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Drake's Restaurant, 2436 Taylor Street: 1977   21 comments

Posted at 12:00 am in Uncategorized


Columbia, S. C.

Best food on Highway One, north of Columbia. A spe-
cialty Restaurant serving good clean food. So duck in at
Drakes and enjoy a delicious meal.


Columbia, S. C.
Best food on Highway one, north of Columbia. A specialty
Restaurant serving good clean food. So duck in at Drake's
and enjoy a delicious meal.





"Good Clean Food" -- I'm not sure I've ever seen that exact phrase used as a selling point before..

Over the years I've been running Columbia Closings I've gotten a number of requests for Drake's Restaurant on Taylor Street. I've never done much about it because we never ate there, and I really didn't remember the place, and because the building was gone.

Recently though, I was searching an online postcard site, and found two good postcards of Drake's. As fate would have it, commenter Dennis emailed me the same day with a copy of one of the same postcard images, saying:

This is Drake's Restaurant that stood on the southeast corner of Two
Notch/Millwood and Forest Drive. It's been long demolished and is now
a Church's Chicken. This view is from the south on Millwood. My family
ate there a lot in the early 1960s. It was a nice, quiet, "white
tablecloth" place that I truly miss. The Drakes ran a florist business
in the same building, no doubt doing a lot of business with Providence
Hospital patients across the street. And Yes, there is a connection to
Drake's Duck-In on Main Street, or at least there was originally.

I'm not sure what years these cards are from. I'm confident however, that the first card is earlier, as you can see that the roof air-conditioning units are the old wooden-slat type, while in the next card they are more modern.

I'm not sure when Drake's was started either. It *is* listed in the 1954 Southern Bell phonebook, the first one available at the RCPL. That, and subsequent phonebooks up to 1960 give the address as simply "Taylor Street". The December 1961 book is the first one to give the street number of "2436 Taylor Street". As far as I can tell, the place never bought a full yellow-pages ad. However, also starting in the December 1961 book, it did start buying a small box ad (pictured above) touting its "Go Service" wherein you could phone in your order and pick it up to go. This continued (with the same design and text) through the final listing for Drake's, which was in the January 1977 phonebook.

As Dennis mentions, the Drake's address is now a Church's Chicken fast food outlet, which is a completely new building.

One thing about the whole situation which blows my mind is that Drake's had (and Church's has) a Taylor Street address. If there was anything I thought I knew, it was that Taylor Street was West of Millwood and Forest Drive was East of Millwood. Full stop end of story. There's probably some sort of street re-routing story there...

(Hat tip to commenter Dennis, and a few others over the years)

Written by ted on September 13th, 2012

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21 Responses to 'Drake's Restaurant, 2436 Taylor Street: 1977'

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  1. It's Forest Drive. The USPS doesn't recognize that as a Taylor Street address. And that sort of thing is not unusual, where some street, road, or, in this case an individual address, is locally called other than its official name or a USPS-approved alternate name.


    13 Sep 12 at 8:02 am

  2. To the knowledge this the same as Drakes DuckIn on Main St? Is that location worth visiting? I've always been reluctant and have thoughts of a generic greasy burger with dismal surroundings but perhaps I would be surprised.


    13 Sep 12 at 12:13 pm

  3. @badger -- I can't speak for what the Post Office will or won't do, but 2436 Taylor Street is still the address Church's lists in the phonebook..

    @peter -- Here's something on Drake's Duck In from the Cheeseburger Crawl folks. Still never been myself (that I can remember).


    13 Sep 12 at 12:43 pm

  4. Peter,

    No idea if this is the same owner as the Drake's Duck In on Main Street, but I have eaten there. What I had (which I admit was limited to the hamburger, hot dog and fries) was pretty generic and it was just a place to run in for lunch. Not nearly as good as the old Palmetto Sandwich Shop. It seems to me that I heard their Chicken was quite good, but that's not really my thing. So, take my review for what it is worth. It won't kill you and you might like the food.


    13 Sep 12 at 12:59 pm

  5. Judging from the cars, I would say the photo is from the late 50s-early sixties. The big sign was later moved to Millwood Avenue where they had a samll grill behind the big restaurant. I ate there with my folks a couple of times, I would compare it to an upscale version of Shoney's. Incidently, they used to advertise a lot on WIS Radio.


    13 Sep 12 at 2:55 pm

  6. I forgot to add that Dave WQright was the pitch man for the restaurant.


    13 Sep 12 at 2:56 pm

  7. Ted, right. Your earlier point about where Taylor Street ends is also correct. The last address spot available for it is 2399, according to the USPS. But that doesn't stop the store owners over the past numerous decades from having it listed in the phone book as Taylor instead of Forest, since the USPS doesn't control the phone book content.


    13 Sep 12 at 3:15 pm

  8. Addresses are (as I understa'nd it) actually assigned by the water department based on where your meter is located. Friends of mine building in the "Hamptons" behind Woodhill Mall had a choice of 2 addresses on 2 streets depending on where their water service was to be connected.


    13 Sep 12 at 5:39 pm

  9. The Columbia Water Department had my service address at a former residence at a number that wasn't even in the street number range. The road I was on had a route and box number that was converted to a street address. The box numbers ran less than 200, and the street numbers ran 2000 and above. The street I was on was 1160! Where they came up with that is anyone's guess. The mailing address on the bill, though, came to my real address.


