Posted by The LunchMen Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Editors Note: The views expressed in this blog entry are those of Frodo and do not reflect that of the Lunchmen or this blog. This applies to both the quality of the restaurant, and its appropriateness for "Date Night." 

After a long and restless Halloween weekend chasing around 17 month-old baby Frodo, Mrs. Frodo and I decided that we owed it to ourselves to give each other a little quality alone time.  Therefore, we decided that we would make Monday night . . . DATE NIGHT!

Where would an acceptable date night destination be for Mr. and Mrs. Frodo?   We tried to consider an eatery that would clean from our systems the copious amounts of Halloween candy ingested the night before.

Would it be somewhere romantic, like a Garibaldi’s or Restaurante Divino? 
What about a little out-of-the-way place, like Mr. Friendly’s? 
Or, somewhere in the ‘burbs we haven’t tried like Travinia’s?

Mrs. Frodo and I struggled with this decision all day, emailing, phoning, and Facebooking each other with one idea after the next. 

We went to Mr. Friendly’s on our last date night, and while delicious, we were ready for a change.
We wanted to avoid the suburbs like the plague.  We had heard that the ‘burbs were like trying meth for the first time, and we worried that if we went to the ‘burbs and tried it, we might never make it back.

The romantic idea didn’t fit well with a Monday night date night—we wanted to go somewhere a little something more, shall we say, “blue collar.”  A place where it is totally acceptable to show up wearing a Dickies shirt with your named patched on the breast. 

So what would fit the bill?  On the way home from another day slaving for the man and counting my day in six minute increments, I saw a Light that provided my answer. I capitalize “Light” because it was so bright and vibrant it was like the Star of David leading the Three Wise Men to Baby Jesus, only this Light led me to culinary delight:

Mrs. Frodo, ever the proud soul, had her reservations about my choice.   With its octogenerian clientele, cafeteria line service, and florescent lighting that is only rivaled by an operating room, this place is not known for its ambiance.  I have seen pictures of North Korean gulags that have more of a welcoming interior than the S&S Cafeteria.

But, once I explained that the Light guiding me was nothing short of divine inspiration, Mrs. Frodo, ever the faithful one, agreed to make S&S Cafeteria our date night choice.

All I can say is that Mrs. Frodo was not disappointed.  She went with the fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and iron-skillet baked cornbread.  I went with the freshly carved roast beef, turnip greens, steamed cabbage, and jalapeno cornbread. 

The roast beef normally comes (literally) floating in gravy, but I had the courteous S&S server just drizzle my roast beef with the au jus.  It was roasted perfectly—medium rare, and cut thinly for easy eating.  The turnips are the best you can get west of Florence, and the cabbage did such a number on my taste buds that they are still dancing.  Mrs. Frodo raved about the fried chicken, with its crispy exterior and moist, tender interior.  She informed me that the macaroni and green beans were above average. 

But, the highlight of the meal was the bread.  Folks, simply put, you will not have better cornbread that what is offered at the S&S Cafeteria.  My Me-Maw cooked cornbread growing up, but I would laugh in her face and hide her denture cleaner if she made me choose between her cornbread and S&S’s cornbread.  S&S cooks their cornbread in an cast iron baking pan greased with bacon drippings or lard, resulting in a crispy, crunchy exterior.  The interior is loaded with corn kernels and jalapeno peppers, resulting in a sweet and spicy bread that simply makes you want to make out with your wife right there in the middle of the restaurant.  Most of the patrons in the S&S wouldn’t notice anyway because they have to take off their glasses during the meal as their bifocals fog up from the steam of their food. 

If you want a place that has a romantic ambiance, you may want to look elsewhere.  However, if you take your eating seriously, and want the best home cooking short of your grandmother’s house (with many more options that your grandmother could ever offer), I suggest you swallow your pride and follow the Light to the corner of Beltine and Forest Drive to the S&S Cafeteria.



  1. The Publican Says:
  2. Disgusting... I literally got sick to my stomach looking at the roast beef and its greasy friends in your photo.

    On the other hand, cornbread... ain't nothing wrong with that.

    - The Publican

  3. Love the S&S, wife won't allow us to eat there very much (not nice enough for our Saturday night dinner, etc), but it's some good eats.


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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.