DiPrato's - 342 Pickens Street

Posted by The LunchMen Tuesday, November 17, 2009

DiPrato's - just the name sounds pretty fancy for a Lunchmen destination. Generally, our crew is more comfortable with Italian names like Tony's and Dano's for lunch. However, each of us have had enough experience with DiPrato's to know that, even though they might take a dollar or two more out of your wallet than one of our usual lunch spots, DiPrato's has the ability to make that extra money go a long way towards the ultimate destination - deliciousness.

If you haven't been to DiPrato's, then let me tell you that you have been missing some of the best deli meats, pimento cheese, chicken salad, and vegetarian options in Columbia. As you stand in (the usually very long) line to place your order, DiPrato's will offer you up free, tasty offerings of their dips and pita chips for you to sample. Tex, Rabbit, Pizza the Hut, and I could not resist that siren's song on this trip, and it is a nice warm up for the goodness that is to come. DiPrato's pita chips are homemade, and they make an excellent snack to take home and use for house parties. I have been known to dive into a cold pile of those pita chips for a midnight snack once Mrs. Tank has gone to bed, but I digress....

I was a mere follower on this lunch trip, and I relied heavily on the opinions of my fellow Lunchmen (except Rabbit, of course) in making my meal selections. Tex persuaded me to try something truly outside of my usual lunch routine - a warm bowl of creamy tomato bisque that was finished with a dollop of tart goat cheese. Talk about a grand slam. It was on the special board, so I don't know if you can get it every time, but anyone who goes to DiPrato's and passes on this soup has cheated themselves out of lunch decadence.

My sandwich selection was the "Psst-Try-Me" sandwich on seedless rye. Pizza the Hut, in true gluttonous Hut-esque fashion, convinced me that a standard pastrami on rye would simply not provide me the true DiPrato's experience. Instead, he convinced me, like any good friend should, to do the sandwich "New York style" - in other words, more fatty, juicy, bacon-like goodness. The sandwich makers in the back of the deli could not contain all of the meaty goodness within two slices of bread. Pastrami poured out on the plate like a pool of artery-clogging delight. I assure you, no scraps were left behind. I checked out Pizza the Hut's plate, and he cleaned house pretty good as well.

Maybe it was because I had already feasted on free appetizers, a rich soup, and the most delicious pastrami sandwich south of Brooklyn, but by the time I decided to have a bite of my pasta salad, it seemed just...mediocre. I'm not saying absolutely don't get it, I'm just saying that if you are going to have soup and a pastrami sandwich at lunch, maybe tell them to hold the pasta salad, or pass it to someone like Rabbit who is elbow-deep in one of DiPrato's healthy salad options.

Will the Lunchmen keep going to DiPrato's every week now that we have been blown away by a delicious lunch outing? No, because $8 sandwiches are outside of our pay grade. However, with convenient parking and well above-average fare, DiPrato's will certainly be on our hearts and minds, and it will be a place we go to splurge on an excellent lunch.

- Tank

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Rabbit, Tank, and The Publican are three dudes just trying to get through the work week here in Columbia. Rabbit is a Columbia native, Tank is from Charleston, and The Publican hails from Greenville. Rabbit's favorite lunch spot is the No Name Deli on Elmwood, where you may find him putting down a grilled chicken salad and a side of vinegar pasta. The Publican usually wants to find food to cure his all-too-common hangovers. Tank claims no favorite lunch spot - he lives for the thrill of the hunt.


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