Photos copyright their respectful owners.
Plates stacked unbelievably high, walking through the buffet line to get a plate full of turkey and dressing, picking out a dessert from all the options—Tracy Campbell holds on to her memories from Gile’s, her family’s regular go-to after church.
Gile’s later became The Meeting Place, a popular restaurant downtown that just had its sign taken down Wednesday.
The sign was taken down and will be hung in a shop by Michael McClain, whose grandmother worked there for years.
She didn’t approve of tattoos, but she didn’t fight him on a tattoo of the sign on his arm.
There are reminders everywhere of the old restaurants, like The Meeting Place. It never reopened after closing down early in the pandemic.
It’s another sign removed, another space available for rent. The rhythm of downtown growth.
Anderson County has had some classic hang out spots through the years centered around food.
Though closed for a variety of reasons, residents still remember their favorites and the memories that came with going.
Here’s our long list of no-longer here restaurants in Anderson County.
Fazoli’s would have made the list but the Italian-American cuisine restaurant chain headquartered in Kentucky plans to open an Anderson location this year.
Management said they don’t currently have a set opening date. “If nothing changes, it is in the plans for later this year,” management said in a message in January.
Capri’s Italian Restaurant
Part of a family-operated Upstate chain, Capri’s was a popular eatery at 2407 North Main throughout the 1980s and 1990s and the Boiling Springs and Easley locations remain open.
Capri’s came to Greenville due to the influence of Donaldson Air Force Base, their website says. Julius N. “Cap” Capri was placed in charge of all civilian mechanics at the base, then called Greenville Army Air Base. He noticed that many young men from the northern states were seeking good Italian food in Greenville.
Since 1975, PoFolks has been known for their hearty, homestyle cooking. There are still locations in Florida but none in South Carolina.
The original Po Folks began at 206 Concord St. in Anderson, at the present site of the Concord Market. Anderson residents Malcom Hare and Betty Trowbridge, who had transformed the Life Savers Chicken diner into the first Po Folks, were so successful that franchises were sold and developed throughout the South.
Rick Pratt, who joined their staff in 1976, eventually opened seven Po Folks in Georgia. After the corporation went bankrupt in the 1990s, he maintained his stores under the “Folks” banner, and continues to operate them today.
He remembers rapid success in Anderson.
“The food was good. That’s the first thing you need,” Pratt told the Independent Mail in 2018. “The name gained such a good reputation in just a few years, all you had to do was put the ‘Po Folks’ shingle and then try to figure out how to deal with all the business.
By 1985, the diner grew to 170 stores. When Hare sold the company in 1985 to the Krystal Co. of Chattanooga, Tennessee, its popularity was never quite the same under the new owners, who filed for bankruptcy in 1988.
The Anderson store moved to Clemson Boulevard in February 1991, making a new home in the Italian-style diner now occupied by Carlee’s and Tony’s. But despite a major renovation in August 1993, owner Clint Wittner cited slumping business and high debt as he closed the doors for the last time on Dec. 2, 1994.
The Shining Tower
The locally owned diner, which operated at 2810 North Main, near the corner of North Main and Concord streets, was extremely popular from 1954 through the mid-’70s and was among the first to thrive in a location then considered a bit remote from downtown Anderson.
Another Upstate eatery that became a fast-growing franchise in the 1980s, Ryan’s operated all-you-can-eat locations on Clemson Boulevard and South Main. Founded in Greenville by Alvin McCall, Ryan’s was the pioneer in the elaborate salad/cold/hot food bars and was once a thriving regional chain. The South Main location closed its doors in 2017.
Shoney’s Restaurant on Clemson Boulevard was across from the Belvedere Shopping Center and popular in the 70s.
Marty Payne Roberts hasn’t lived in Anderson for years but remembers a first date at Shoney’s when she was in her early 20s.
The restaurant was one store over from her parent’s home and she would take them there whenever she visited from Michigan.
She remembers it closing pretty quickly after she moved.
Pete’s No. 5
Pete Stathakis opened the Greek restaurant on Shockley Ferry Road shortly after World War II and sold it to Pete Mentis in the 1960s. It was among the first popular burger-and-fries locations in the city. Mentis also operated Murph’s Grill on South Main for many years.
Bill and Georgie Konduras operated the upscale restaurant at 125 North Main that was popular in the 1970s and ’80s.
Big John’s Luncheonette
Big John’s diner on South Main Street was one of Anderson’s well know eateries.
John Raftkis, who operated the popular Greasy Spoon in downtown Anderson from 1953 to 1966, opened the luncheonette at 219 South Main in 1969 and served a loyal and eclectic crowd daily until his retirement in January 1990.
The 90s menu options include shrimp basket, french fries and slaw for $3. Pancake or waffle $1.25 and with 2 eggs $1.95. Hot dog plate, fries, and slaw $1.45.
Other popular restaurants that closed:
- Soup and Salad
- Michael’s Burger Bar
- Dud’s (Iva)
- Whitner St cafe
- Poor Richard’s (on the lake)
- Greasy Spoon near the courthouse square
- Tucker’s on westside Market Street
- Ryan’s steakhouse
- Charlie T’s
- Snuffy’s (Iva)
- Ranch House
- Miss Essies
- Chief’s Wings
- Brick City
- Main Street Deli
- Do Da Day Cafe
- Oh La Lolly
- Pete’s on Concord
- Grapevine Deli
- Butter Beans
Abe Hardesty contributed to this story.
Sarah Sheridan is the community reporter in Anderson. She’d appreciate your help telling important stories; reach her at email@example.com or on twitter @saralinasher.
Category: Restaurant News