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The Diner, 4405 Fort Jackson Boulevard: September 2013   45 comments

Posted at 10:26 pm in Uncategorized

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As reported by commenter Mike, The Diner on Fort Jackson Boulevard just behind the new Whole Foods is closed for "renovations". I believe this place has been open for a bit over a year and a half, launching in January 2012 in the old Jesudi's etc location.

Given that they did extensive renovations on the place before opening, it's hard to imagine what needs upgrading now. While I certainly hope it is not the case here, it seems to me that more than half the times a restaurant closes for "renovations", that turns out to be more of a hope than a plan, and the closure becomes permanent.

UPDATE 24 October 2013 -- Well, looks like that's it for The Diner:

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I've taken the "remodeling" tag off the subject line.

Written by ted on September 24th, 2013

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45 Responses to 'The Diner, 4405 Fort Jackson Boulevard: September 2013'

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  1. There is something about this place that does not appeal to me. I can not say what it is exactly, but I have never had a desire to go in, not even when it was Jesudi's. It could be the way the building looks, the location, I just don't know. There is a rather new place on Leesburg Road I feel kind of the same way about, no desire to check them out, never really see any more than two cars there. Makes me think, Is the food any good? Are they going to serve food that is almost, or past the use by date, because they seem to have such few customers. It is interesting to me, having been in business for myself, to try and figure out why it is so hard for some places to attract customers, but not for others. For example, I ride by the place on Leesburg every day, the place looks clean, nice plants out front, well lit, signs advertising specials. What is it that keeps people from going in? The two cars I see each day must be the people who work there. I think if it was my place I would have as many friends as possible park there cars in the lot so we would look busy. I might offer free menu items just to get people in the door. I don't know. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

    Rick

    26 Sep 13 at 11:34 am

  2. @ Rick. I think the bottom line, and I'm sure this is not just limited to Columbia, as far as food goes, people like chains. They like knowing what they are going to get, and how much it is going to cost. They don't try new things. Why else would anybody go to Red Lobster or Olive Garden, just to name two establishments more than one time?

    It is what it is, and people are who they are.

    jonathan

    26 Sep 13 at 12:28 pm

  3. The Diner has been a mess lately. A lot of friends have had bad experiences, and every time I've been there, the place is nearly empty. Too bad.

    AW

    26 Sep 13 at 2:48 pm

  4. @ jonathan. Hmmm.... As I consider your response, it does make sense, that I am able to relate to. Thinking about the feeling I have experienced visiting a restaurant for the first time. I have found, being unfamiliar with the dishes on the menu, can be uncomfortable. Familiarity does play an important role. Checking a menu that is new to me, I will opt for a dish that I have had before. It could be anything from a Ribeye Steak, to a Quesadilla. I will shy away from something I am not "Familiar" with. Very nice observation. Any other thouths from all?

    rick

    26 Sep 13 at 5:08 pm

  5. @ AW. I also see your opinion. Maybe when I pass by the place on Leesburg, it could be assumed, a number of people have eaten there before, and I was not aware. The food, service, or atmosphere could have been unacceptable, regardless of the outside appearance. Another good observation.

    rick

    26 Sep 13 at 5:37 pm

  6. Familiarity is definitely a factor. Anytime I try a place for the first time, I'm worried if I will "waste" one of my dining opportunities on something I'm not going to like.

    On the other hand, familiarity (at least in your hometown) doesn't have to involve a chain. Think of local spots like The Kingsman, Vela's, Pizza Palace, The Mouse Trap, Grecian Gardens etc that have managed to be local and around forever.

    ted

    26 Sep 13 at 10:56 pm

  7. The one time I drove to The Diner for lunch they were closed. The one time I ate at The Wildcat Cafe on Leesburg Road the hamburger was under cooked. The one time I tried to order a takeout pizza from Ma's House of Pizza (formerly Ye Olde Sandwich Shop) the girl that answered the phone put me on hold and I hung up after being ignored for several minutes. She did call back a 1/2 hour later to apologize but the damage was done. Poor service is the norm and good service receives the repeat business.
    When Ollie's (in the former WalMart on Garners Ferry) closes I will have another poor service story to tell.

