Omelets, hash browns, and creamy grits make this neighborhood diner a breakfast destination in Columbia. Lunch is top-notch meat-and-three soul food.
Hail the Super Duper Weenie! It is a firm-fleshed, locally-made frankfurter that is split and cooked on the grill until its outside gets a little crusty but the inside stays succulent. Whatever else you get, you must get French fries. These are beautiful, fresh cut twigs of potato.
Hamburgers are cooked on the hot, oily griddle as a round patty a little smaller than a baseball, then they are flattened out with a spatula. Despite getting squished, the hamburgers remain thick enough to be overwhelmingly juicy. Hot dogs are cooked on the same grill, and they’re plump and tasty ones, especially satisfying when bedded atop some of Harry’s chili sauce.
AM Eggstasy is the house motto; and the omelets are stupendous, as is a dish known as the S’medley, which is scrambled eggs combined with melted cheese atop a mound of fried potatoes, sausage, mushrooms, and onions. Lunch is not to be slighted. There are fine, big hamburgers, world-class fried clams, and superb Southern New England Style clam chowder.
Fine Lowcountry fare and more: Start with house-made potato chips topped with blue cheese and green onions or Lowcountry bouillabaisse in which the seafood is augmented with Tasso ham and andouille sausage; feast on buttermilk fried chicken accompanied by cracked pepper biscuits, top off the meal with swoonful pecan pie adorned with vanilla bean ice cream and bourbon caramel sauce.
Nick’s famous sandwich is a well-stacked pile of soft pink roast beef inside a giant rectangular roll that is egg-yellow and studded with squiggles of onion. Many condiments and add-ins are available, including horseradish, cheese, mayo, and mustard, but the people’s choice is barbecue sauce, which has a spicy sweetness that makes it beef’s good companion.
Here is some of the nation’s best fried chicken. Each piece is encased in an envelope that vigorously crunches, then offers rapturous chew, all the while radiating the ecstatic flavor combo of chicken fat and pepper.
Dinosaur Barbecue began in Syracuse and has since opened several locations in the Northeast. Amazingly, the barbecue (and side dishes) that made the original such a hit seem every bit as good in the branches we have tried, particularly in this one in Rochester.