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GROUCHO'S - HARDEN STREET IN 5 POINTS

Posted by The LunchMen Monday, March 22, 2010

The Lunchmen blog Has been a steadily growing grass roots campaign dedicated to all things delicious for almost nine months. Despite a brief hiatus in December and January during which Rabbit got married to Mrs. Rabbit and Tank managed to break all previously held billable hours records, the site continues to grow and gain new followers everyday. We are always pleased when people ask about the blog or tell us that they’ve enjoyed reading them. You keep reading, and we’ll keep writing.

A few Fridays ago, I received perhaps the greatest validation of our growth to date when I met the Publican for a lunch at the venerable Groucho’s Five Points. What originally was planned as a quick call for a Friday with just me and the Publican turned into something much greater when we noticed Publican’s old roommate “The Marlboro Man” at a table by himself gawking at the undergraduate waitresses. We decided to join him and were delighted to learn two other friends would be coming over from another law firm (Tank’s previous employer, coincidentally) that has its own reputation for bold lunch calls. Soon our table was filled out with friends “Eazy-E” and “The Irish Pub.” Eazy-E is another young attorney that was fraternity brothers with Rabbit, the Publican and the Marlboro Man. The Irish Pub is a little bit older, but when he’s not selling his colleagues out to the guys at Granger Owings he is usually up for a good meal or solid happy hour on his way home way out in the country behind the VA.

We all settled in and ordered when the Irish Pub suddenly looked over and said “I love your blog.” I have to be honest, I was so shocked that at first I thought he was talking to someone else. I couldn’t believe that our little site had woven its way through the Capital City legal community to find new fans. (Special thanks to Lunchmen veteran Pizza-the-Hut for spreading the word). To show our appreciation, we promised to include our new fans in this entry.

By now you are probably saying to yourself: “Self, when are they going to actually review the restaurant and talk about the food?” Good point. On to the meal. Usually, it all starts with some of the sweetest tea in Columbia served on top of that truly baller pellet style ice. Honestly, I cannot think of a reason that every restaurant in the universe doesn’t use this ice. Why wouldn’t you? It can’t be that expensive, and it immediately earns you street cred with serious diners. In fact, its one of my favorite things about Groucho’s.

Just about everyone knows what they are going to get to eat at Groucho’s before they sit down. Patrons choose their favorite sandwich (or “dipper” as they are officially known) early in their career and exhibit an amount of loyalty to that selection rivaled only by Sam in the "Lord of the Rings” Trilogy. There being five of us, we had enough people ordering a few different things to get a real sense of the menu. Popular items include the Apollo – Turkey, Ham, Bacon and Swiss on a warm hoagie and the STP – an Apollo with Roast Beef instead of Ham. Classic variations are to order one of these “all turkey” or “all ham,” etc. (Insiders Tip – it’s a good idea to request the bacon bits to be placed UNDER the cheese, not on top, so they do not fall off when you pick up your sandwich). The sandwiches are all sizeable and come out piping hot. However, everyone knows that they are really just the supporting cast for the true star of Groucho’s show: Formula 45 Sauce.


For decades, Formula 45 has been a leading culprit of the dreaded “Freshman 15” that plagues gamecock ladies every fall semester. The stuff is like liquid heroine. Hell, I’d probably brush my teeth with it if I could. No one knows what’s in the sauce exactly, but its akin to 1000 Island but about 50 times as delicious (and fattening). I have seen grown men scoop out the last little bit with their finger long after their chips and sandwich had been consumed. They even sell the stuff by the bottle so you can take it home and continue to gain weight.

This group was no different, and we were soon licking our plates clean. If you can get a table, Groucho’s can be a really quick lunch. They’ve been open for such a long time that the place basically runs itself. Combine that with the fervor and speed with which you will attack your meal and you have the makings for a perfect Friday lunch when you want to go bold, but maybe don’t have the time to commit to a longer choice.

2 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. BE WARY of Groucho's salad. Stick with the sandwiches.

     
  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. Great review! (Especially the part about the waitresses...)

    Need to correct you on a couple menu items involving bacon-- First, it is the STP, not the Apollo that comes with bacon. BUT, if you ask, bacon can come on anything you'd like. Second, because of the complaint you just described the bacon always comes under the cheese-- so don't worry about having to ask for it :)

     

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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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