As I've mentioned somewhere or another on this site, the last time I ate in a cafeteria was sometime in the mid 1990s when I found myself at a "Picadilly" at Regency Mall in Augusta -- I was distinctly underwhelmed. Before that, it was probably the S&S on Gervais when my Aunt was visiting town.
Growing up, however we ate fairly frequently at Richland Mall's original cafeteria, The Redwood Cafeteria and sometimes its follow-up Morrison's.
My general opinion of cafeterias was not high. As a kid it seemed to me that they could even mess up rice & gravy -- cafeteria rice was not like "real" rice at all. Instead of sticking together properly, every grain was separate and discrete. (I suppose it was parboiled or "converted" as Uncle Ben called it ["Q: What's white and runs up your legs? A: Uncle Ben's perverted rice!"]). Furthermore, they didn't have hamburgers. My parents insisted that "hamburger steak" was the same thing, but I knew it wasn't. Still going through the line was interesting, and the little butter-pats on paper never failed to fascinate.
Upon hearing that the Richland Mall S&S was to close on Sunday (30 Jan 11), I decided I would eat lunch there one day to check it out and maybe get some pictures. Arriving at my usual lunch time of 3:00, I was a bit confused. The doors were open and people were at the tables (and, yes, they were mostly older folks, just as the stereotype goes -- that's OK, I plan to be one someday, and probably sooner than I expect). The way I expected to get to the serving line however seemed to be blocked. I saw a possible second serving line, but nobody seemed to be tending it.
An enquiry finally established that they had taken down the serving line sometime before I got there, and would not fire it up again until 4:30, and that the second line was for take-out only -- which is a shame because it looked pretty good, with black-eyed peas, and other nice vegetables, rather more Southern than I remember the old cafeterias being.
So anyway, I did not get to eat at S&S before it closed (unless I get there tomorrow or Sunday, which I consider highly unlikely), but I did get some pictures later in the week, and captured several of their billboards (the one across Forest Drive from the mall is already taken by a new advertiser now).
This will be the first time Richland Mall has had no cafeteria in it, and can't bode well for the future of the mall, but then what has lately?
UPDATE 30 Jan 2011: Added the first two pictures, take just after the doors closed.
UPDATE 7 September 2012: Added picture of the Two Notch Road billboard above.