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The Market Restaurant, 1205 Assembly Street: 11 January 1985   30 comments

Posted at 1:23 am in historic,restaurants


The Market Restaurant
Columbia, S.C.
Opposite State Capitol
At Intersections of:
U.S. Hwy's 1, 21, 321, 176 and 378
"Famous for Food"
Featuring Maine Lobsters
U.S. Prime Western Steaks and Dinners.
OPEN FROM 11 A.M. TIL 11:45 P.M.

I should remember this place, but for some reason I don't. From the 1970 Southern Bell Yellow Pages ad, it looks much too fancy for anything that our parents might have taken us to, and when I was picking restaurants on my own, the lobster and fish would have scared me off.

As you can see from these shots, the building is long gone, and the area is now an annoying parking lot (always half empty, but zealously patrolled) at the corner of Gervais and Assembly streets bordered on the bottom by The Mellow Mushroom and on the right by the former John Paul’s Armadillo Oil Company.

Notice also on the ad another common feature from restaurants of this era: Late hours. I really wish this had continued and that there were decent places open until "11:15" on week-nights nowdays.

Anyone know what happened to this place?

UPDATE 13 October 2009: Added a postcard of The Market and the text from the back of it.

UPDATE 4 January 2012: Updated the closing date in the post title from "1970s" to "11 January 1985" based on the comments. I was only off by 10 years or so..

Written by ted on July 23rd, 2009

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30 Responses to 'The Market Restaurant, 1205 Assembly Street: 11 January 1985'

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  1. I think the Market was the oldest restaurant in town. It opened around 1900 and closed in 1985. Until a couple of years ago at least, the parking lot you have pictured had a sign that said "Parking for Market Restaurant".

    Dave

    23 Jul 09 at 7:16 am

  2. I don’t know what happened to the Market, but will add these musings: Not too long after the Assembly Street Market closed, another opened on Sunset Blvd (@ ’87) where “Nick’s” is currently located. I think that one might have been connected with Al Loftis. What I don’t know is whether the Assembly Street Market was a Loftis restaurant. It would seem plausible, since it’s close to “Al’s Upstairs,” but again, I don’t know. If that is the case, though, it might have been just a matter of his moving his restaurant.

    badger

    23 Jul 09 at 8:19 am

  3. The Shell station they are talking about in the ad was Pop Harmon's Shell station. When my dad came to Columbia from the farm back in the late 30's, he worked for Pop for several years before opening his own station. I don't know who owned it after Pop died and can't remember the year it was torn down.

    Pinckney

    23 Jul 09 at 9:18 pm

  4. I want to say the Shell station closed in the 1970s and was bought by the restaurant for parking. The Market closed in the 1980s when the owners decided they wanted to retire. They also felt they could get more money for the property if they tore down their restaurant.

    The building had a blue neon sign that streched the Assembly Street side of the building and a tall blue sign sticking up with a lobster on top. (For a while this was the only place in town you could get a decent whole lobster.)

    The Market was also a favorite of politicians and it is safe to say that a lot of political deals and even some bills were made here.

    I believe the Assembly Street market closed sometime in the 1950s.

    Tom

    24 Jul 09 at 7:25 am

  5. Thanks, Ted for finding the yellow pages ad. The phraseology used is priceless. Do you know of a source, other than the State paper, that might be used for archival photos of the older sites posted here?
    Oh, and I am ashamed to admit my ignorance, but just what is a "carousel room"?

    John R

    24 Jul 09 at 10:29 am

  6. Well, there's the "Star Reporter / Columbia Star" which has some online archives and then the "Columbia Record" which must be on microfiche somewhere..

    ted

    24 Jul 09 at 10:53 am

  7. In the 1950s our Eau Claire High School crowd could ill afford the Market but my parents and I went there a time or two. In the early 60s the Evening Optimist Club met there and I tried to attend every meeting. Always good food, good friends, and lots of good memories. Seems to me the owners/operators were Greek; anybody recall their names?

    Bill C

    17 Aug 09 at 10:50 pm

  8. The Papadea family owns the parking lot, and I believe owned the restaurant. Jim Papadea, a well known, long time resident, use to work there as a kid. While getting bids on some work I met the man (at least in his 60s) who claimed to have been part of the crew that built the lobster sign.

