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Wendy's, 2089 North Beltline Blvd: 23 March 2014   36 comments

Posted at 12:04 am in closing












When Wendy's first arrived in Columbia (at two notch in Dentsville), it was one of my favorite places. You could place your order, pay, and pick up a, good, customized, burger almost without slowing down. Of course, I was only about 12 then, so my tastes were bound to change, and anyway the stores seemed to get slower and slower as the years went on. So it is that I believe the most recent Wendy's burger I've had was about five years ago on a trip to Aiken.

Still, even though I wasn't stopping in, I've always been surprised to see the stores close, first on Two Notch, then at the beach, and now here on Beltline by Richland Mall. They did a very fast tear-down of this store to include signage, order boards and drive-through menus. Looks like the register is still booted though..

(Hat tips to commenter Chris & my sister)

UPDATE 26 March 2014 -- Some daylight pix:







36 Responses to 'Wendy's, 2089 North Beltline Blvd: 23 March 2014'

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  1. I remember going to this one in the 80s. The service was never good and you always had to double-check that they got your order right.


    25 Mar 14 at 4:55 am

  2. That's the case at any Wendy's I go to. It's like every day you go there is their entire shift's first day.


    25 Mar 14 at 8:17 am

  3. Agreed, I used to love Wendy's but now they seem to be almost universally bad. My wife and I drive past this location frequently when headed to Whole Foods and have always commented on how empty it always was.


    25 Mar 14 at 9:38 am

  4. I have found their new "hot and juicy" burgers to be neither hot nor juicy. They should never have messed with the burgers! If it ain't broke....


    25 Mar 14 at 9:55 am

  5. Just my opinion: The Wendy's hamburgers are the best of the big chains. But they're still mostly tasteless.


    25 Mar 14 at 10:19 am

  6. As long as there's Rush's, Five Guys, and Cook-Out (probably Smash Burger too, but I still haven't made it) I can't understand why someone around here would go to any of the big four burger chains.


    25 Mar 14 at 12:33 pm

  7. I have thought for a long time that Wendy's was really good fast food place and still do. I just think the restaurants are run down. They have not updated in the last 20 years id guess. I know they have a new concept out but I have not seen it around here. Maybe the new one on Assembly St. will be one.


    25 Mar 14 at 2:41 pm

  8. I agree Wendy's you to be better than Burger King, McDonald's and Hardee's. Like anything else the thrill is gone. I was wondering on West Beltline Blvd it seems to me not much of new places are opening up?


    25 Mar 14 at 6:22 pm

  9. Don't forget Edna's!!!!!!!


    25 Mar 14 at 8:17 pm

  10. I don't think they ever recovered from Dave Thomas passing away.


    25 Mar 14 at 8:35 pm

  11. Chick-Fil-A will probably suffer the same if the Cathy family ever lose or give up control of it. It will turn into just another 24/7/365 joint that will start experimenting with all kinds of off the wall creations like all of the other fast food restaurants.


    25 Mar 14 at 10:17 pm

  12. I find the closing of any Wendy's and the comments on this post interesting. In my experience, fewer Wendy's close than any of the other big four burger chains. Of the four, I have seen more Hardee's close in my time. Burger King tends to be second among the four. This of course is more than just Columbia. I have lived in Indianapolis, Baltimore, and the Pittsburgh area before moving here. I have not experienced the ills with Wendy's that everyone has posted. I generally go to the one in Lexington, Harbison, or Lake Murray Blvd., although admittedly I don't go there often.


    25 Mar 14 at 10:21 pm

  13. I don't really have a problem with Wendy's (at least the one in Irmo). They still have one of the better burgers as far as the fast food chains go. I still love a Whopper once in a while, as well. Mickey D's and Hardee's can keep their fare. I tried Smashburger once and was not that impressed at all.

    The best burgers in town (IMHO) are Five Guys, Rush's, Zesto's, Whataburger and Edna's.


    26 Mar 14 at 12:04 am

  14. I think Smashburger actually has a better burger than Five Guys, but Five Guys has way better fries, so it's still a toss-up. OTOH, Smash has comfortable booths and Five Guys has uncomfortable chairs. But Five Guys has peanuts. Argh! Call it a tie.


    26 Mar 14 at 12:37 am

  15. Maybe it was because Smashburger was packed and had people waiting in line when I tried it but it was just not a burger that I'd go running back for anytime soon.


    26 Mar 14 at 12:48 am

  16. And, yes, the fries at Smashburger left a lot to be desired!!


    26 Mar 14 at 12:49 am

  17. I felt that Smashburger was pricey the time i went. Five Guys I like but only go about once a year because of how high it is. Another one I like but only occasionally eat at because of price is Fuddrucker's.

