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Immaculate Consumption – 933 Main Street

Posted by The LunchMen Friday, November 6, 2009

Known simply as “Immac,” this downtown eatery next to the Nickelodeon Theatre and across from the statehouse has been feeding government employees, students, and university faculty breakfast and lunch for years. The staff, décor, and attitude of the place is, in a word, artsy, but don’t let the hipsters sipping coffee out front or the bearded professors reading the newspaper and eating cookies inside scare you off. This place has some seriously good food that is fresh and filling.

This trip the Lunchmen took along Kali and Tex, who are becoming such common elements to our excursions that they may have to be inducted as permanent “Lunchmen” – an honor not lightly bestowed, believe me. We hit the line just before noon, thereby avoiding the lunch rush and securing a good spot to sit. (This is probably the biggest complaint about Immac – the seating. There isn’t much to begin with, and the booths they do offer are roughly the size of the back seat of a Miata. Needless to say, Tank and the crew opted for a stand alone table). I went with my old standby – the Immaculate Salad, which is in my opinion the best lunch salad in town, (along with No Name Deli, of course). On the recommendation of the young lady taking our order, I eschewed my normal dressing choice for their homemade honey mustard. It proved to be the right call, as it complimented the ham, turkey, and roast beef on the salad perfectly. What made my meal memorable, though, was the audible-at-the-line selection I made by asking for a side of warm pita bread. It’s less than a dollar to add it, and it provided a good starch to complete the meal. No complaints from rabbit on this one.

Honestly, I’m a little surprised to be this far into the blog without having mentioned Immac’s pasta salad. It’s a masterpiece, to put it bluntly. The beauty of this stuff lies in its simplicity. It’s basically warm penne pasta drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled lightly with parmesan cheese and a few sliced black olives. It’s not the only option for a side item at Immac, just the only one worth trying. All three of my dining companions had it with their meals, and none of them had any left for me to try.

Though perhaps not worthy of their own paragraph like the salad and pasta, the sandwiches and soups at Immac are all solid, and everything there is fresh to a fault. Other popular items include the baked delicacies they offer every day – Tank and Tex both got giant cookies to go before (Tank) and after (Tex) their meal. The place is also known for its coffee, and there is even a separate line where you can speed past the lunch or breakfast crowd to grab a quick caffeine fix. Rabbit does not drink coffee, so if you want more information you’ll have to try this place for yourself.

Chances are if you’ve been in the Capital City for any amount of time, you know about and have been to Immac. Maybe this article will remind you to head back again. If you are knew here or for some reason haven’t given it a shot, it’s worth the trip and parking hassle, if for nothing else than to sample the pasta.

-Rabbit

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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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