    Terry

    27 Sep 13 at 5:34 am

  8. I've heard that a large percentage of restraunts lass less than 2-3 years...I can't speak to this one, but sometimes it's an inability ot build a customer base, sometimes it's the long hours involved and the distane from family/friends that comes with that...

    AW is not the first person to leave a less than stellar review about The Diner and if word gets around among friends/family that this place isn't the best and that community reputation builds, ultimately that leads to a business that goes under...that's what I think happened to Shoney's at 800 Bush River Road (based on comments on that page after they closed)

    Andrew

    27 Sep 13 at 3:30 pm

  9. I ate at The Diner last Sunday. The menu was streamlined to say the least: there were around 5 dinner options to choose from. Cabbage and green beans were the only veggies. Not much to choose from.

    Travis

    27 Sep 13 at 7:06 pm

  10. That is a sign of a restaurant in trouble according to Ted's "Signs Your Favorite Restaurant is About to Close" (which is linked at the top...

    Andrew

    27 Sep 13 at 7:49 pm

  11. @Andrew - I think you are right on the money with 2-3 years around here. I've heard that in LA, NYC or other large cities that if a start up restaurant lasts over a year they are beating the odds.

    I love to cook but I worked in a restaurant one time and would never do it again unless it were mine.

    Homer

    28 Sep 13 at 1:25 am

  12. @Rick - concerning your initial comment. Look at Very's at 6729 Two Notch Rd.

    If you had never heard the place you would drive right by. And if you were unfamiliar with the place you may walk in and walk right back out. It's been there since '88 and I don't think they have changed the decor (or the carpet) since then. But, dammit, the food is great! I have never had anything there that wasn't good.

    Click here to check out their website and menu....If it works.

    Homer

    28 Sep 13 at 1:55 am

  13. Homer, Very's is in a stretch of Two Notch Road that I don't interact with much...the fact that they can continue despite the issues Columbia Place Mall has had in recent years is nothing to laugh at...

    Andrew

    28 Sep 13 at 8:33 am

  14. @ Homer. I could really get into a great Philly Cheesesteak. I'll give them a try.

    rick

    28 Sep 13 at 8:37 am

  15. @ Ted. I agree with your comment about "wasting a dinning opportunity" I almost get angry when a meal is "just good enough" not to get a failing grade, or deserving of a complaint, but still poor enough that I will not return. Wasted Dinning Oportunity, excellent way to describe it.
    B-B-Q place in Blythewood was just good enough.
    Have not been back.

    rick

    28 Sep 13 at 8:53 am

  16. There are a couple of restaurants on Devine St. you guys might like. Burger Tavern 77 and Cantina 76. It looks like I must have a thing for numbers, but if you crave good, thick burgers and 10 options of tacos on a menu you will like these places.

    Terry

    28 Sep 13 at 9:55 am

  17. @rick - Try the lasagna at Very's. Everyone swears by it. As for the Cheesesteak, I like mine with everything, onions, peppers shrooms (and extra cheese sometimes)!!

    Homer

    29 Sep 13 at 12:48 am

  18. @rick - BTW, did you see my post to you on the China Pearl page. I remember the Chinese restaurant you mentioned.

    Homer

    29 Sep 13 at 12:50 am

  19. Did you see where the Diner is closed for "renovations"? I don't know if that's true, or if they're in trouble of some kind. Does anyone remember when Carolina Skating Rink originally sat there until the early 70's? I still don't know why some people and road signs say "Ft. Jackson Blvd" and the one across the other side of the road says " Jackson Blvd". I've always called it "Ft. Jackson Blvd".

