ROAD TRIP: Park Row Market No. 1, 108 Courthouse Sq., Edgefield, SC

Posted by The LunchMen Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Explore the past while enjoying the present."

This week I found myself visiting the Federal Correctional Facility in Edgefield, SC. For those of you who have interacted with people that are dealing with unfortunate incarceration, you know that life behind bars can leave prisoners lonely and in need of human interaction. Such was the case with the prisoner I visited today, who decided to take this opportunity to talk about anything and everything under the sun. Therefore, I had four long days to search Edgefield, SC for a suitable dining option. At first I thought I was going to be limited to a couple of old fast food chains and suspect Chinese options. However, once I drove into downtown Edgefield, my eyes spotted the Park Row Market No. 1, and I knew I was in business. Any place that puts the huge, ten foot sign on its outside wall to greet customers is sure to be a awe-inspiring establishment worth visiting:

As you can imagine, after reading this I had high expectations for the Market. Fortunately, I was not disappointed. The first day I was in a bit of a hurry, so I asked the counter person what could be made quickly. She said it all could, but she recommended I try the chicken salad. I agreed and sat at the bar without even looking at the menu. Within 90 seconds she brought out a thick Chicken Salad sandwich on whole grain bread with lettuce and tomato. It was, in a word, huge. No exaggeration, it was at least 50% bigger than anything available in downtown Columbia. Further, it came with kettle chips and a pickle for 6 bucks. A meal like this would cost you upwards to $8.00 in the Capital City. Speaking of the Capital, did you know that Edgefield has given birth to TEN governors of the State? Well, they know it, and tell you every chance they get. I’m sure there are richer, more quaint towns in South Carolina, but I guarantee you there are none as proud as Edgefield (see above photo).

Anyway, the chicken salad sandwich, while not a normal go-to for the Rabbit, was so good that I decided to return to the Market the next day to further explore the menu when I had a little more time.

On day two, I looked over the menu and was ready to go with the Clemson Bleu Cheese Salad when something caught my eye. MUFFULETTA. Those of you that know the Rabbit know that, while I eat salads 99% of the time, there is one vice that I cannot resist – a proper New Orleans Muffuletta. If you are unfamiliar with this culinary triumph, Wikipedia describes it as follows: “one muffuletta loaf, split horizontally. The loaf is then covered with a marinated olive salad, layers of capicola, salami, mortadella, and provolone.” It is without a doubt the best sandwich on the planet. The Market’s version was just perfect, with soft, warm bread encompassing salty meats and olive salad, along with some sort of vinaigrette that really finished the product off nicely. I probably should have left some on the plate, but I couldn’t not finish something this good.

As for the Market itself, it was originally opened as a general store in 1932 and is located on the downtown square of Edgefield in a picturesque setting. 

The inside has a variety of mismatched tables and chairs, and a lot of stuff on the walls like you would see in Cracker Barrel. However, unlike Cracker Barrel, I think this stuff is actually antique and was not made in some novelty factory in Taiwan. The place is, as you would expect, full of locals and regulars, and everyone knows everyone. Obviously, I stuck out pretty bad in my suit and tie, and because I was eating alone and in a hurry – both of which appear to be rare occurrences for the market. As a result, I confess I was not brave enough to take pictures of the food inside the restaurant for fear of being run out of town, so you’ll have to use your imagination. My apologies.

In summary, if life ever finds you in the land of ten governors, whether it’s to visit an inmate or tour the National Wild Turkey Federation Headquarters, no trip to Edgefield is complete without a stop in at the Park Row Market No. 1. You won’t be disappointed.



  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. Whats with the anti-Asian sentiment in this post? First, you talk about "suspect Chinese options;" then, you bash our allies in Taiwan? What has gotten into you Rabbit?

  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. PCR client?
    Edgefield Fed has some good fried chicken btw.

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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.