    Jeff

    25 Aug 09 at 5:08 pm

  9. Hi,

    I am John Capilos, and my grandfather and grandmother John and Chrysula Capilos used to own The Market restaurant. My grandfather got to old to run the restaurant anymore and planned to pass it down to my father Nick Capilos, however my father ended up becoming a Greek Orthodox priest instead of continuing his father's business.

    unfortunately the restaurant was before my time and I never got to eat there.

    John Capilos

    11 Jan 10 at 2:05 pm

  10. My mother said that my grandparents along with the Papadea's and some unknown others owned it as a corporation known as Pinnacle.

    John Capilos

    11 Jan 10 at 2:10 pm

  11. So Nicky finally did become a priest, ain't that something. I knew your father all the way from junior high right on up to my first semester at USC where I would see him on occasion. Had he told me he was going to be a priest in high school, I would have laughed my head off, but then years later I saw him working-out in the old European Health Spa in the Boozer Shopping Center, and he mentioned he was sincerely working on becoming a Greek Orthodox priest. At that time it made perfect sense, but I was still thrown for a loop. I bet he remembers my expression.

    Michael Taylor

    11 Jan 10 at 6:40 pm

  12. Yup, the library has the Columbia Record on microfilm at the Main Library. We would love to be an archival resource for the iamges in this blog. I copy them from time to time but there is so much to keep up with.

    Debbie Bloom

    11 Jan 10 at 8:17 pm

  13. The Market Restaurant (1940-1988) 1201-1205 Assembly Street,vacant (1989-1993), torn down in 1994, parking lot. According to Historical city directories...

    Jeff

    25 Apr 10 at 10:25 pm

  14. The Market Restaurant was a favorite of my parents. They went every Friday night for the wonderful dressing-stuffed lobsters. On occasion they took my brother and me. As a birthday milestone, I was treated me to one of those delicious lobsters in 1965 for my 16th birthday. It was a sad day in Columbia when the Market Restaurant closed. Such fond memories - great food and this wonderful lady who always waited our table named "Millie".

    Debbie Rivers Bass

    3 Jun 10 at 8:54 pm

  15. I miss all of these old school restaurants and am sad that they are not being replaced. About the only ones I can think of currently are Dianne's and possibly Grecian Gardens.

    What do I mean by "old school?"? Well, I know I'm showing my age, but mostly I mean a relaxing dining experience NOT marred by:

    - loud frantic music to "entertain" you
    - tables/booths so crowded together that you have to listen to your "new friends'" conversations
    - chirpy (or hungover) student wait staff who don't have answers for any of your questions
    - disposable anything
    - buzzing coasters
    - fad recipes
    - an atmosphere that's in any way designed to "move you along."

    The places I'm fondly remembering all had:

    - fantastic food that seemed uniquely theirs
    - actual fabric tablecloths and napkins, heavy metal silverware, and glass glasses
    - professional wait staff who got you what you wanted; they made it happen for you. If for some strange reason you needed to know their name you could ask them
    - a wine list that included labels not found in Kroger
    - a relaxing, unrushed atmosphere that seemed unplanned, but which was actually carefully designed
    - love for their regulars

    Dennis

    4 Jun 10 at 4:01 am

  16. I ate at the Market several times. For a student it was pretty expensive, but a welcome treat. At least twice I saw Frank McGuire eating there at the same time. Once, he and his assistant, Buck Freeman, sat at the table right next to me.

    Joe

    26 Jun 10 at 3:35 pm

  17. I have obtained a old menu from this restaurant from an Estate sale. It may mean more to someone that has been or to a family member, I bought it thinking it was just very cool and nostaligic... if so, I may part with it... I am in St Louis Mo and the collection of old menus was very impressive, I couldn't pass it up. Thanks Jennifer