    semiquaver2013

    30 Sep 13 at 2:33 pm

  20. @Homer- Yes I saw your post. I did leave out the part where the Cop said the owners mentioned it was for their, if I'm not mistaken, their Korean customers, they consider it a delicacy. Yuukk! Now, I hope not to burn anyones ears, or eyes as the case may be, but this was really strange to me. I came home today, and on my kitchen counter was a flyer from "The Diner". Son of a B----, I swear I do not know where it came from or how it got here but, it says "Open Mic!" At the Diner, 4405 Jackson Blvd. September 15. 5pm- 8pm. "All talents welcome!" "Singer, Musicians, Poets, Comedians, etc!" It went on to mention drink specials, $2.00 Domestics, $1.00 PBR, $2.00 Mimosa, $2.00 Milkshakes and Specialty Coffee. $5.00 Appetizers (3 for $12) Wings, Bacon Pimento Cheese fries, Fried Pickles, Cheese Sticks and Raw Fries. Then it said "Contact Ryder at ryderthediner@gmail.com.
    Strange as hell, since I have been on this post several times recently. It may have come in the mail or newspaper, I just don't know. Somebody with more courage than me, send an e-mail and ask "Whats up with The Diner"? @Ted- Your post was written on September 24th, do you remember the day you took the pictures? And just a note about "Open Mic". I spent some time in Vermont, My Buds and I would cruise around Vermont at night checking out all of the Micro Breweries. They have quite a few. One night we saw a sign on a 4x8 sheet of plywood advertising a place called "The Skunk Hollow Tavern" Well, with a name like like, and more than a few glasses of ale under our belts, we had to check it out. It was way out in the back woods, hard to find. We stopped at what appeared to be a store of some sort and asked a fellow out front if he could direct us to the "Skunk Hole Tavern" Oh sh--, do not call it "Skunk Hole" it is "Skunk Hollow Tavern" anyway, we found it. It was in an old New England style house, two story. Five Star Restraunt upstairs, some world renown Chef, and a killer tavern downstairs. I have not tried myself, but look it up on the web. It was "Open Mic Night" maybe not unlike "Open Mic" at The Diner. It was awesome. After a while a group of, maybe 12 people came in the front door and sat down at a large table that I had noticed, as crowded as they were, no one was sitting. After the group sat down,
    I thought I recognized one of the people. Our waiter came back around and I asked him "Who is that guy that looks familiar to me" It was Charles Bronson, he owned a 100+ acre farm not far from The "Skunk "HOLE" Tavern" and came in with his entourage. The waiter said he comes in all the time. Well I considered going over to introduce myself, but it did not feel right. Anyway, I'll shut up now.

    rick

    30 Sep 13 at 3:12 pm

  21. The correct name of the street is "Jackson Blvd." as listed on Google Maps and the I-77 exit signs. I believe the name of the street is to honor Andrew Jackson as does the Fort's name.

    Mike

    30 Sep 13 at 5:09 pm

  22. Mike, you are correct in saying that it is Jackson Blvd. at the I-77 exit sign, but somewhere along the way (not sure where) it becomes known as Ft. Jackson Blvd. between I-77 and Devine Street...

    Andrew

    1 Oct 13 at 3:02 pm

  23. That's because the City of Columbia can't decide what the correct name is--they use both names on street signs--probably out of ignorance. I trust Google Maps which calls it "Jackson Blvd."

    Mike

    1 Oct 13 at 5:39 pm

  24. @Mike- I agree, I have lived in Columbia all my life, and for the sake of me I can not understand some of the things the city does. I work with, and know people from up north, and some have a, should I say, a poor perception of southerners. I DO NOT agree with them ,although I can see why they think as they do. I get frustrated and angry at the dumb decisions that are made by our, so called, smart people. Not that I am any smarter, but damn.

    rick

    1 Oct 13 at 7:19 pm

  25. When I used to have my Birthday Skating parties at the old Carolina Skating Rink, the street was known at "Jackson Blvd", but on the other side of the road it still has FT. Jackson Blvd. It's been that way for as long as I can remember since the 60's.

    semiquaver2013

    4 Oct 13 at 2:02 pm

  26. semiquaver2013 reminds me...my late grandmother knew it as Jackson Blvd. and I used to advise her I knew it as Ft. Jackson Blvd. and I now think that neither one of us had it correct 100%...but at this end it has always been Ft. Jackson Blvd. to me...

