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The Parthenon, 734 Harden Street: 2006   22 comments

Posted at 5:01 pm in historic,restaurants

What can I say about The Parthenon? The ambience wasn't anything special, most of the tables were wobbly, and some of the booths were 'tilters'. That, and they had the best pizza in Columbia.

I used to take my father there every Saturday night while he could still get out, and we'd share a medium with pepperoni, onions, bell-pepper and mushrooms. Even after I couldn't take him any more, the permanent staff would ask about him. After the the interminable Five Points street work reached The Parthenon's door, I knew things were iffy. Having to park a fair distance from the entrance was not good for the regular crowd as walking Five Points at night is liable to get you panhandled. The time I walked in and found myself the only customer was a real warning bell, and they announced that they were closing shortly after that. I remain flabbergasted that the work in Five Points was so poorly planned that this landmark was driven under.

There was some speculation at the time that the Parthenon folks would open another restaurant, but if it ever happened, I haven't heard of it.

UPDATE 16 April 2010 -- First, as you can read in the comments, The Parthenon crew are now at Zorba's Express waaaaaay out on Broad River Road. I finally made it over there, and the pizza was great! Second, I've added the 1985 Southern Bell yellow pages ad above.

Written by ted on December 31st, 2007

22 Responses to 'The Parthenon, 734 Harden Street: 2006'

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  1. Are they still open in Lexington?

    Jonathan

    22 Feb 08 at 9:32 am

  2. Hmm, I don't recall hearing anything about a Lexington location. I was there on the last day (I may have been the last person served..) and spoke to the staff. They were collecting an email list to let us know if they opened another restaurant (nothing came of that apparently), and I think they would have mentioned a Lexington operation..

    ted

    22 Feb 08 at 12:42 pm

  3. Here is the information. I don't get out to Lexington much, but I think they're still open.

    Parthenon of Lexington
    100 Old Cherokee Rd
    Lexington, SC 29072 Map

    * (803) 356-9734

    Jonathan

    22 Feb 08 at 4:23 pm

  4. Thanks, I'll have to give it a try.

    ted

    22 Feb 08 at 4:28 pm

  5. I believe that it has been turned into the bar "Parrotheads"

    J

    10 Mar 08 at 12:04 pm

  6. I think that's right; If you click on the photo, you can read the name.

    ted

    10 Mar 08 at 9:25 pm

  7. I used to live in the second-floor apartment whose windows are to the left in the photo above. It was the first place my spouse and I lived in together. I'm glad that we got out before ParrotHeads moved in! Nice to see that they added an awning over the apartment entrance. We used to pop out of there and scare the hell out of pedestrians.

    Jeff

    3 Apr 08 at 9:58 am

  8. Yeah, I always wondered what was going up upstairs there. You must have seen some interesting things out your windows..

    ted

    4 Apr 08 at 4:28 pm

  9. I really loved The Parthenon. I had lived out of state for a number of years and was upset to find it closed last year when I moved back. I also missed Franks Hot Dogs, the corner of Harden and Greene St.

    Heidi

    13 Jun 08 at 1:11 pm

  10. The Parthenon on Harden Street was operated by Tony and Gus and their respective families. The Parthenon of Lexington is run by Tony and his family. It has been there since 1995 and they've welcomed many 5 points patrons that miss Parthenon food.

    George

    19 Jul 08 at 10:30 am

  11. I went to the Lexington location a few times after the Five Points location closed, since I live in the Northeast I don't get to Lexington to often. I must say the food was ok at best. The pizza wasn't near as good as in Five Points, the menu is much more expensive, and it is a different atmosphere than what I like.

    Arthur

    20 Jul 08 at 4:16 pm

  12. I beleive that the Parthenon folks are the owners of Zorba's Express in the Publix shopping center at the corner of Broad River & Kennerly Roads. Great food.

    Jeff

    29 Aug 08 at 10:17 pm

  13. Mr. Gus operates the Zorba's Express on Broad River Road. It is in the Publix shopping center. I went there for lunch two years ago and ordered pizza, not knowing. I almost cried at the first bite, then looked up to see a picture of the Parthenon on the wall and Mr Gus coming towards me to speak.

    Polly

    22 Oct 08 at 2:26 pm

  14. The Parthenon I remember from the 1980s had an excellent gyro as well. Good place to take a first date, unless you wanted a second date.

    PsAustrinus

    28 Jan 10 at 11:23 am

  15. [...] places were the Greek restaurants. La Brasca’s was the first one I remember, but there was the Parthenon down in Five Points, and Zorba’s — we used to go there after we’d go roller [...]

  16. I absolutely loved their salads and their pizza was to die for. My family took me there the weekend before I left for boot camp in 1987 and I have loved it ever since. Sure wish they hadn't left. I think all the Harden Street work was killing their business there.

    Miz T

    2 Sep 11 at 3:32 pm

  17. Hahaha, I have to laugh about the "...unless you wanted a second date" bit. I know once a mouse ran out of the kitchen, saw the woman I was dating at the time, and ran back in (for safety perhaps?) She freaked out. Unfortunately, we continued dating for some time after that... I don't believe that was the only time I saw wildlife there, but it was still worth it for the pizza. My best friend's parents regularly ordered take-out from there, so I got a good sampling of their delicious pizzas.

    Blaine

    6 Sep 11 at 11:28 am

  18. I owned a business in Five Points back in the early eighties and ate at the Parthenon Regularly. I thought the pizza was great. The people that worked there or owned it recognized me when I went in but I don't think we ever got on a first name basis. One thing I remember is, and I believe it was the, or one of the owners that told me this. They wanted to have their name "Parthenon" painted on the side of their building closest to Yesterdays Restaurant in large letters. The Chinese Restaurant next door owned the parking lot that went right up next to the Parthenons building, and they would not allow the Parthenon to put a boom truck on their property in order to get high enough to paint the sign. It was because this might take away business from the Chinese Restaurant. So The owners of the Parthenon hired a painter that lowered himself down the side of the building from the roof to paint the sign without setting foot on the Chinese restaurant parking lot. I remember seeing this and the Chinese were not to happy.

    Rick

    24 Aug 12 at 9:05 am

  19. Rick, that is a great story that does not surprise me at all. I have to ask, but I guess you don't have to answer. Are you the Rick from Papa Jazz?

    jonathan

    24 Aug 12 at 9:17 am

  20. Jonathan, no thats not me. I owned a Car Stereo Shop called Auto Sound Lab at the corner of Harden and Devine. It was in an old gas station at the time. I moved from there to the corner of Beltline and Two Notch in 1983 after Continental Sound moved out, and into their new building, across from Columbia Mall that looked like a stereo on the front. The old gas station in 5 points was torn down and Harpers Restaurant was built. But thanks for asking.

    Rick

    24 Aug 12 at 10:00 am

  21. Ok. Thanks for answering!!! That would have bugged me for some time! I remember your store.

    jonathan

    24 Aug 12 at 10:42 am

  22. Now this honestly was a great loss for Columbia. Still to this day I cant find better pizza than they served. And to top it off they had a very economic friendly menu. And as far as Greek restaurants go far superior to any of the other Greek places around town. Ive been to the Lexington location, but their menu is SO expensive. And the food was mediocre at best. I am excited to read about this new place they have opened, its bad enough when a business closes, but when its a family owned business makes me feel extra bad. Im taking the family to Zorbas Express tomorrow night, ill be back with my take on the food (especially the pizza)

    Paul D

    5 Oct 12 at 3:11 am

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