    Jennifer Dolde

    26 Sep 10 at 2:47 pm

  18. Jennifer Dolde,
    I would love to buy the Market Restaurant menu from you. Let me know if you still have this.

    TRACY BROWN

    12 Dec 11 at 12:32 pm

  19. I am the daughter of John Capilos , manager and owner of the Market Restaurant. The restaurant was started by the husband of Dad's sister Marina, Nick Papadea in the late 1920's. There is an archive of pictures , menus, and staff in the Richland County Library on Assembly Street. The Market was named after the Farmers Market that was in the center of Assembly Street. There is a picture of the original cafe in the library, along with articles through the years. The original restaurant closed January, 11 ,1985. That was a very sad day for myself, Dad, George Papajohn, Millie, Connie, Frances, Rosa, Louise and others. Assist. manager Gus Capilos moved on to Constantines Restaurant on the airport highway, that now is also closed. The median of Assembly Street had horse watering fountaina on each end. The last time I saw one was at the Township and Arsenal Hill. The Picture Postcard History of Columbia, has the original black and white picture of the restaurants in Columbia, including the Varsity restaurant of North Main. The original building still stands near Anthony Street of Cotton Town. a lot of Greeks lived in that neighborhood, not too far from the Greek Orthodox Church on Sumter Street. Bill and Gus Capilos, and Dena Papajohn, handled things at the Varsity. I am looking for recipes that was bases on a 1948, French chef Book, like Boston clam chowder. Dad had the best creamy chicken soup there was. That rescipe is lost to time. The Market restaurant will always be on our taste-buds. Love to all, Elaina Capilos

    Elaina Capilos

    4 Jan 12 at 8:08 pm

  20. correction to previous line, I am looking for recipes based on a 1948 French chef book... That recipe is lost to time.( The chicken soup. I do not rember lobster bisque but Newburg.

    Elaina Capilos

    4 Jan 12 at 8:14 pm

  21. To Jennifer Dolde: I wish I could see the menu, there were three covers. The RCPlibrary may need it. Thanks, Elaina Capilos
    correction to 4 Jan 12 at 8:14 PM( the chicken soup). I do not remember lobster bisque but Newburg. Manhatten and Boston Chowder.

    Elaina Capilos

    4 Jan 12 at 8:21 pm

  22. I recall going to The Market Restaurant on a regular basis as a child for the midweek special. Because of those great memories, I love a restaurant with curved, half moon booths.

    CJBM

    5 Jan 12 at 8:59 am

  23. For those of you looking for the recipes, Dad used A Selection of Dishes and the Chef's Reminder High Class Culinary Text Book by Charles Fellows, published by THE HOTEL MONTHLY PRESS , JOHN WILLY, Inc, 1948 ,Ridge Avenue, Evanston , Illinois. The Frugal Gourmet adapted his recipes from Charles and a copy of it is in the Columbia, SC. library. You can find Bisque and chowders there in Fellows book. I suppose the Frugal Gourmet has them too. I will stop by the library next week and drop off some recipes from the 1948 Reminder.

    Elaina Capilos

    6 Jan 12 at 5:32 pm

  24. Please pray for Fr. Papadeas, a relative of the original owner, who was a Greek Orthodox Priest, like my brother, Fr. Nick, recently passed away, after along service to Christ. Fr Nick died at age 50 in 2005. He and Gussie Capilos would close the restaurant at night. When Fr. Nick went to Greece in 1977, he was greeted by an angel who directed him to be a priest. Thus, he never went into restaurant management, although he had a degree in it. Fr. papadeas wrote the Holy Week Books and had more than 50 years as a priest, and writer. He also established many Missions.

    Elaina Capilos

    6 Jan 12 at 5:45 pm

  25. I remember many lunch meetings at The Market. I also remember owner John Capilos and after him Gus Capilos-I also sold them some of their wine selections. Many of the better restaurants in town were run by those of Greek heritage, such as The Elite Epicurean & The Market. There was also a Greek restaurant across form the USC Law school where many of us had lunch-dont remember the name of it though.

    Michael Reed

    20 Apr 12 at 6:30 am

  26. That would have been "The Winner's Circle":

    http://columbiaclosings.com/wordpress/?p=245

    Mike

    20 Apr 12 at 6:56 am

  27. David

    19 Apr 13 at 2:55 pm

  28. When I was little, in the evening when we'd return from visiting relative in Orangeburg, I would always hope the animated neon sign on the side of the restaurant would be on showing the row of little fishies swimming into the lobster's claws. I always thought I'd never be able to eat there but, have to thank the generosity of Bill Blount, again, for allowing me to go there with him and his family or it'd have been one of those things I would have always wish I'd done.

    Etienne Culler

    18 Jun 13 at 12:03 am

  29. Hi Ekaina. I loved your brother Nicky. We were at A.C. Flora together. Along with Jack Coggins, Robbie Grice,and many others. I moved to Tallahassee, Fl. and he came for a visit and to also check out FSU for his wrestling scholaship...he was such a comedian..never would have thought he'd become a priest, but he was definately a sweet, loving person..Your Mother used to come in Tapp's when I was working there and I'd help her pick out clothes for you when you were a little girl....I LOVE your family!! Love to you, Beth

    Beth Sliger

    15 Aug 13 at 3:13 am

  30. tonkatoy

    11 Oct 13 at 9:04 am

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