    Andrew

    4 Oct 13 at 3:57 pm

  27. Interestingly, there is an unrelated "Jackson Blvd" within Fort Jackson--and that's what Google Maps maps to on my display. Similarly, SC Hwy 760 is clearly marked as "Fort Jackson Blvd."

    badger

    4 Oct 13 at 4:43 pm

  28. A month ago Google maps had it labelled "Jackson Blvd." however I looked just now and it now says "Fort Jackson Blvd." Now I don't know who's right and who's wrong.

    It's sorta like "South Main St.". There is no "South Main St." in Columbia but people persist in calling the segment of Main St. that's south of the capitol by that. Columbia is a fest of misnomers--roads that change names just because you went through an intersection--streets with multiple names--and stores and buildings that you know by what used to be there..... ;-)

    Mike

    5 Oct 13 at 6:42 am

  29. The original owners got out before the "first renovation" which was earlier this year if I remember correctly. Apparently the new owners have also thrown in the towel as CayceKid reported the sign in front has been updated to the "naked florescent tube" mode.

    Mike

    15 Oct 13 at 3:25 pm

  30. To add to what Mike says about the street name changes...the thing that gets me about downtown Columbia is the number of streets that stop at different points only to pick up again a few blocks later...

    Andrew

    25 Oct 13 at 12:02 am

  31. I still say they (whomever THEY are) need to tear down that Diner building and rebuild The Carolina Skating Rink. Why doesn't someone buy the old Kmart property and build a multi-plex theater there? There's nothing on this side of town, and no one goes to the upper level of Richland Mall to the theater there anymore, and Dutch Square's Theater is as dead as the Latin language. Columbia isn't the brightest light bulb when it comes to doing things logically.

    CayceKid

    25 Oct 13 at 10:04 am

  32. CayceKid, Kmart's old space is about to undergo redevelopment as something called Rosewood Crossing to be anchored by Marshall's, Petsmart and Micheal's

    I wouldn't be surprised, with things the way they are, that more and more people get priced out of theaters because of the cost of everything there...not that I have any ill wishes, but I am outside their target demographic as I am not a big movie watcher anyway. AMC is one at Dutch Square that is very likely one of the key things keeping that mall going (though I can see where Dutch Square feels dead to someone who knew it in its pre-Columbiana days). Richland Mall is going to need a major overhaul of some sort...

    I wonder about skating rinks. There was one on St. Andrews Road in Irmo called Skater's Choice (now a wedding mall) and I went there a few times back in the 90s for birthday parties but I can't know how it'd catch on today...

    Andrew

    25 Oct 13 at 11:00 am

  33. My husband and I ate here months ago. Good food, lots of choices. Then we went

    Diane

    26 Oct 13 at 10:21 pm

  34. My husband and i ate here a while back. Good prices, food and service, lots of selection. We go back and it was awful. Very few selections, poor prices, and services. Saw they were closed for remodeling, thought maybe they'd improve. Now the sign is gone and it appears it's gone for good. there's a lot that place would need before we would go back. Hope those with groupons got their money back..

    Diane

    26 Oct 13 at 10:28 pm

  35. The Skating Rink in Irmo was called Irmo SkateLand or Skate Land, or as we called it "The C-Mint Pond". Richland Mall needs to be torn down AGAIN, but leave the old JB White's store and rebuild the Mall as is used to be through the mid 80's before it was torn down. It did better then..and would now. Theaters are still "in", but there's NO theater on the GF side of town unless you count the old Richland Mall theater that I don't know if it's still there or not. Skating rinks are a thing of the 80's on back..just like Skate Board Parks. Time will tell what's gonna happen with the old Kmart Property.

    CayceKid

    27 Oct 13 at 5:38 pm

  36. I always knew it as Skater's Choice..but never cared much about skating...then it finally closed and The Wedding Mall is in their old spot...

