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S&S Cafeteria, Richland Mall: 30 Jan 2011   51 comments

Posted at 1:05 am in restaurants

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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.

Written by ted on January 29th, 2011

Tagged with , , , ,

51 Responses to 'S&S Cafeteria, Richland Mall: 30 Jan 2011'

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  1. I say tear down that NEW Richland Mall and rebuild Richland Mall as it used to be before the 1980's..when it WAS Richland Mall..I'm sure someone somewhere has the original blue prints to the way it was.. I think it would do really well with that 60's retro look actually. It cant do any worse. Do people honestly think Friday's or Belk's, or that book store is gonna bring the crowd in? or actually help it any? I think the Mall is on it last legs and will go completely under within a year if that. Sometimes change isnt good and the old Mall should NEVER have been demolished for the "new and improved" Mall..you see how well that's gone so far huh?. Columbia is NOT the place for high end stores because there isnt enough of the "rich" people to support it.
    Too bad it's been a waste of space .

    Del Bazemore

    29 Jan 11 at 7:34 pm

  2. I just moved to Columbia last summer and was sorely disappointed by my one time visit to Richland Mall, it looked nice but so dead and empty for various reasons. Columbiana and Sandhill are nice and I suppose Lexington is due next for something fancy with their new Kohl's and other stores opening up out there. I heard Lexington might be getting a Belk too.

    In any case, from what I understand S&S died because their regular clientele have died. Except for the Belk employees interviewed on the news, all over the age of 55.

    Dustin

    30 Jan 11 at 2:36 pm

  3. Richland Mall is a beautifully designed one. The parking garages just don't work for me. I remember when it was almost fully occupied ten or more years ago with the likes of Black Lion as tenants. I never quite understood how it went from high occupancy then to almost no occupancy now. Were the rents too high? Was the economy a factor? Probably the real reason is that it has been in foreclosure since it opened and owned by various banks who have no knowledge or interest in running a mall. It became almost a pyramid scheme with investors bilking other investors with their grand scheme of how the mall should look. A lot of people lost a lot of money with the Midtown project where the mall was going to be turned into an almost open air one with condominiums built on the roof.

    joelc

    30 Jan 11 at 5:34 pm

  4. I know that Dillard's operated profitably until the rent more than doubled which drove them out...I had also heard during the days it was Midtown at Forest Acres that Tuesday Morning was interseted in moving in but they were turned away. Columbia Metropolitan Magazine profiled the new owners and indicates that they have a grand plan to revitalize the mall to a the highest occupancy rate it's had in years and supposedly their rent is on par with the other area malls...I agree it looks nice inside but unfortanately it isn't very well occupied and it won't change overnight

    Andrew

    30 Jan 11 at 6:13 pm

  5. Richland Mall's biggest problem since the lmid-1980s has been mismanagement, plain and simple. While appreciate the new owners since of optomism and energy, given the economy and all the "damage" the previous owners have done to the site, I have little hope of it surviving in its current form.

    Tom

    31 Jan 11 at 6:30 am

  6. The new mall has a lot of problems, mainly the layout, the rents, and the parking garage (which a lot of folks won't use because they don't feel safe there).

    At least the old mall had character.

    tonkatoy

    31 Jan 11 at 7:58 am

  7. ok so WISTV had a report leading to believe that Richland Mall may close but it turned out not to be per Jack Kuenzie..

    interesting in hearing what others say about this compared to the Columbia Metropolitan Magazine article I linked over the weekend...

    Andrew

    31 Jan 11 at 7:10 pm

  8. ok so WISTV had a report leading to believe that Richland Mall may close but it turned out not to be, but rather Jack Kuenzie having a look at the plan to revive it in some form/fashion

    interesting in hearing what others say about this compared to the Columbia Metropolitan Magazine article I linked over the weekend...

    Andrew

    31 Jan 11 at 7:10 pm

  9. It'll be interesting if they can pull something off to revive the mall. The only way to appeal to shoppers is if you can get better names inside the door. I think the problem is Columbia has too many malls. Columbia Place Mall is in the gutter with a report just the other day of police raiding stores selling counterfeit clothing there. It still has a bunch of named stores, lure them away from CP and you might have something. Heck if they getting consultations from the Village of Sandhill why not merge?

    Columbiana right now appeals to everyone regardless of class and race and is always busy and full and seems to be on the right side of town.

