The Publican's Top 25 Lunch Rankings

Posted by The LunchMen Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In a new series, The Lunchmen rank their top 25 favorite lunch meals in Columbia.  There is only one rule: 1) No chain restaurants unless they originate in Columbia. 

This assignment caused me considerable consternation, because I'm notoriously indecisive and particularly so when it comes to ranking my preferences.  As a result, the order is somewhat arbitrary and has just as much to do with my feelings about the restaurants as the quality of the dish.  Additionally, I'm sure I left out one or more lunches that would take the place of some in this list; so we would invite you to comment on your favorite lunches in Columbia, and we will post a comprehensive list of reader favorites at the end of the series.  Also, feel free to lambaste us for our choices or praise our exceptionally good taste as you see fit.

With that in mind, here are The Publican's Top 25 Lunches:

1)       End Zone Grill f/k/a Jerry Kellys: chicken Mojo sandwich, curly fries
2)       The Kingsman: pork chop special, green beans, macaroni, rice and gravy, roll
3)       El Burrito: beef burrito, hot and deluxe (sour cream, lettuce and tomato), add fresh peppers, onions and extra hot salsa
4)       Tonys Downtown: meat lasagna, garlic bread, salad w/ thousand island dressing on side
5)       Miyos: mu shu pork, white rice
6)       Grouchos:  STP, chips (oh, how I miss those Wise potato chips...), half and half tea with LOTS of crushed ice
7)       Café Millwood (weekend brunch): country fried steak, two eggs over medium, grits and biscuit
8)       Immaculate Consumption: immaculate salad with honey mustard, side of pita bread
9)       Nice-n-Natural: chicken salad sandwich, gazpacho (summer), black bean soup with cheese (winter)
10)    Blue Cactus: bee bim bop, spicy pork, fried egg
11)    The Other Store:  greek turkey, chips, cookie
12)    Palmetto Pig:  buffet – pork, extra hot vinegar sauce, slaw (1-1 ratio to pork), green beans, hash and rice, hush puppies, pickles (dill and sweet), white bread
13)    Yesterdays:  salmon and grits, collard greens, corn bread
14)    Rockaways:  Rockaway burger, side salad with thousand island dressing
15)    Al Amir: Damascus hummus with chicken and vegetables
16)    Cock and Bull: shrimp burger, fries, beer
17)    Bangkok: green curry chicken
18)    Hunter-Gatherer: cheeseburger with horseradish cheddar, hashbrowns, ESB
19)    Hooligans: French dip, fries, sweet tea with LOTS of crushed ice (steal a chicken finger from an unsuspecting dining companion)
20)    Lizards Thicket (Sunday only):  turkey and dressing (extra cranberry), macaroni, green beans, sliced tomatoes, corn bread
21)    No Name Deli: chicken salad on toasted wheat with lettuce and tomato, fries or vinegar pasta
22)    Muchos Margaritas: sopes
23)    Danos:  1 slice Sicilian pizza, 1 slice pepperoni, house salad (comes with loads of mozzarella...)
24)    Carolina Café: Winston-Salem on toasted everything bagel, chips, pickle, orange slice
25)    Greek Boys:  chicken tips, rice, greek salad

As the great Charles Barkley would say, "suck on that, Anthony."


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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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