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Hombre's / Dino's, 1801 Decker Boulevard: 25 May 2014   37 comments

Posted at 11:23 pm in Uncategorized




31 January 2010:
















31 May 2014:



























If I ever ate at Dino's, it was probably in the 1960s. I have the vague feeling that we did stop there, but that was so long ago it's hard to be sure. Certainly that place, like Zesto has the aesthetic of that era. I probably would have gone in the 1980s when I developed a taste for Greek Salad, but by that time I was living out of town.

I don't know when the original "Dino" retired or sold the restaurant, but for many years it was run by Steve Kim. Tragically, Mr. Kim was murdered, at the restaurant, on 22 February 2011. This senseless crime was part of a bizarre spree by a career criminal who shot and killed himself as police finally caught up with him. Mr. Kim's son-in-law stepped into the breach, and the family was able to re-open the restaurant and carry on for several years. Now the place is closed once more, it it remains to be seen what will take its place.

(Hat tip to commenter Sidney)

UPDATE6 June 2014 -- It turns out the place was called Hombre's in the beginning, or at least before it was Dino's. Hombre's is in the 1970 phonebook and Dino's is in the 1976 one, so it changed sometime before the mid 1970s.

I have added the 1976 Bellsouth ad for Dinos and the 1970 ad for Hombre's.

Written by ted on June 3rd, 2014

Tagged with , , , ,

37 Responses to 'Hombre's / Dino's, 1801 Decker Boulevard: 25 May 2014'

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  1. When I worked at the Carolina Research park, I ate there infrequently. They had the best Gyros. Sad to see the place go.


    4 Jun 14 at 4:45 am

  2. I never ate there. I drove past Dino's many times on my way to one place or another.
    It seems like the few times I drove past, was hungry and had some extra time, they always appeared to be closed.
    Of those few times, I would have stopped if I thought they had been open.
    I had no idea they were in business as long as they were.


    4 Jun 14 at 7:09 am

  3. @MrBo- I worked in Carolina Research Park for a while.
    Late 90's.


    4 Jun 14 at 7:11 am

  4. R.I.P. DINO's!!! This is probably the worst news, and the most significant post on this site in quite some time as far as I am concerned. It backs up to a neighborhood where I grew up. My friends and I would ride our bikes up there to play video games. I started eating there in the '80s as a kid. Mr. Dino and his awesome wife opened and ran the place for years. They were as Greek as you could get, and it showed in the food. They were extremely friendly, welcoming, and courteous. The salads, Soulvaki, gyros, fried chicken, & sweet tea were simply delicious every time. The sweet tea was rivaled only by a few of the heavy hitters in Columbia. They were the only Greek place that I have ever found that had a tomato based BBQy sauce in addition to the yogurt based tzatziki go on the Gyro. Not a big fan of creamy condiments, so this was huge with me. They had a particular greek seasoning that went on the fries, and a greek dressing that they would put feta cheese on top. Thjey eventually sold to Mr. Kim. He seemed to use the same recipes throughout the years. I moved away from Columbia about 13 yrs ago, and my family moved across town. However, I made sure to go eat at Dino's when I came in town even if I had just eaten something with the family. It was that good. What a BUMMER! I am truly sad that this place has closed down. R.I.P DINO's!!!!


    4 Jun 14 at 11:11 am

  5. @Rick - I worked for DSI starting in the 1980. Sold later to Philadelphia Suburban, then to SCT. We moved from Forrest Drive to the Carolina research park in 1995, later sold to Indus, then changed their name to Ventyx when they closed up the Columbia shop in 2008. As I understand it, they were sold to ABB.

    You could say I've "nested" here and came to know many (now-gone) eateries around Forest Drive, Downtown, and the North East. I mourn the decline and final closure of Zorba's (on Decker), and the closings of The Palace, Wendy Ethel's, The Dairy Bar, Willoughbys, The Splendid China, The Mandarin, The Chili-pepper seafood house, and the Hibatchi-Tama.

    That's why I like this site so much. Sort of a memorial that I check daily.

    It's a wonder that through all this time, the Mouse Trap off Forrest drive is still there. (OK, they were Picasso's in 80 & 81)


    4 Jun 14 at 4:23 pm

  6. I didn't know about this place until the shooting that was mentioned in the main post took place. The first of the two articles recounts the same events that this shooting along the lines of how I remember WIS reporting on it when it happened.