    Wendy's I've had varying feelings towards. They to me are a step above McDonald's but not quite as good as Burger King or Cookout. Plus I'm not keen on counter service restaurants that lack a self-serve beverage bar and which has made me less inclined to eat at Wendy's. I've come to enjoy a couple of lemonade options on the Coco-Cola Freestyle that has appeared at most Brandi, Inc. Burger Kings as well.

    I think that if Wendy's upgraded their locations to look like the recently remodeled Assembly Street location (which has the Freestyle) that I'd be more inclined to eat there.

    I like Rush's and always get their burger with a milkshake. I've only been to Whataburger once and felt like their burger tasted similar to Rush's.


    26 Mar 14 at 2:43 am

  18. @Homer. I remember Edna's. Great place, interesting paintings. I'm back at working in this area again. Another place to get a good burger is the Mouse Trap in the Kitrell center in the St. Julian Dr. vicinity. I usually get the meat & 3 special for lunch though. They've also got the best Rueben I've ever had at a restaurant.

    I also miss Willoughby's that used to be in the area.


    26 Mar 14 at 4:47 am

  19. I was not a fan of Smashburger when we tried it. Seemed expensive for what it was. Five Guys is ok. I haven't eaten there in a long time because the grease is too much for me. I tried Rush's when we first moved here on the recommendation of our realtor. Never understood what the all the hype was about. I think for a burger I like Red Robin the best, but that's not the same thing. They are not fast food. I need to try Whataburger and Fuddruckers (another non-fast food). I also need to try the Quaker Steak and Lube which I think I saw out towards Clemson Road off I-20. My wife is familiar with the chain and says they are good.

    Columbia needs a White Castle and a Steak & Shake. I know they had a Steak & Shake in Harbison, but that was before I moved here and I don't really know why they didn't make it.


    26 Mar 14 at 8:59 am

  20. Rosewood Dairy Bar has a good burger. I think they are owned by Zesto though. The taste is the same and one time I went my drink came in a Zesto cup.

    I went to Smashburger one time, went inside, placed an order to go. I was sitting watching all the to go orders go out. The guy handling the to go orders called a customers name, the customer came up, dug through the bag pulling out fries, opening burgers lifting the buns, looking inside the burgers, and then determined it was not his order. The guy handling the orders put everything back in the bag the customer was digging in and put the bag back on the shelf where orders sit ready to go out. He called another customer to pick up an order, then picked up the bag the other customer was digging in and called my name. I got up and said "I don't want that, You let some other guy dig all around in there touching my food." The Manager was standing there by then and the guy handling the to go orders said "No I didn't." I told him I was sitting five feet from you and saw everything, don't lie about it, then I started getting angry. The Manager tried to defuse the situation asking me what I wanted to do. I got a new order and $20.00 in gift certificates. I watched them prepare my next order but have not been back, I made a pretty big fuss about it that day. But that guy knew he was lying and he knew I knew he was lying, maybe not at first, but he did by the time I got finished with him. I hate it when someone lies to me.


    26 Mar 14 at 10:18 am

  21. I was most dismayed to learn that the What-A-Burger around here isn't part of the Whataburger chain based in Texas. If you haven't had one from that chain, it's magical. The closest one's in Jacksonville though.


    26 Mar 14 at 11:43 am

  22. @Jason-I was in Dallas about six months ago and you are right, the What-A Burger's there are slammin. I also ate at a place called Taco Bueno (I belive the name to be correct) and there was another burger joint I ate at, can't remember the name but they were all a lot better than what one can get around here. I also ate at a steak house in Ennis Texas, about 30 minutes south of Dallas called Bubba's steak House, Damn they had a good steak. What-A-Burger here was really good years ago, maybe back in the 1970's. we would drive from the east side of Columbia to their location near I think it's called Triangle Center or City. They may have been associated with the Texas chain then, not sure. What-A-Burger moved from their original location since then, but the old building looked like the ones in Texas.


    26 Mar 14 at 4:13 pm

  23. @James. I tried Fudrucker's once. The burgers are *REALLY* good, but also *REALLY* pricy.


    26 Mar 14 at 5:01 pm

  24. I've never enjoyed Wendy's.


    26 Mar 14 at 7:06 pm

  25. You guys are making me hungry, listing off all the hamburger joints. I must be a burger whore because I like 'em all. Some are more expensive than others and all the brands have their own unique tastes.
    I grew tired of McDonald's years ago when it was the only place my daughter wanted to go when she was young. After a decade of avoiding them I stopped in for a Quarter Pounder recently and really enjoyed it.


    27 Mar 14 at 12:19 pm

  26. @Terry- I know, every now and then I can stop at a McDonalds, and if they fix it the way I think it is supposed to be fixed, hot, fresh, not "Slapped" together, a Quarter Pounder with Cheese is really good. I say the way it is supposed to be fixed because I think McDonalds created some decent food, it's just that around here the local McDonalds do not make the burgers as Corporate McDonalds intended they be made due to poor training or poor management.

