct 08 at 5:49 am

  2. It started out as a "Dobbs House"
    Joanna

    Joanna

    31 Oct 08 at 10:07 pm

  3. Thanks for remembering it's original name, I have not heard it in forever!

    Now that I think about it, wasn't there some other Dobb's houses in Columbia? For some reason I want to say there was one in Cayce and either one Millwood or Devine St?

    Tom

    3 Nov 08 at 11:19 am

  4. ... just off the top of my head...

    Knox Abbot Drive was the main restaurant - in the 500 block, right next to the Lizards Thicket - I think there is a sub shop there now - this was where the city office & commissary were located. I spent many of my youthful summers in the back room watching TV or reading.
    There were also restaurants on Gervias St. (where the TV station now has a parking lot), Taylor St. (across the street from the entrance to the hospital - the block is now a parking deck), the Forest Drive location, and on Harden St... the last time I noticed the Harden St. building, it was still in use as a restaurant/cafe but they had added an outdoor seating section in the front encased with low walls (blue ones from what I remember!) It is in the same block as that nightclub that had an opening to the roof at one time... across the street is the strip mall with the grocery, a hardees, & used to be a record store, Peaches maybe? Just a few blocks down from 5 pts.

    Those were the 5 main stores, there were 2 additional locations at one time, I just can't think of what they were. The stores started out as Dobbs House as Joanna remembered. Unfortunately at some point the stores were sold to a family who bought them more as assets than because they gave a rat's ass about what actually happened with them. When they got bored with them, they sold the Dobbs Houses to another company whose owners had not only never run a restaurant, I don't think they had ever even worked in one!! They began tanking under that co. & the owners quickly palmed them off on the PepsiCo. corporation, who at that time also owned Pizza Hut & one of the big ketchup makers, Heinz maybe? can't remember which. At some point around that same time, the Dobbs Houses in the country got split up... Some were changed to the Steak 'n Egg Kitchen and some were bought & changed over to Huddle Houses. The S'nE K's were upgraded to be a bit higher class family restaurants & the HH's were relaxed to be more casual ones, more along the lines of a family style Waffle House.

    Sorry for the long-windedness - but this is my family history!! Or at least as much as I can remember off the cuff! LOL I'll stop now!

    Lisa B.

    8 Nov 08 at 9:11 pm

  5. Great info, thanks Lisa!

    I guess the 5 points location was what is now El Burrito (and was The Five Points Cafe at one time as well, if memory serves..)

    ted

    8 Nov 08 at 10:24 pm

  6. Drunk students used to play "eat and run" at the Gervais Street location, being that it was fairly close to that side of campus.

    doc

    30 Oct 09 at 9:57 pm

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