    13 Sep 12 at 6:55 pm

  10. Drakes Restaurant was started by my great-grandfather, James Drake and was later run mostly by my great-grandmother, Jane "Mammie" Drake and my grandfather, James "Jimmy" Drake. We used to spend a lot of time there....many memories. The florist (located just behind the restaurant) was run by my grandfather's sister, DeLaine Drake. As for Drake's Duck-In..yes there used to be a family connection, but not sure there is at present.

    jodi salter

    5 Oct 13 at 10:15 am

  11. Too bad Drakes was torn down after all those years being in the same spot at Two Notch/Forrest Drive. But I do remember "Duck-In" when it was downtown in the 60's.


    5 Oct 13 at 3:14 pm

  12. I have many good memories of Drake's Duck-In on Main over the years so last year while Christmas shopping at Mast I decided to treat my daughter to lunch at Drake's. While walking to the counter the girl at the register was yelling at someone in the back and this continued until she walked into the back herself. After she did not return for a couple of minutes we left. The perception of a business is all about the quality of personnel and my daughter and I perceived we won't be going back to the Duck-In. Sad, really.


    6 Oct 13 at 6:14 am

  13. Thanks so much for sharing your information about Drake's. My grandmother, Nita Blitchington Jenkins, worked for Mammie Drake in the early 50's. She has shared such fond memories of Mammie and Pappy Drake. Nita and Bill Jenkins were actually married at Mammie Drake's house in 1954. I know she will enjoy seeing the picture of the old restaurant.

    Jan Williamson

    9 Feb 14 at 11:08 am

  14. Drakes was owned by Ted ? and wife, Patty in 1957. Juanita Blitchington did work there at that time. Best strawberry cream pie in south carolina as well the shakes and cheeseburgers.

    Liz Wodkins

    13 May 16 at 2:15 pm

  15. The Duck-In was originally located at 1430 Main Street in Columbia, SC. It was between Eison's Florist's & Friedmond's' Jewelers ... Dr. Jim Pike's optometrist office was upstairs! The Duck-In was owned & operated by my grandparents, Russ "Pappy" & Sarah "Sadie" Drake and my uncle W Russell "Bucky"Drake. The house specialty was a chicken basket with 2 pieces of chicken, cole slaw & 2 dinner roles & sold for 39 cents in 1963 when the restaurant opened. We made our own hot dog chili, our own Bar-B-Que & BBQ Sauce, along with our chicken salad, egg salad, macaroni salad, carrot salad, congealed salad and cole slaw ...Tasty Bake Shop provided our pies & the chicken came from Holly Farms. Steve Rowland worked for our family before he purchased the business and is probably responsible for our chicken sandwich

    Hugh G Bell, Jr.

    19 May 17 at 3:06 pm

  16. becoming so popular! Steve owned and operated The Duck-In up until about a year ago when he sold it to 2 local young men ... I played football at USC with one of the owners dad! ... I will attempt to nail down some dates on the Duck In as well as on Drakes Restaurant ... What I remember most about my Aunt Janie & Uncle Francis's restaurant was the Treasure Chest (full of toys) and watching Uncle Francis in the window in his big chef's hat! I also loved the deserts ... pastry cups filled with custard and fruit topped with whipped cream! Great memories ....

    Hugh G Bell, Jr.

    19 May 17 at 3:15 pm

  17. I know this place was there until the 1980's when it was torn down and that nasty Church's Chicken place was built in its place. That side of town has really gone downhill since everything else in Columbia. Too bad.

    Del Bazemore

    22 May 17 at 10:17 am

  18. Ted, just from that one column of the Yellow Pages you should have enough closings to keep you busy for a month.

    Joe Shlabotnik

    22 May 17 at 11:10 pm

  19. I worked at Drake's restaurant from 1969 to 1972 along with my stepdad. I also cut grass at the house on Saturday morning and worked at the restaurant that night. I have some interesting memories from this employment. It was a major factor in helping me to realize what I wanted to do with my life. If my memory is correct, one daughter ran the Florist Shop and one sone had a construction company. some of the names that I remember are Tiny, Pop, Ms. Bishop.

    Dr. Charles Basham

    3 Feb 19 at 11:14 pm

  20. In 1942, J. Francis Drake left the family florist business in the capable hands of his wife, Janie, and opened Drake’s Fiesta restaurant in an old automobile service station at 2101 Main Street. In 1945-1946, he and his sons, Jimmy and Logan, built a new building at 2020 Main Street and moved the business there as Drake’s Restaurant. Then, in 1950, Francis, Janie, and Logan opened Drake’s Home & Garden Supplies on Taylor Street and turned the family restaurant business over to Jimmy Drake. Jimmy opened a second location at 2436 Taylor Street in February 1951 and the Main Street restaurant was sold later that year. The Taylor Street restaurant closed in 1977.

    Here’s the connection with Drake’s Duck-in. Francis Drake’s younger brother, W. Russell Drake, had operated the Parkway Grill at 749 Saluda Avenue from 1943 until 1947 when he sold it to Walter Kester. Then, after retiring from the state tax commission some 20 years later, he opened Drake’s Duck-In at 1430 Main Street in 1967. At some point before Russell died in 1978, he retired again, and employee Steve Rowland took over ownership of Drake’s Duck-In. During the 1980s and 1990s, Rowland had to move the restaurant three times due to the “wrecking ball of progress”, to 1441 Main, 1513 Main and 1544 Main where it still operates today. In 2015, Rowland retired and sold Drake’s Duck-In to Daniel Boan and Matthew Bridges.

    There were also Drake’s Duck-In restaurants at Columbia Mall for a short time in 1977 and at Outlet Pointe Mall from 1987 to 1991.


    26 Feb 20 at 3:05 pm

  21. There was going to be one in Edisto Beach in the late 90’s but it never happened. If I remember correctly, there was one in 5 points briefly.


    26 Mar 24 at 10:19 am

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