    I thought about eating here but never made it. I frankly don't travel Decker Boulevard very often and I think that is the main reason why.


    4 Jun 14 at 6:39 pm

  7. Sad to see this place go. I played pool (they had two "bar top" pool tables) with friends here in the early to mid 90s, and for several years in the early 2000s, I would go here and eat the Gyro platter at least once every couple of months. Delicious Greek salads. I live in the Blythewood area now, and I tend to stay as far away from this part of Decker as possible. Mr. Kim's murder was tragic. Although sad, this closing does not surprise me.


    4 Jun 14 at 10:14 pm

  8. It kills me when I read about people "I....stay as far away from this part of Decker as possible". Decker really isn't that bad. I think Decker Blvd has gotten a bad rap just because of the ethnic makeup that encompass that area. Mr. Kim was killed by someone who was actually from the Lower Richland side of town. He just went crazy all over town and unfortunately went to Decker and killed Mr. Kim. I am on Decker every week. I grew up in Woodfield Park and my parents still stay there. Sure there is crime there. But there is also crime in The Summit, Irmo, Lower Richland, Harbison and even far out as Chapin. I think a lot of people are just intimidated by local residents.


    5 Jun 14 at 9:42 am

  9. Does anyone know what's happening at 922 Main St.? Apparently Miyo's has closed.

    Robert S.

    5 Jun 14 at 10:43 am

  10. @Sidney- you are so right about the Lower Richland area.
    I live on that side of town and read about crimes committed out that way daily. And not the minor stuff, I'm talking about Murder, Theft, Robberies etc.
    At least once a week, early in the mornings, between 1 and 3 o'clock, I hear gunshots in close proximity to my house, and not just one or two it's more like pow, pow, pow, pow, pow six to nine shots at a time.
    I've called the Richland County Sheriffs Dept. many times but by the time they arrive they can't find anyone.
    I don't even bother calling anymore.
    I will say this, my whole family is proficient with firearms and God help anyone that breaks into my house while we are home
    We all keep not one, but several guns close by / within arms reach.
    It's sad that we have to live this way but, better safe than sorry.
    Of course when not home, our guns are stored in a place that anyone who might break in will not find them.
    And that's if they get past the alarm system, a rather nice system if I must say so myself, I installed it.


    5 Jun 14 at 10:50 am

  11. @Robert S.--They closed due to "an unidentified underground water leak".


    5 Jun 14 at 4:07 pm

  12. @MrBO - I worked at Dana Corp. 5 Technology Circle.
    I am somewhat familiar with SCT. My son went to grade school and middle school with a little girl who's Mom worked at SCT. I can not remember her first name, I would know it if I heard it, her last name was Callahan.
    Ring a bell?


    5 Jun 14 at 4:34 pm

  13. Actually I did a Miyo's closing here.


    5 Jun 14 at 5:46 pm

  14. Sidney- You are making the assumption that I stay away from Decker because of crime or the ethnic makeup. My wife's granparents have lived in Drexel Lake for 60 years. I have friends that live in Woodfield Park. I don't have to go to either area via Decker. I got to Decker if I need to go to a Korean grocery store ir if I want to look at some overpriced used cars. I grew up in Forest Acres, had friends that went to RNE, and used to got to Decker all of the time. RedWing= gone, Zorba's= gone, Decker Mall= gone, most of the restaurants on Decker= moved farther North up Two Notch. That is why I have no reason to go down Decker anymore. It has been sad to watch the decline, and I still miss Applegate's Landing.


    5 Jun 14 at 9:08 pm

  15. Decker Blvd. is suffering from the same fate as the Broad River/Bush River Rd. area. Empty stores while in Dentsville everything is migrating towards Sandhills and things are moving to Harbison/Irmo/Ballentine on the St. Andrews side of town. I work at Blue Cross at the Alpine/Faraway complex and cut through Drexel Lake Village to get to I-77/I-20 on the way home in order to bypass all of the I-20 construction on Alpine. It seems to be like a picture postcard of an old fashioned subdivision. The houses are all well kept and the residents are a total 'melting pot' of ages and ethnic backgrounds. And they are friendly! People that I encounter when I drive through still wave as you pass. Try to get that in a place like Wildwood!!! I have know several people that lived in Woodfield Park over the years and have never had any problems of any sort in that area. I do, however, miss the old Christmas display that used to be at the house on Omega Dr. I can't remember the man's name that used to put it up, but it was one of my regular stops during the X-mas season.


