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Scriven's Alley, Corner of Gervais Street & Huger Street: 1990s   8 comments

Posted at 12:00 am in historic,restaurants

On the whole, Scriven's Alley doesn't sound like my kind of place, though I could have perhaps found some pasta I liked. The opportunity to grill your own food does sound pretty intriguing though. In the end however, it may have perhaps proved fatal to the business as the place burned down and was never rebuilt. I'm thinking that the Scriven's building was where that narrow vacancy right at the corner is rather than on the Hertz site. As I recall, it was a two story brick structure.

I had the impression that it was a pretty well thought of place, and I've always wondered why they never re-opened. I would expect most any building to have fire insurance, but perhaps they were down long enough for all the staff to disperse and the cash reserves to deplete.

Written by ted on March 5th, 2011

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8 Responses to 'Scriven's Alley, Corner of Gervais Street & Huger Street: 1990s'

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  1. Scriven's was on that vaccant lot. I remember back in the 1960s it used to have a large billboard for Edisto farms Dairy with a 3-d cow's head on it. I never ate there but a friend of mine did and he liked the place.

    The building burned down in the 1980s . Many years ago there was an article in The State that said that the owner had received several good offersd for the property but for some reason he had no desire to sell or rebuild at the time.

    Tom

    5 Mar 11 at 6:21 am

  2. It definitely was located on the vacant lot. The entrance was off-street through that gate that's still standing (thus the "alley" concept). I did eat there--the "be your own chef" involved cooking your own steak on a charcoal grill. If you didn't care to do so there was an additional charge for them to cook it for you.

    Mike

    5 Mar 11 at 7:50 am

  3. In my opinion, the opening of Longhorn Steaks up the street is why Scriven's wasn't rebuilt.

    Jim

    5 Mar 11 at 2:48 pm

  4. We tried Scriven's once or twice and it was pretty good. I guess the cook it yourself idea could be fun if you had a group with you. Otherwise I'd just stay home and cook. There was place that tried this concept on the north end of Hilton Head years ago.

    The guy who did all the normal cooking at Scriven's worked for a long time at Jerry Kelly's after the fire. Great southern soul food.

    Dennis

    7 Mar 11 at 9:24 pm

  5. I find this conversation about Scriven's Alley very interesting, in that, I am the actual owner of the building that housed the restaurant. For those who may be interested...I'll recite a bit of history.

    The name.."Scriven's Alley," actually came from the name of the alleyway that disects the half block. It starts right to the left of Hertz's and goes the length of the block, exiting on Senate Street. When the fellow who rented the upstaris of the building, from me, he had not yet chosen a name for the business, so I suggested..."Scriven's Alley." The business existed there for about two years. There was a fire there, that was started during a time in which the restaurant was closed (after hours), and there was supision that it was started by a disgrunted former employee, but there was never any charges brought against anyone. I baby sat the building for 3-4 four years before bull-dozing it down around 1991. As for the reason that I chose not to rebuild....it was simple. I collected enough money that could be used to "fully rebuild," or pay off the loan on the property. Since the economy was so bad then (though in comparision to today's economy, it was not bad at all), but it was just at the conclusion of the Gulf War and I was concerned that I could not rent the building. It would be like being all dressed up but no where to go. So, I elected to pay off the mortgage. The building sat dormant for some 5 or so years, beyond the point of it being of stable construction, so I elected to tear it down. No regrets! I've always regreted, though, losing the building and someday (who knows when), I might rebuild a building that will be the "corner stone" of the Gateway to Columbia. Most people don't realize this fact, but the corner of Gervais and Huger is the "second most traveled" intersection in the State of SC. The most traveled is in Greenville somewhere. So, there you have the "true story" of Scrivens Alley. By the way, the primary entrance to the restaurant, which was located upstairs...was on the rear of the building. There was an entrance on the front of the building that could also be used, but was rarely used. As for the "narrow side walk," that someone spoke of...that WAS NOT the entrance. BTW, I still have in my pocession all of the signage of the old restaurant, and was even able to salvage the bar back, which was a very antique bar that was valued at about $10,000, in good shape, and better times. BTW....the entire 500 Block of Gervais was known as "Scriven's Alley." When I started buying up the property, I found myself to be a reluctant "slum lord." When I started tearing down old tentaments, the old matriarch was quoted as saying...."Don't sell Mr. Brooks anymore property." It took me another 10 years to get the remainder of the 1/2 block that I now own. That's my story...and I'm sticking to it. cjlb 5/05/2012

    C.J.L. Brooks

    5 May 11 at 4:52 pm

  6. BTW......should some be interested, they could simply google "Scrivens Alley," and see some of the pictures of the old building that housed The Scriven's Alley Restaurant. The building, during WWII housed an old hotel known as "The Fairview Inn." There are pictures on the internet that will show the old hotel, as well as some of the old tenament houses of the period. Most of those old houses were there in 1965. You could also google "8 Scriven's Alley," and you will see an old building that I used to own (before tearing it down), that I used to rent to an old lady who lived on the Alley for $100 per month, and she, in turn, used to sub-rent it for $600.00 per month. It did not have electricity, or plumbing. Another story..........as late as 1982, when I first started buying the property...I used to drive up to the parking lot where State Farm is now, and park parellel to the sidewalk, roll down my window, and collect some $1000 per week. I had a fellow stand guard at my car door with a shot-gun, to guard the circumstances. I was a reluctant slum-lord, and started re-development as soon as I could. BTW, I discontinued the "guard" after about two weeks, as those people who rented on that alley (about 20 of them) were totally harmless....and actually became friends of mine over time. There is a lot of history on that block! Thank the Good Lord.
    cjlb

    C.J.L. Brooks

    5 May 11 at 5:05 pm

  7. Thanks for the great info CJLB!

    ted

    5 May 11 at 10:29 pm

  8. That is great stuff CJLB. I ate at Scriven's Alley and really liked it, and was disappointed it burned down. I'd always ass-umed that it was never rebuilt because it was one of those 'insurance claim restaurant shutdowns', so it's good to get the real story after all these years. I liked the rest of the history you gave too, quite a tale!

    Blaine

    25 Aug 11 at 4:33 pm

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