    Dustin

    31 Jan 11 at 11:26 pm

  10. Columbia Place Mall has had crime problems for years. As of April 23, 2004 they've implemented a chaperone rule on Friday/Saturday nights that said youth had to be accompanied by parents after 5PM on Friday & Saturday nights. Two police substations are in operation in said mall. About the only exciting thing in there for me is Macy's. I read somewhere that CBL (who owns Columbia Place Mall) tends not to let properties slip on their watch but I get a feeling that Columbia Place Mall's glory days are over. One of my mom's colleagues has a son that works in management at Piccadilly's though that says it's safer than Columbiana though.

    Columbiana Centre continues to go strong and I am thankful for that. I walk it occasionally but not as much as I should and I really enjoy the activity thereof especially with the periodic friend encounters as well which is fun.

    I'd like to see Macy's and/or JC Penney at Richland Mall. Richland Mall needs stores with name recognition. I wish I had the psychic powers to know the solutions to each of these problems...

    Andrew

    31 Jan 11 at 11:54 pm

  11. @Dustin- I heard it was a place at Dutch Square (another mall at death's door) that was raided for selling fake goods.

    Tom

    1 Feb 11 at 9:42 am

  12. Dutch Square's heyday was from 1970-1977..after White's and Tapp's left, the Mall went downhill from there. Then you had Woolco, Woolworth's, Cromer's, Record Bar and other stores that brought the crowds in, but after they closed, that killed the Mall also. That whole side of town aint what it used to be by a long shot, and Columbia Mall needs to shut down too.. there's nothin' in that Mall anymore either other than trouble makers with nothing better to do.

    Del Bazemore

    1 Feb 11 at 12:08 pm

  13. @Tom was it Dutch Square? Either way both are bad malls. This site here has a good history on Dutch Square, interesting that Macy's almost joined it in 1993:

    http://skycity2.blogspot.com/2009/12/dutch-square-mall-columbia-sc.html

    Dustin

    1 Feb 11 at 1:04 pm

  14. WOW! imagine what Dutch Square would have been like had Macy's decided to join Dutch Square

    I went in Dutch Square for a 'comfort' break for briefly last summer and felt like I was in a 'dead zone' but I am interested in trying Gaby's Pizza that opened in the former D'Avino's Pizza spot at some point but haven't made it yet...

    Andrew

    1 Feb 11 at 2:09 pm

  15. btw someone suggested in a comment on the blog posting that Dustin linked to that Burlington Coat Factory could move into the former Kmart down the road and then Burlington Coat Factory razed for a 2-story Macy's...

    Andrew

    2 Feb 11 at 1:01 am

  16. @ Del- Columbiana is what killed Dutch Square as much as Tapp's departure.

    Incidently, there was talk in the late 90s of tearing down the then vaccant old DS Theatre and building a free-standing JC Penny on the site. Like the Macy idea, I can't help but to wonder what that would have done for the complex.

    Tom

    2 Feb 11 at 6:37 am

  17. I think what killed DS Mall was Columbiana, plus Service Mdse and that whole area fell apart by the 90's..the crowd left and went to Irmo and other areas. When the BK Lounge closed, that hurt that area along with Circuit City moving also. DS is a dead area and I dont see it becoming anymore than it is now. In fact, Walmart isnt doin' that well either..it's just a bad side of town now.

    Del Bazemore

    2 Feb 11 at 1:25 pm

  18. Is that Walmart 24/7 yet? I remember stoppy by at 11pm once and being shocked to find a Walmart that closes for the night..

    ted

    2 Feb 11 at 1:31 pm

  19. I was surprised to find that the Walmart at 1326 Bush River Road (store #4379) wasn't 24/7 but I've heard it isn't so apparently it isn't. I checked their store listing feature and it didn't say anything one way or the other.

    I was happy to see that Walmart go in because of how ugly the former Bush River Mall looked for so long. I can remember being in my American Government class back on December 14, 2005 after returning from a Christmas Holiday Assembly (I was a senior in high school) and the classroom having a stack of newspapers and I it made my day for the bottom left corner of the newspaper front page to catch my eye when I saw "Wal-Mart Supercenter planned for Bush River Mall site." I was so excited that I went in it the day it opened (May 9, 2007).

    There was a sense of optimism that the area would be revived. Unfortunately it hasn't come to fruition like I had hoped. Look at what has happened at Dutch Square 1mi up the road. I'm also surprised nothing has opened up in the former Key West Grill. There's a former Daycare that needs to be razed and something new rebuilt but I don't know what. I wish I knew how to answer these questions but I sadly lack the psychic powers to do that.

