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Gene's Pig & Chick, 831 Harden Street / 2330 North Main / 4510 Devine Street / 300 Blossom Street: 1980s (etc)   31 comments

Posted at 3:44 am in Uncategorized

This is one I've gotten several requests for, but about which I can really say very little -- hopefully some good comments will take up the slack here..

Gene's Pig & Chick was a Five Points landmark for a good part of my life. I'm not sure when the place was established, but it seemed to me that from the very earliest days that I can remember going to Sears on Harden Street, Gene's was there.

Unfortunately, from a point of view of actually having real memories of the place, I was a very picky eater when I was a kid, and I had decided very early in life that I didn't like chicken (I made a partial exception for Campbell's Chicken & Stars soup, though I still tended to pick the chicken pieces out of it) and that I didn't like barbecue. I'm not sure exactly when I made the barbecue "decision", since that wasn't something my mother (or anyone else in the family) made, but the chicken aversion survived a decade -plus campaign by my mother to force me to eat it. Ultimately, she gave up, and even when I was a kid, she knew better than to make one of our infrequent "eating out" trips into an unpleasant experience for both of us.

So the upshot of that is, that whether she would have wanted to stop at Gene's on a Five Points shopping trip or not, we never did.

Still the place was a constance presence, and while I don't remember quite when I found out that it was gone, I do remember being shocked and sad. The original building has long since been torn down, and the lot is now the site of a self-service Shell station, which I have also never been to.

UPDATE 14 March 2009: Added 1963 Yellow Pages Ad

UPDATE 17 June 1020 -- Becky Bailey sends in this photo of the old North Main location:

and writes:

I'm also sending a funky shot of the former Gene's Pig and Chick on N. Main Street. Probably could have defined its orientation a little better. It's near the intersection of Confederate Avenue and N. Main Street, up the street from the former Doug Broom's, and directly across the street from the present It It's Paper. Looks kinda sad, now, but in its day, there was a rooftop studio and lots of action! Doug Broom's, of course was demolished 20 years ago, I'm guessing.

UPDATE 2 Sept 2010: Added the 1970 Yellow Pages ad.

Written by ted on November 23rd, 2008

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31 Responses to 'Gene's Pig & Chick, 831 Harden Street / 2330 North Main / 4510 Devine Street / 300 Blossom Street: 1980s (etc)'

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  1. I just dont remember this place at all..or any of these. I guess I didnt pay attention to them...BUT, I do remember Gene's Hamburgers though..isnt that odd? I wish someone had a picture of this place.


    11 Dec 09 at 1:27 am

  2. I have the same memory problem with this chain as well, however for some reason I seem to vaguely remember the one on Blossom Street because the sign looked just like the one in the phonebook ad.

    What really frustrates me is that somewhere in some closet or attic there is a box full of photographs taken by someone who anticipated the need to photographically archive the places around this town, and we don't have access to them as they rot away in obscurity. I know this sounds like a broken record, but my suggestion is to ask everyone you interact with for photographs. You never know where it will lead until you ask.

    Michael Taylor

    11 Dec 09 at 2:08 am

  3. In the early '70s I had a morning paper route behind the VA Hospital and on Sunday mornings about 6:30 I would stop in for breakfast at the Devine Street Pig N' Chick. I think it was located about where the Burger King is today. Sorry Michael.....I didn't have a reason to photograph the place.


    11 Dec 09 at 7:29 am

  4. Don't feel too bad about not photographing all the old places we go on about here. I bought a brand new Canon AE-1 camera kit from the Jackson Camera store at Richland Mall circa 1981 with some of the earnings I made working at my uncle's garden center, and the guy even loaded the film for me before I left the store. So here I was with a brand new state-of-the-art camera loaded with a full roll of color film and as I walked out into the patio court of the mall I didn't EVEN think about taking a picture. I took the camera to work with me the next day and didn't EVEN think about taking a photograph of my uncles' garden center. When I had lunch at Campbell's Drug Store in the old Forest Lake Shopping Center, I left the camera in a storage desk at work. After all, WHO TAKES PHOTOGRAPHS OF BUILDINGS THAT THEY SEE EVERYDAY!?!?!?!

