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Bird's / River City Cafe / Yesterday's, 8909 Two Notch Road: 1990s   9 comments

Posted at 5:50 pm in historic,restaurants

River City Cafe is a Murrells Inlet institution. Located on the creek side of US-17 business, it is a very casual burger joint with license plates all over the walls, peanut shells on the floor and graphitti carved into the tables. They make a good burger, and keep malt vinegar on the tables for your fries. The restaurant is part of a coastal empire called The Divine Dining Group which includes River City, Bovine's, Ultimate California Pizza and some other brands I forget. Anyway, in the 90s, or it could have even been the late 80s, they decided to try to expand from the coast into Columbia. They opened two River City Cafes in Columbia that I am aware of. One was on Greene Street near the train tracks and the other was this building on Two Notch Road. I'm not sure why neither store prospered. Sometimes I think that when a local chain gets large enough that the owners can't just casually drop by any given store to see how things are going, quality suffers. At any rate, neither my sister nor I felt the Two Notch location was as good as Murrells Inlet (I never tried Greene Street), and both stores closed fairly quickly. The Greene Street store became The Salty Nut Cafe, and this one became Yesterday's.

I don't go too often, but I've always enjoyed Yesterday's in Five Points. They have a good combination of down-home food plus stuff like lasagna and mexican-inspired dishes. The Two Notch location was only open long enough for my sister and I to go once, and we both agreed that it was considerably lower in quality than Five Points. I remember in particular ordering the chips & salsa appetizer and having a dish of round Tostitos with about a tablespoon of frigid salsa in a sealed plastic container being plopped onto the table. The presentation was bad, and the quality was, um, lacking.

I believe the current tenant, Micato, was the next venture in the building, and it has been there some years now, so I would guess they actually know what they are doing, though I have never eaten there.

River City at the beach remains good, as does Yesterday's downtown. I guess they just couldn't find the talent to replicate the experience.

UPDATE 26 May 2011 -- Commenter palmettopanic sends in this 1989 ad for another restaurant in this building, one that came before RIver City and Yesterday's and one that I had never heard of (or at least can't remember having heard of): "Bird's":

Also, I haven't mentioned it on this entry yet, but the follow-on in this building Micato has been gone for some time.

Written by ted on January 29th, 2009

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9 Responses to 'Bird's / River City Cafe / Yesterday's, 8909 Two Notch Road: 1990s'

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  1. It's weird that the River City Cafe didn't flourish on Greene St. Salty Nut seems to be doing pretty good there and it seems to be the same thing.

    ChiefDanGeorge

    30 Jan 09 at 5:31 am

  2. Ted there still is (or was until recently) a River City in Myrtle Beach, maybe around N29th and 17 or so? It is very similar to this one, also in a parking lot. Anytime you can eat outside next to the water is better than anytime you can't.

    Jonathan

    30 Jan 09 at 9:17 am

  3. I never knew about the Two Notch location. It seems to have been there from about 1990 to 1993. Then, “Yesterday’s,” which I do remember, for another year or two. Coincidentally or not, the Greene Street location started in ‘93, the same year Two Notch closed. I remember when the Greene Street location became the “Salty Nut” around ’98. According to the employees and other customers, the owner was looking to sell it and move out of town. Don’t know if that was the case, but it became the “Salty Nut” without a lot of downtime between the businesses. Possibly there was some kind of contractual situation that either prevented the new owner from using “River City,” or they just decided they didn’t like the name, but I don’t think it was a case of “River City” going out of business because of lack of business.

    badger

    3 Feb 09 at 12:10 pm

  4. Badger is right; River City - Two Notch held on until at least about '93. I distinctly remember taking swim team kids there after meets in summers of '91 and '92.

    doc

    31 Oct 09 at 1:04 am

  5. Commenter palmettopanic has sent in an ad for another restaurant in this spot: Bird's.

    (Thanks!)

    ted

    26 May 11 at 11:23 pm

  6. I think this was originally a Mrs. Winner's Chicken and Biscuits. Mid/late 80's? Only lasted a year or two. The chain still exists though. Check out this image of a similar location that still exists - the bldg is identical:

    http://www.shumacher.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Mrs-Winners-Dallas-GA-Pkg-2.jpg

    Dave

    28 May 11 at 4:29 am

  7. Ted - Not sure if you know but there was also a River City Cafe in North Myrtle Beach at 2nd Ave N in the 90s that failed as well. It was right on 17 so not on the beach or marsh but they dug a small pond and put part of the patio over it, guess it wasn't enough. Now, that building is occupied by Friendly's.

    Justin

    15 Jul 12 at 8:55 am

  8. No, didn't know about that one. I see from the Divine Dining Group Map that there are currently 7 River City locations. That's considerably more than I thought.

    ted

    15 Jul 12 at 1:26 pm

  9. Yesterdays in my opinion is a better country cooking restaurant than Lizards Thicket. Wasnt there also a yesterdays on St Andrews Rd in the same plaza where Sandys hot dogs is? I think it was in the building where the Thai place is now

    Paul D

    5 Oct 12 at 3:20 am

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