Compton’s Kitchen

Review by: Michael Stern

Please give me a swift kick if you ever learn that I have been in Columbia, South Carolina, hankering for inexpensive breakfast or lunch in a place that is clean, bright, and friendly, and have gone to a chain restaurant. Why would I want to eat assembly-line food in a cookie-cutter joint when the same few dollars will buy me good food in a personality-plus diner like Compton’s Kitchen?

No, I am not saying that the cuisine is Cordon Bleu quality (although I don’t think too many Cordon Bleu chefs can make buttermilk biscuits this authoritative). It’s hearty fare, blue-plate specials made for the taste and wallets of a clientele with square-meals American values. Many are regulars who come in at least once a week, some several times a week, to enjoy such lunch entrees as chicken pan pie (Monday), meatloaf (Wednesday), and baked spaghetti or sweet garlic chicken (Friday). On the side, choose from a constellation of vegetables that range from salubrious steamed cabbage, sliced tomatoes (good ones in season!), and green beans to indulgently cheesy broccoli casserole, baked sweet potatoes, and, of course, mac ‘n’ cheese.

When Perry Compton first opened his diner back in 1977, he gained fame for the biscuits he made using flour from local century-old Adluh Mill. The biscuit tradition continues under the helm of current owner Ruth Cooke (who started by waitressing here 10 years), and the repertoire of morning sandwiches is impressive, including all the usual breakfast meats, cheese, and eggs, plus cube steaks, fried bologna, and fatback.

Compton’s is an airy space with plenty of light streaming in the big front windows and seating at booths and bare tables as well as a couple of umbrella’d tables just outside the front door. A counter in back is devoted to take-out orders.

What To Eat

Bologna Biscuit

Pimento Cheeseburger

Chicken Pan Pie

Broccoli Casserole

Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese

Combo Breakfast Biscuit

Cucumber Salad


Compton’s Kitchen Recipes


What do you think of Compton’s Kitchen?

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