    Michael Taylor

    11 Dec 09 at 1:17 pm

  5. HAHA..I know what you're saying. But with the digicam, eectrons are cheap and you can fire away.

    I keep saying I'm gonna go take pics of stuff before it is gone. Luckily I got some pics of the olf HoJos before they dragged Cinderella's oah off, and I think I might have some pics of the old Holiday Inn or whatever it was across Knox Abbot.


    11 Dec 09 at 1:22 pm

  6. Yeah, I'd like to think that if I had a digital cameras back in the day I would have actually gone out and photographed the old haunts anticipating that they would be gone one day. My cheapskate nature certainly did play a big part in keeping me from "wasting" film on buildings that I saw everyday. But here I am today with a state-of-the-art DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera and I STILL don't take enough photographs. In my defense though, right now I'm unemployed and don't have enough cash for gas to drive all over bum freak Egypt taking photographs.

    That would be cool if you had some photos of the HoJo and the Holiday Inn on Knox Abbot. I'd be willing to bet you that many people who visit this blog have photographs as well but for some reason it doesn't occur to them that we are waiting for them to post those photographs. Go for it Jamie, don't wait for the photographs to turn to dust!

    Possibly there are people here who have some photographs, but they aren't photographers and the photos aren't that good and they're kind of shy about posting them. I can understand that sentiment, but I would be willing to bet you that not one commenter here on Ted's blog would have the first critique of your photography skills, I know I wouldn't. We're hungry for what's in the image, not your skills or lack thereof. Fear not, I'm pretty sure we'd all be ecstatic to the point of not even noticing that you had the wrong F-stop or aperture setting. Try us.

    Michael Taylor

    11 Dec 09 at 2:18 pm

  7. I remember the "main" Gene's in Five Points -- not from eating there, but because at Bradley Elementary school we finished up the classic playground song "Great big gobs of gooey grimey gopher guts" with the added last line "All served on a plate for a dollar ninety-eight at Gene's Pig 'n Chick.

    You could see Gene's sign all the way from the top of the hill on Harden Street, at the intersection of Gervais. Who remembers Wilson Motors and their fabulous giant-rotating-ball-of-neon-spikes sign?


    14 Dec 09 at 1:36 pm

  8. I absolutely remember the giant neon spiked ball at Wilson Motors - love to have a color photograph of that when the sun was just about down and all the lights were coming on- but for the life of me I don't remember this Genes Pig n' Chick.

    Michael Taylor

    14 Dec 09 at 4:17 pm

  9. I remember that BIG rotating ball over in 5points near Sears. It was a big thing for me as kid to see back in the mid 60's. I wonder whatever happened to it? But I dont remember Gene's Pig and Chick. I remember the Sears Auto store in the parking lot outside of Sears, but dont remember that Pig and Chick. Anyone have pics. of it?


    15 Dec 09 at 10:35 am

  10. Just out of view in the Gene's Pig and Chick post is the current location of Pawleys. It was featured on the Food Network last night. Pawleys is in the same building that used to be The Villa, one of my favorite places when I was in college.


    16 Feb 10 at 1:36 pm

  11. Don't have a post on The Villa yet, but there is one on The Congaree Grill, the operation just before Pawleys Porch, and one on Rising High, the one before that.


    16 Feb 10 at 1:44 pm

  12. OK, I'm really showing my age now! But I remember two Gene's. One on Blossom Street just before the bridge into West Columbia, and the other on North Main Street near Confederate Avenue in what is now beautiful, uptown Eau Claire! Anyway, back i the 60s, both of these locations (along with the famous Doug Brooms Drive in on the corner of North Main Street and Confederate Avenue) broadcast live AM radio from perches atop the buildings. The radio stations were WCOS and WNOK. The DJs were people like Woody Windham and Jeff Flanders. I know there were others, but can't remember them all. When I was a teenager in Eau Claire, we cruised from Doug Brooms to Gene's Pig and Chick to The Varsity (corner of Geiger Street and North Main and now home to Case Plants) to Seawells (now home to a gas station on North Main). Between the Gene's and Doug Brooms we made requests of the DJs: "this one's going out to the lovebirds in the hot 56 Chevy." Ah, what a life! Not to mention the Cherry Cokes and double burgers!