    Andrew

    2 Feb 11 at 5:53 pm

  20. Dutch Square has a lot of opportunity left in it, if the opportunity is done right. It can't compete with Columbiana, so it has to offer a shopping experience that Columbiana doesn't have. I hate travelling to Harbison, especially during Christmas. DS can be that in-between mall that offers what most people want but without the hassle of traffic. I would focus on it being a mall for older shoppers who don't want the hassle of the larger malls. The demographics are there in the area to support the mall. Walmart saw this opportunity and built the BR store just a few miles from the Harbison one. They recognize that shoppers in White Hall wanted a store that is convenient to them.

    joelc

    2 Feb 11 at 7:07 pm

  21. Isn't there a thread about a mega church redoing the whole service merchandise area, and offering some of it's outparcels for retail?

    JBL

    2 Feb 11 at 9:58 pm

  22. @ JBL, Check out this September post that contains all the info I know about what's going on

    Andrew

    2 Feb 11 at 11:06 pm

  23. Note- Gabby's Pizza at DS is now closed. - I love the theaters st DS however the rest of the mall is nothing but trashy urban clothes stores like you would find at the Hwy #1 flea market. Belk is the exception and even they have closed off the third floor.

    Kc

    9 Feb 11 at 10:27 am

  24. I agree..DSM is nothing but all 100% URBAN..it's really gone downhill and so has the entire area. It isnt at all what it used to be by any stretch of the imagination. If Belk were to ever leave the old Mall..they may as well tear the whole thing down since there's nothing left of any of the original stores other than Radio Shack.

    Del Bazemore

    9 Feb 11 at 12:18 pm

  25. Hmm. I wonder if Gabby's at DS was connected with Gabby's on Decker. I would suspect so -- It's not a common name.

    ted

    9 Feb 11 at 12:32 pm

  26. Oddly enough I must say Dutch Square feels more alive to me than Richland Mall does. Even with the cheapskate stores and almost closed food court Dutch Square does have a fair amount of people walking through it and most of the stores are filled.

    Dustin

    9 Feb 11 at 3:44 pm

  27. OH GREAT!!! I was hoping to make it to Gaby's Pizza but now, sadly I won't have the chance :(

    Sadly I don't have much reason to set foot in Dutch Square anymore...

    Andrew

    9 Feb 11 at 4:49 pm

  28. There seems not to be so much of a reason to go to Dutch Square, Richland, and even Columbia Place (aside from Macy's and a few other stores). Columbiana's domination continues on with Sandhill at a distant second. And Sandhill's survival is dependent on if they can keep the major and national chains around.

    Dustin

    9 Feb 11 at 6:08 pm

  29. @Dustin, I don't disagree with anything you said. I really wish Macy's would open up at Richland Mall. General Growth Properties had a plan to potentially add a 5th anchor around near JC Peneny and Macy's would fit in this spot...

    Andrew

    9 Feb 11 at 6:59 pm

  30. Yep I know exactly where that potential location and Macy's would be fit in fine, making it a lot like Haywood Mall in Greenville(minus the second level and even higher end chains). I also wouldn't rule possible move to Sandhill either as when I lived in Colorado Macy's was open in a lifestyle center. (Though this store had opened up as Foley's before the big May Company 2006 conversion and that this lifestyle center was a whole lot better designed and had stores like Express, Buckle, Banana Republic, an Apple Computer store etc.)

    Dustin

    9 Feb 11 at 7:58 pm

  31. Here's an article from The State that shows that Richland Mall is widening tenant searches from October 2010

    Andrew

    10 Feb 11 at 2:38 pm

  32. maaan i dont see the difference in jcpenny, macy's or belks, what's the difference in terms on clothing?

    Aliina J.

    12 Feb 11 at 6:42 pm

  33. @Alinna I don't know enough about fashion to know the difference but each has different brands they carry I believe, some are unique to them...

    Andrew

    12 Feb 11 at 11:22 pm

  34. Until they bought the May Company Macy's use to be an upscale store catering to the upper classes. Nowadays it seems they attempt to just to do, say upper middle class. JCPenney has historically catered primarily to the middle class. I don't much about Belk history, but currently it appears to fall in-between the two. Also Belk is limited to the Southeast while JCP has always had a major national presence.

    Dustin

    13 Feb 11 at 10:31 am

  35. It's probably been mentioned before, but I think the real reason why Richland Mall is suffering is because the Forest Acres area definitely skewers older. I noticed this going down Forest Drive in that area and especially while at Starbucks at Trenholm Plaza I stepped inside Stein Mart for the first out of curiosity and it FELT like an old person's store, even more so than Belk.

