Good afternoon sports fans. This week we’re stretching the bounds of this “Columbia” lunch review and heading up to Philadelphia (figuratively speaking of course) for the best Cheese Steak in the state of South Carolina. I’m of course referring to DL McLaughlin's.
First off, while DL’s is a solid twenty minute drive from downtown Columbia, in this honorary Lunchman’s mind, it’s well worth it. The place itself is nothing to write home about, but it does have its charm. The main room is quite small and probably seats less than 15, but there is a side room/ bar with additional seating. A word of caution is in order though. If you have some childhood fear of clowns, you may want to get there early and secure your seat in the main room. Whoever “decorated” (and please recognize that this word is being used extremely loosely in this context) DL’s must have had some creepy fascination with clown portraits, because there is no shortage of them in the bar room. However, other than that little quirkiness, DL’s has that quaint charm that tends to come with dive bars; it’s definitely one of those “it-you’re-wearing-anything-other-than-a-jean-jacket-you-may-be-overdressed” kind of places.
Now, enough of the aesthetics–the Cheese Steak. This, my friends, is the only thing you need to be worried about on the menu. Granted, there are some other bar food options, but you cannot make the trip to DL’s and not get the Cheese Steak, at least not on your first trip. The Cheese Steak is served on a fresh hoagie bun, piled high with steak and your choice of sweet or spicy peppers, topped with a somewhat less that expected portion of cheddar cheese. But, the proportions work. After a few bites of this Cheese Steak, nothing short of an actual Philadelphia Cheese Steak will suffice. The Cheese Steak is also served with a side of fries that are nothing to shake a stick at either. The portions are pretty good as well; you can polish of the Cheese Steak and fries with relative ease, avoiding the “BBQ-buffet-full” feeling.
A few other miscellaneous points should also be addressed. This is a cash only establishment; they do not take credit or debit cards. However, you only need about eight or nine bucks to get the deliciousness discussed above. Also, while it is a 20 minute drive, it’s doable to be there and back within a liberally measured lunch hour (about an hour and a half).
IN SUM: The best Cheese Steak, with a side of fries and creepy clown portraits all for around eight or nine bucks, cash. What else can you ask for.