    15 Jun 10 at 12:48 am

  13. Yeah, the ad above lists the N. Main one, but I don't have a separate post on it. There's one on The Varsity though.


    15 Jun 10 at 12:53 am

  14. Worked my way through grad school at The Villa! John & Betsy Stoudemire were just the best bosses in the world! Great place to sling pizza! And to eat pizza--which I did plenty of!


    15 Jun 10 at 1:01 am

  15. I too have very fond memories of Columbia's old Drive-In Restaurants. As a young lad attending Dreher High School I got a job at WCOS (The Big C') playing "The Top Sixty In Dixie".
    I was selected by George Buck (station owner) to be the first host of "The Doug Broom's Nightbeat Show" from atop the building on North Main at Confederate. I was 17 years old. I have a lot of memories of taking "requests" and spinning the 45's for the cruising crowd. I wish I had taken some pictures of the place in it's heyday. I'm telling you it was 'The' place to be, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Back in those days (1957-1962) the staff consisted of Bob Fulton (mornings), Mike Rast mid-days), Woody Windham (afternoons) and your's truly in the evening's from 8pm-1am.
    I'll never forget the neon lights, the smell of hamburgers, french fries and those $0.85 Doug Broom Chicken Baskets that he and his wife LuLu would tell me to push on some nights for just $0.58 (normally because LuLu had ordered too much chicken). But my best memories are of my peers looking "Up" to me in more ways than one. After all I was a high school kid too for the first two years sitting in that glass booth high atop Doug Broom's Drive- In with that giant plastic statue of a "Big Boy" out front. (By the way, Doug stole the Big Boy idea from, a then little known chain of restaurants on the west coast called "Shoney's". Things were fine for many years until Shoney's found out about it and made him take it down and stop advertising "The Doug Broom's Big Boy Sandwich". How many of you hung out at Confederate & North Main when life was so much simpler.

    Dan Moon

    12 Nov 11 at 9:23 pm

  16. Of course I was trying to get used to solid food and walking during the tail end of that period, but it sounds like a blast!


    13 Nov 11 at 1:35 am

  17. I can barely remember Doug Broom's in it's Hey Day in the early 60's through the mid 60's actually, but didnt get over to that side of town unless my Mom and Dad were going that way from the Downtown area. I do remember Angelo's though for some reason on North Main.


    13 Nov 11 at 9:24 pm

  18. Hi Dan.... I too had the pleasure of working at WCOS from roughly 1979-83. Nobody called Mike Rast "Mike" as you know. He was "Doc" from doing live remotes from the rooftop of Doug Broome's as "Doctor Jive". I was just a little feller then.

    Jerry B

    16 Nov 11 at 11:07 pm

  19. The pumpkin carrage is at cauce park by the police dept what wad the mame of the bar in motel by genes pig an chick

    Donna B

    24 Jun 13 at 3:59 pm

  20. Yes, pictures of the carraige here.


    24 Jun 13 at 6:30 pm

  21. That is not gene's. Gene's was directly across from belleview st.

    Rudy Elrod

    12 Dec 13 at 10:04 am

  22. Glad Folks still remember my Dad

    Butch Broome

    8 Jan 14 at 4:27 pm

  23. I just found this "page" while doing another search. Wow, the memories of Doug Broome's "Tower of Stars" (WCOS broadcast booth on top of the restaurant at the corner of Main and Confederate.

    I did the broadcast from there from January 1964 to March 1965. Wow, some great people I met, great food to eat, and watch the busy nighttime traffic that the young people and "older" ones created around that area.