    Dustin

    15 Feb 11 at 9:01 am

  36. While I don't disagree with Dustin's assessment about Forest Acres's older population, I would like to say this: Forest Acres manages to maintain a strong residential base. I saw a report (courtesy of commercial real estate firm Colliers Keenan) that Forest Acres' strong residential base, high occupancy rate and little available land make it one of the highest sections of town for leasing rates.

    Andrew

    16 Feb 11 at 1:09 am

  37. The Tronco family are opening a new cafeteria here called Sadie's American Cafeteria. It is expected to open in May.

    http://www.thestate.com/2012/02/23/2164247/richland-mall-lands-new-cafeteria.html

    Thoms

    23 Feb 12 at 11:50 am

  38. Dustin, just for a point of reference how old is old? I need to know where to shop.

    Terry

    23 Feb 12 at 3:40 pm

  39. I see that they are going to have some of the old S&S staff. I am not a big fan of cafeterias and if you read enough posts on here, you'll find several others that post to this blog that aren't a big fan of them, either.

    I know that since Century Capital Group (in conjunction with Kahn Development) bought what was Midtown at Forest Acres and changed it back to Richland Mall approximately 2 years ago, they have conveyed a strong sense of optimism about the big revitalization plan they have up in the works. Both S&S as well as Bath & Body Works have departed what is now known as Richland Mall in that time. I like to believe the optimism they're conveying is genuine, the fruits of it have yet to be seen (and I sadly lack the psychic powers to know how it'll work out).

    Andrew

    23 Feb 12 at 3:42 pm

  40. I think the fact that they are co-locating an existing catering operation with the new cafeteria is very hopeful. That means that there's an already viable business in place even without enough customers at the retail operation...

    ted

    23 Feb 12 at 10:48 pm

  41. Commenter Dennis sends in this link with some additional details on the new cafeteria story.

    Thanks!

    ted

    23 Feb 12 at 10:59 pm

  42. There was a br / HTML tag that rendered ted's link inoperable that I have fixed

    They're hoping to be open by Mother's Day...and since S&S's old staff will play a role in staffing the new Sadie's, the question remains: to what extent will S&S's old customer base support the place...

    Andrew

    24 Feb 12 at 12:04 am

  43. D'Oh! OK, I've fixed my link too.

    Of course, the S&S customer base wasn't enough to support S&S, but then S&S didn't (that I'm aware of) have a catering business to make up the difference.

    ted

    24 Feb 12 at 1:21 am

  44. I'm from Macon GA where S&S is headquartered. it has great food it's a staple there. just wish i'd have known this one was here before it closed.

    Nick

    3 Apr 12 at 4:50 pm

  45. There was one downtown too at one time.

    ted

    3 Apr 12 at 5:05 pm

  46. cool use to be one downtown Macon on Cherry street. or so mom tells me (before my time) great food if you don't mind old ladys in cardigans.

    Nick

    3 Apr 12 at 5:34 pm

  47. Good news! There is a new restaurnat there called Sadie's now!

    http://www.wltx.com/news/article/187399/2/Sadies-Restaurant-Opens-at-Richland-Mall

    Alicia

    15 May 12 at 2:41 pm

  48. Two years after Century Capital Group (in conjunction with Kahn Development) bought the former Midtown at Forest Acres property (first thing they did was change the name from Midtown at Forest Acres back to Richland Mall), they've managed to backfill the loss, not only from S&S, but Rainsoft moving off of Main Street into where Bath and Body Works recently closed. They've also landed Cha Cha Designs (a koozie factory) and a farmer's market. Richland County Sheriff's Department will also have a fitness facility in Richland Mall.

    They urge us to be patient as they work to land more tenants (keep in mind the decisions are being made by corporate officials whose offices in different states). I believe they're reworking the mall's zoning to allow for a wider pool of tenants.

    Andrew

    15 May 12 at 9:06 pm

  49. WLTX is reporting that Sadie's has closed for now and that a new group is working to get it reopened

    Andrew

    15 Nov 12 at 11:14 am

  50. Oh, too bad!

    I was hoping the catering side would be enough to keep it open regardless of the walkin traffic. I kept meaning to go there the past several months, but the only time I made it, I was too late for lunch..

    ted

    15 Nov 12 at 6:00 pm

  51. Sadies has indeed reopened according to The State

    Andrew

    19 Nov 12 at 8:57 pm

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