    6 Jun 14 at 12:55 am

  16. @Rick - knowing of your background in electronics I can only imagine what kind of security system you have installed. Based on a conversation from another post in the past, I will assume that you will, one day, have automatically dispatched, laser equipped drones to do the dirty work against any intruders......LOL.


    6 Jun 14 at 1:00 am

  17. @Rick - I walked by the Dana company plenty of times at lunch. You may be speaking about Donna. She worked in my department doing CGI work.


    6 Jun 14 at 4:43 am

  18. @Homer- Good laugh out of the drone comment, Thanks.


    6 Jun 14 at 5:37 am

  19. @MrBO- Yes, Donna. Her Daughters name is Alissa.
    We have not seen them for awhile now.


    6 Jun 14 at 5:43 am

  20. That Dino's sign frame and the "broasted chicken" sign dates from the 1960s when Dino's went by another name, that I can not remember. Originally it was all carry out.


    6 Jun 14 at 5:57 am

  21. Was there any chance it was a Zesto? The only reason I say that is L.A.M. Phelan, who was the founder of the Zesto chain and the 'broasting' method of cooking.


    6 Jun 14 at 8:00 am

  22. Speaking of "broasted chicken", what is that actually? It sounds as though it should be healthy. Ha! Ha!


    6 Jun 14 at 11:30 am

  23. I always thought it was a mash-up of baked & roasted. Funny, it all looked deep-fried to me.


    6 Jun 14 at 4:07 pm

  24. @Beth - Speaking of Broasted Chicken, I thought it was a combination of two words, you know, like some people in South Carolina will name their kids using the first part of the Fathers name and the first part of the Mothers name. Like Shacon. From the names Sharon and Conner.
    Which I think is more stupid, than ingenious.
    I could have named my son Riconnie, for Rick and Bonnie, but that would have definitely been stupid, and the wrong choice.
    I believe Broasted is a combination of Broiled and Roasted.
    With that said I would like to say, Gooquest.
    For good question.
    I guess it could be better than naming ones kid after a car, like Mercedes, Porsche, Lexus or Kia.
    If I ever have another kid I'm going to name him Toyota. Maybe Ford. Chevrolet would be good.

    @Homer - How about Drone?


    6 Jun 14 at 4:49 pm

  25. According to Wikipedia broasting is essentially pressure-frying. The Broaster Company sells the fryers, marinates, and breading materials to restaurants, grocery stores, etc. They are then licensed to sell "Broasted Chicken". IIRC the process of pressure frying chicken was invented by Col. Harlan Sanders, originator of Kentucky Fried Chicken.


    6 Jun 14 at 5:00 pm

  26. @Homer - That just gave me a good idea for a new movie. Drone Alone. It's about a kid that got left behind when his parents went on vacation. He had to use the family drones, with lasers, to keep the vermin away from his house while they were gone.
    Two thumbs up.


    6 Jun 14 at 5:03 pm

  27. @Cam, you're right I did assume that largely in part because I hear so many people say they avoid it because of the ethnic make up and crime. I apologize.

    @Homer - the Christmas house was Klappers. I lived, and my parents still live 4 blocks away.


    6 Jun 14 at 11:46 pm

  28. Tragedy can unfortunately strike anywhere, but I've never felt Decker was unsafe. There are a number of places in Columbia I would hesitate to walk through, especially at night, but Decker isn't one of them.

    I just wish it were doing better business-wise.


    7 Jun 14 at 12:05 am

  29. I tend to not have not much of a reason to go down Decker because of how much has moved further up Two Notch into Spring Valley, Sparkleberry Square, Village at Sandhill, etc.


    7 Jun 14 at 1:38 am

  30. It was called something else before Hombres back in the 60s. I remember the sign was white with an ice cream cone on it with the word "Tasty" in it, but it was not a Tasty Freeze or a part of that change.


    7 Jun 14 at 6:08 am

  31. @Rick - The Drone Alone concept would be cool. It could be made for a more adult audience. Not only could the drones, drop water and paint balloons or flaming bags of dog poo, they could use laser pointers to blind them, or better yet, attach saw blades to the drones or even mount small incendiary devices. The possibilities are endless!!

