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The Mouse Trap - 2711 Middleburg Plaza

Posted by The LunchMen Tuesday, May 18, 2010

When the Lunchmen first started tossing around the idea about lunch at The Mouse Trap, an out-of-the way destination that has quietly served office workers and residents in Middleburg for 40 years, Captain Understatement spitefully rebuked the idea. I cannot, in good conscience, utter his descriptions on this blog. Suffice it to say, Captain Understatement had me convinced it was a seedy hole in the wall that should be avoided at all costs. Captain Understatement (a sarcastic nickname that stems from his excessive use of hyperbole) completely lived up to his title once again. In fact, I would go to the mattresses in defense of The Mouse Trap after our lunch experience.

The Mouse Trap is the epitome of the neighborhood restaurant. It has friendly, established staff. It has a long, wooden bar that locals can saddle up to in the evenings and enjoy a cold, refreshing ale or a strong glass of bourbon. It has daily specials which are advertised on their Facebook page. I can't help but feel like the fact that The Mouse Trap has a Facebook page proves that Facebook is taking over the world. In any event, The Mouse Trap feels like a Cheers or a Moe's that serves good, home-cooked meals. That is my kind of place.

Since the Mousetrap posts its specials twice a day on Facebook, I was determined to eat the lunch special. We went on Wednesday, and the special was fried boneless chicken, dirty rice, green beans, cole slaw, and a roll. That feast cost six dollars and some change. There was nothing spectacular about the green beans or the dirty rice, but the cole slaw was delicious and the fried chicken was cooked perfectly. You are going to have a hard time finding a place in Columbia that can fry boneless chicken and keep it so juicy.

The Publican pulled down a slaw cheese burger with tomato on it. He noted that it is not the best burger in town, but he was very pleased with it. The burger is home-style, just what you would expect from a good neighborhood restaurant like The Mouse Trap. Rabbit had a hefty chef salad that left him full and satisfied.

Thoroughly pleased with our lunch and enjoying the vibe at The Mouse Trap, we looked for something else to order to keep us hanging around a little longer. Cold brewskis? Nahhh, not on a Wednesday, the Lunchmen cannot afford the luxury to be sipping cold ones that early in the work week. Delicious, home-made desserts advertised on the board that greeted us when we entered the restaurant? Caloricly speaking, it seemed a bad idea, but it sounded so good. So we consulted with our helpful waitress and ordered up some treats. We were blown away by the desserts.


The Publican and I both wanted two of the fresh pies - the chocolate pie and the banana cream pie. We found a simple solution; we each ordered one, cut them in half, and then swapped halves so that we each had both. Excessive, but outstanding. It was the best dessert I've ever had at lunch. Rabbit went super bold, and ordered the strawberry short cake. Given the time of year, he made the absolute correct decision, because everyone from Columbia knows that our regional farmers are dolling out fresh, tasty strawberries in droves right now. That cake made Rabbit happier than a bunny in a carrot patch.

I must admit that we almost did not post this entry. The Mouse Trap is such a satisfying lunch spot that we really did not want to advertise it. Don't get us wrong; we are not wild about The Mouse Trap because all the food is spectacular. The Mouse Trap shines because of its location, is staff, its vibe, its comfort food - the whole experience. To us, The Mouse Trap is a great lunch spot for getting off the beaten path and having a home-cooked lunch in a place that makes us feel at ease. If you feel inspired to go, please do me a favor -- don't tell your friends about it.

- 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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