    As far as Richland Mall goes, I don't know what is best but I think they need to land something like Crate & Barrel, JC Penney, Macy's, Lord & Taylor or perhaps another department store that people drive to places like Charlotte, Greenville/Spartanburg or Charleston for. I think if Centruy Capital Group and Kahn Development were smart, they'd cut a deal with one of them to bring someone in and I think it would set wheels in motion to bring new life into Richland Mall...

    As far as Kmart at Ft. Jackson goes, I think the plan is to overhaul it shortly after the new year to overhaul it into a shopping center called Rosewood Crossing to have PetSmart, Marshall's and Micheal's...it is something that we'll have to watch unfold in the new year...

    Andrew

    27 Oct 13 at 9:17 pm

  37. @CK -- I don't know.. I've been to both the Dutch Square and Richland Mall theaters several times within the last year, and both seemed to be doing a pretty good business.

    I like Regal because it's fun to watch how they keep updating the mono-rail policy trailer..

    ted

    27 Oct 13 at 11:03 pm

  38. They could reopen the theaters at Columbia East.

    tonkatoy

    28 Oct 13 at 6:52 am

  39. The Gamecock Theater at Parkland Plaza did well when it first opened, but then went downhill in the 80's I think. Columbia East Theaters went down the commode back in the 80's too I think. I had heard that someone had died in there while watching a movie, and the ushers found him thinking he was sleeping or something...but I could have heard wrong. If it's true, then that place is haunted, and I wouldn't go in there now.

    CayceKid

    28 Oct 13 at 11:11 am

  40. It appears this site is reopening as "Sammiches" (if I remember it correctly). I assume they specialize in sandwiches.

    Mike

    31 Dec 13 at 6:12 pm

  41. I remember a place far out Garners Ferry Road called Granny's Kitchen, The way I believe it happened is the older people that owned it passed it on to the youngsters and they renamed it "The Kitchen" I can just imagine the Younger people shortening the name to "The Kitchen" because it sounded cooler than Granny's Kitchen. Probably a mistake as it did not last long afterwards. The Dinner reminds me of that. A dinner that was designed to look like some of the old dinners, that looked like a railroad car from the past would probably do well in Columbia, but this place does not look like a dinner in my opinion. Because of the way this area of town is reinventing its self with the addition of Whole Foods, Moes, Smash Burger and on and on, this place could be a great opportunity for someone if it was handled correctly.

    Rick

    1 Jan 14 at 12:01 pm

  42. Let me add to what Rick said about the area reinventing itself that in 2014 this area is to welcome a PDQ in the former Burger King as well as a former Kmart that is to be redeveloped to feature PetSmart, Marshall's and Micheal's in a new shopping development called Rosewood Crossing.

    If my grandmother were still with us, she would have wanted it to have a restaurant with name recognition...something that Harbison and/or Northeast has but Rosewood/Garners Ferry doesn't.

    Andrew

    1 Jan 14 at 9:11 pm

  43. I do not believe this location will work today unless the front entryway is remodeled and the old, small windows are replaced. The building itself is not inviting.

    On a different note I stopped in at American Roadside Burgers around the corner next to Whole Foods the other evening and they have delicious food and lots of wall mounted TVs. I recommend the double chili cheeseburger with the fries/rings combo and a Budweiser. Good way to end the Christmas shopping season. A happy and prosperous new year to all readers of this board.

    Terry

    2 Jan 14 at 3:56 am

  44. It might work better if they turned the insides around so that the back parking lot entrance became the front -- the current front is just too close to the road to be inviting. Of course, that would be (another) total refit.

    Here's the State article on the initial "Diner" incarnation. Seems to have been an upscale guy trying to balance a more basic concept

    ted

    3 Jan 14 at 12:20 am

  45. I stopped in Sammiches recently, and I really hope they can make a go of it. It's run by the same person who started the 2108 State Street restaurant (which he is apparently no longer affiliated with). The menu is reminiscent of the old Diner menu (so it's definitely not just a sandwich shop), but I think the quality is a little better.

    badger

    15 Feb 14 at 10:54 pm

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