    There were three restaurants that high school and college young people patronized on North Main Street at that time. Doug Broomes, Sewells and the "Varsity".

    The only locations I remember for Gene's Pig and Chick were Blossom Street, at the bridge (I did DJ show there, too, around 1966) and the Gene's on Two Notch Road at Beltline Drive. If my ancient memory serves me right, "Brother Dave" Taylor DJ'd there and, for a time at Doug Broomes. Also Terry Lee DJ'd there. He went on to be an airline pilot. Terry and I roomed together for a while when working opposite each other at WNOK (Terry) at Gene's and me at WCOS at Doug's.

    What a great time-period for "Top Forty" and "Top Sixty in Dixie" radio.

    By the way, hi Dan Moon. It has been decades since I've seen you. I know you worked at WTMA in Charleston after I did. I was there October 1967 til March 1969 doin' mid-day shift. A lot of great memories in Charleston as well.

    Sorry to be so long-winded. I just found the page this morning. Wow, could all the DJ's from the Columbia area duriing the 60's really share some memories, stories and tales.

    Butch Broome, thanks to your dad for a great place to meet for food and seeing friends. And how about those "telli-tray speakers" to place your order and the curb-hops to deliver to your window. :)

    Love to hear from y'all.

    Jeff Flanders

    21 Oct 14 at 6:56 am

  24. Jeff Flanders, the voice of Gertrude the duck??!

    Midnight Rambler

    21 Oct 14 at 8:57 am

  25. Stumbled across this by accident, boy the memories. Woody Windham (Woody with the Goodies), WCOS, Gene's on North Main, my father, also Ralph Shade, was an advertising salesman at WCOS in the early '60s. We mostly hung out at the Doug Brooms on Two Notch road. Mr. Flanders, by some coincidence, my father also worked at WTMA in the mid-50s, again as an advertising salesman. Thanks again for the memories!!!

    Ralph Shade

    10 Nov 15 at 10:24 pm

  26. I worked t the Harden location in 1966. My first job. I got caught giving a free family dinner to a poor couple. That didn't go over all that well. It came out of my pay the next week. I remember the manager tossed all leftovers in the garbage. That didn't seem right but at 16 what did I know. We all went to Doug Broomes on Friday night, hung out for awhile and then just cruised around. I seem to remember there being allot of Dreher and Columbia High kids in that part of town. I was a Dentsville kid who lived on Ft. Jackson. I sure have some great memories.


    9 Jul 16 at 8:06 pm

  27. I remember Gene's P&C very well from the 60s'. They used to have radio commercials on WCOS that ended with a little jingle: "There's good eating' at Gene's Pig & Chick ev'ry time!" and a trumpet flourish.

    Ken Lewis

    29 Mar 18 at 12:45 pm

  28. Great Friday, Saturday and Sunday night's at Gene's by the bridge.

    Tom McGauley

    13 Apr 18 at 1:06 am

  29. I remember going home with my Mom, sister, and brother after stopping at Gene's Hamburgers on Harden Street, parking at home in the garage during a cloudburst, eating our meal from Gene's. The burgers and fries were very very good. Because of the cloudburst and the good food from Gene's is what I remember to this day. To the Broome family, best wishes and success!


    19 Feb 21 at 10:32 am

  30. The photo of the orange and purple building above is of 2418 Main street. Gene's Pig 'n Chik was at 2330 Main. That building in the photo was built in the 1960s for Yonce Motors. The 2418 Main Street location has been mostly used car dealerships since the 1960s including Yonce Motors, City Motors, Auto Wholesalers, Motor Credit Used Cars, Desirable Automotives.


    1 Jun 21 at 9:31 am

  31. CORRECTION to my comment above. The building at 2418 Main Street may be the structure that was built in 1948 as the first Zesto Drive-In in the Columbia area. Zesto operated at that location from 1948 until late 1956 or early 1957. Crown Motors opened there in April 1957, and it has been the site of car dealerships most of the time since.


    1 Jun 21 at 10:30 am

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