    For example, years ago I was a assistant Manager at Burger King, I went to "Whopper School", they taught us that every burger from here to everywhere needs to be made exactly the same way, so no matter where you may be, it taste just like anywhere else.

    I'll explain the construction of a Whopper. The bun consist of a heel and a crown, the crown being the top of the bun that has the sesame seeds, the heel being the bottom.
    Starting out with the crown, smear, (my new word now) mayo on, next using one of those plastic catsup, or is it ketchup bottles with the squirt nozzle on it, starting from the outside of the bun, apply catsup in a circular motion from the outside of the bun to the middle. Place two tomato slices down next, evenly spaced, not on top of each other. Never use the very top or bottom of the tomato. Next apply lettuce on top of the tomato's.
    Now on the heel apply mustard in the same manner as the ketchup, then evenly space four pickle slices, never on top of each other, lay down two raw onion rings. On top of the onion rings place the burger patty then cheese slice if a cheese burger. Assemble the two halves and wrap in the correct wax paper wrapper.

    The idea here is #1. The burger should taste the same way, all the way through the burger from the first bite to the last bite, you know what I mean, do you not hate a burger that taste okay on the first bite but then you get a mouthful of ketchup, pickles, onions or whatever in the next bite because the ingredients where stacked on top of each other, say the pickles, then the last few bites had no pickles at all. #2. This way if you are in Columbia S.C. or Osaka Japan, the burger taste the same, all the way through, from first to last bite.

    Thank you very much, I still build most of my homemade burgers this way to this day.

    Next time I'll tell you about an "Inside-Out" Burger.


    27 Mar 14 at 5:36 pm

  27. I tried Zesto this evening. It was alright. If we were in the area, I might stop again, but I didn't find anything special about it to drive in from Lexington. The burger itself had very little taste and was obviously a frozen patty from its perfectly round shape. The bun was a classic bun from a 1950s burger joint. My impression was the entire burger needed to be updated from its 1950 image.

    @MrBO - When I looked at Fuddrucker's prices online, they seemed to be in line with Red Robin, just ala carte. I think what makes them expensive is they seem to charge for each individual topping.


    27 Mar 14 at 7:39 pm

  28. The thing I like about places like Zesto, Rush's, Whataburger, Edna's, etc. is that there is nothing fancy or pretentious about their burgers. They are nice and simple, the way a burger should be.


    27 Mar 14 at 9:25 pm

  29. @Rick - that's the thing I do like about BK. Consistency. I've never had a Whopper (especially a double beef one) that I didn't like from first bite to the last.

    I have noticed that Mickey D's has done 'something' with their meat compared to the past. Not to long ago, I broke down and picked up a Quarter Pounder and was surprised at how much more flavor it had than I remember.


    27 Mar 14 at 9:51 pm

  30. Here is The State story on the closing of the Beltline store and the re-opening of the Assembly store. Note this:

    The unique building on Assembly Street is designed to look like a two-story structure because that’s what City of Columbia design standards required in that area, Dolbier said.

    Really, how much more pointlessly meddlesome can the city get?


    27 Mar 14 at 11:35 pm

  31. Had my first Cookout burger when back in Cola town recently and was not impressed. What is all the fuss about? And nobody even mentioned Sonic burgers either way. I think they are decent. The best (from a drive through at least) is Back Yard Burgers. I think there is one in Greenville, try it when you are up that way. Hope Cola gets one soon, and the town in down south I live in now.


    27 Mar 14 at 11:42 pm

  32. I remembered the other burger joint I ate at in Texas that was pretty good, and when I say that, maybe it was just because the places I ate at, were different from what I am accustomed to here. The name of the place is IN and Out Burger.


    28 Mar 14 at 4:53 am

  33. Cookout burgers are small, like an elementary school cafeteria burger. My kids wanted to go there yesterday but I opted for Buffalo Wild Wings instead.


    28 Mar 14 at 5:46 am

  34. I guess no commentators have ever lived on the west coast. Surely someone would have mentioned In-N-Out Burger. It's been, at least, 15 years since I've had one of their burgers, but I still remember how delicious they were. Burgers, Fries, soda...that's all they sold. Like three menu items total. They've probably expanded into everything including sushi and tacos in the last 15 years. LOL.


    5 Apr 14 at 8:54 am

  35. The follow-on restaurant here, Golden Chick, has closed.


    18 Feb 19 at 11:44 am

  36. I'm surprised the golden chick lasted as long as it did. I ate there once and thought it was overpriced and the staff was,I guess unprofessional would be the best word.


    19 Feb 19 at 12:13 pm

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