The Kingsman Restaurant - 936 Axtell Dr., Cayce

Posted by The LunchMen Friday, May 14, 2010

Cayce, S.C. is a thriving metropolis of just a shade over 12,000 people, and home to a bowling alley, a vigilant police force, a jam-up Krispie Kreme, Blackwater Rattlesnake Outfitters, and many other fine institutions of Southern living. For a town of its size, Cayce boasts a remarkable amount of business due to its proximity to Columbia. Despite a few run-ins with the local police department and some bitterness over the replacement of a perfectly good crack motel with a CVS, I can proudly say I hold our brethren across the river in high esteem.

One of the reasons I hold this little hamlet in such high esteem is The Kingsman, a cornerstone of the venerable Parkland Shopping center. As soon as you hit the parking lot, you’ll know you’ve found a good lunch spot. The concentration of cars outside the entrance boasts everything from utility trucks to Mercedes, suggesting just the kind of diverse clientele that tips off an observant Lunchman. Once inside, you’re greeted by a diner style counter and cash register up front with employees working feverishly all around. On this particular Friday visit, we were also greeted by a half dozen diners waiting for a table... another good sign. Hardly regal, but definitely inviting, the back two dining rooms were filled to the brim with diners enjoying their lunch hour.

We averted conflict with an overly anxious and protective fellow diner, and pounced on a small booth in the back dining room. Cramming Tank, Rabbit, Tex, the Queen of Frozen Cuisine and I into a booth proved to be a small challenge, but we sucked it up for an intimate lunch. The staff here is friendly and colorful. One waitress even drives an old Chrysler with a pair of gigantic, pink testicles dangling from the trailer hitch. With no shortages of “honeys” and “sweethearts,” our harried waitress buzzed in to take our order. My order was never in doubt – the Special. Two modestly battered fried pork chops, served with immodest portions of greens, rice and gravy, macaroni and a roll to sop everything up, are enough to bring lesser men to their knees (the Tuesday special is also pork chops, but with a different combination of sides). Much to my surprise, my fellow Lunchmen followed suit and ordered the Special with a few targeted vegetable substitutions like green beans and sweet potatoes.

As you might expect, none of these menu items are prepared in accordance with American Heart Association guidelines. The vegetables are slow cooked to ensure the eradication of any vitamins, and slathered with all the delicious things that make foods bad for you. The only complaints I recall had something to do with Tank’s sweet potato envy (Tex’s was bigger than his) and the plain style rice and gravy. I, for one, happen to like the simple, understated rice and gravy as a compliment to the more assertive flavors of the other side items. Different strokes I suppose. On balance, the Lunchmen were uniformly well pleased. The Queen of Frozen Cuisine even managed to polish off both pork chops while singing their praises to her sister via telephone.

While we all opted for the special, past experience tells me the regular menu is no slouch. The ribeye and steak tips are particular standouts. Garden and Gun magazine even named the Kingsman’s pimento burger one of the “100 Southern Foods You Absolutely, Positively Must Try Before You Die”:

"Pimento burgers are the national food of Columbia, a statement complicated by the fact that Columbia is not sovereign. But never mind that. And never mind that the Kingsman is technically in the Columbia suburb of Cayce. When a hot patty hits a cool patch of pimento cheese, melt is achieved and goodness blossoms."

Better than Rockaways? Sounds like a Lunchman showdown for another day...

So, go on, drive on across the Blossom Street bridge and treat yourself to some fine hospitality and even better food. Try the ribeye, steak tips and pimento burger – but don’t miss the Pork Chop Special.

- The Publican

Kingsman Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 Responses to The Kingsman Restaurant - 936 Axtell Dr., Cayce

  1. Frodo Says:
  2. Please do not forget the last time that I joined the Lunchmen for a trip to the Kingsman. From what I can remember about that special Friday, it involved bowling two games and several pitchers from the adjacent AMF lanes, and a trip to Columbia's finest gentlemen's club whereby I fell in love with a sophisticated young lady whose name I cannot remember. All that I do know is that since that day, I have had recurring cravings for a certain espresso, milk, and chocolate treat from Starbucks.



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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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