    I need to go to bed. The 'beverages' are getting the better of me....


    8 Jun 14 at 2:00 am

  32. Here's what I know about broasted chicken. It IS a form of deep frying under pressure. I read that when Col. Sanders was perfecting his recipe, he used to fry his chicken in pressure cookers. This method has been deemed totally unsafe due to the chances of pressure cooker explosions. DON'T try this at home!!!!!!!!!!! Scary story later in this post.

    I saw a photo a while back that showed the frying process for KFC. They have large square deep fat fryers that accept two or three racks of chicken at a time. They are lowered into the hot oil and the lid is locked down over the fryer. The pressure cooks the chicken in about half the time of normal deep frying and, if done right, produces, crisp, juicy fried chicken with little absorbed grease.

    While in high school in the early 70's, I worked as a short order/line cook at The Whale's Tail restaurant (look up the posting under the 'Alphabetical Closings' link at the top of the page). The fried chicken they made was broasted. It was a large cylindrical fryer with a locking lid. The hot oil was about a foot deep inside. The theory was that, under pressure, the food would float around in the oil. Don't know if it's true, but that's what we were told. You would bring this thing up to temperature, drop the chicken in the basket, drop it into the oil, lock the lid and let it go for approx. 10 minutes. You had perfectly fried chicken.

    There was an item on the menu that the owner called Whaler Taters that were also cooked in the pressure fryer. Essentially, they were large Russet baking potatoes that were crinkle cut in quarters. I'd drop them into the broaster and five minutes later you had a cross between a french fry and a baked potato. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The owner said it was his idea, but I'm sure someone else had thought of it before.

    Now the scary story - Just to show how dangerous this form of cooking can be (or was). I'm sure that the pressure fryers today have all kinds of safety features built in. I had loaded the broaster up with chicken and started to lock the lid down. I lost my footing and fell while holding the locking handle. The pressure was starting to build up within the fryer and I couldn't reach the emergency release. Luckily one of the other cooks in the kitchen heard me call for someone and he ran over to help me lock the top down. If I would have let go of the handle I would have been showered with 350+ degree oil. Not a good thing.......


    8 Jun 14 at 2:53 am

  33. @Homer - Your reply to my comment concerning the idea about a "Drone Alone" movie reinforces the fact that I think you are "Pretty Cool" and that we could have been good friends growing up. I am so old now that I am not able to back up, or do anymore, what I brag about but, I have lots of stories and I would like to meet you one day.

    Your Friend,


    8 Jun 14 at 1:01 pm

  34. Sidney-- no offense taken. Personally, I think that the diversity in Woodfield Park and other areas around Decker is a beautiful thing. And Homer is right, Decker is suffering the same fate as the St. Andrews area. I do miss the days when Decker was a vibrant thriving area. I don' t think the population has decreased in that area, in fact it may have increased, but with the population boom farther down Two Notch, businesses have followed the money. It's wild to see the buildup farther down Two Notch. Growing up in Forest Acres, my family never went farther down Two Notch than Sesqui.


    8 Jun 14 at 11:34 pm

  35. @Rick - no doubt in my mind that if we had known each other in our younger days there would have been a whole new level of hell raising going on in Columbia. I can still talk the talk but there ain't no backing it up these days. Like you, I have stories upon stories (if I can remember them all). One of these days, we'll have to do a Columbia Closings meet n greet. If I can ever get back to a 40 hour work week......


    9 Jun 14 at 11:53 pm

  36. @Cam - heck, back then there was nothing past Sesqui but sand and scrub

    When I grew up in Irmo in the early 60's, it was nothing more than a sleepy, little railroad town with about 500 people with a few Mom & Pop stores. When the old Allied Chemical Plant and GE plants were going strong, Mungo started building subdivisions for people that worked there and the ones that were leaving Columbia in droves. By the 70's we had Dutch Square and all of the stores in the Bush River/Broad River Road area that were the hang-outs for all of us in high school. When Columbiana Centre and the whole Harbison thing blew up in the early 90's, that started the death knell for the Dutch Square area. Now it's moved into Ballentine and slowly creeping its way further up US-76 and US-176. In 20 years Harbison will probably look like Dutch Square.


    10 Jun 14 at 12:08 am

  37. Not surprisingly, a Mexican restaurant is now occupying the old Dino's site. True....


    21 Jan 16 at 11:49 am

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