Memorable | One of the Best
Dave’s Grill & Grocery | Carolina Cheeseburgers & Chili Dogs
Review by: Michael Stern
Burgers and Dogs
Eaters of Aiken County, South Carolina, spend an inordinate amount of time debating where to eat the best hamburgers and chili dogs. During one such discussion Deirdre Stoker Vaillancourt directed me to Dave’s Grill & Grocery out in Couchton for a hamburger. Dave’s is an ethanol-free gas station convenience store that also happens to be a butcher shop and cafe. Its cheeseburgers & chili dogs make angels sing. Thank you, Deirdre!
Remember: It’s a gas station. You don’t come looking for a swanky burger in this place. Rugged-textured, juicy enough, and full-flavored, these burgers are lunch-counter classics.
Nor does anyone expect a fancy frankfurter in such a setting. In fact, the hot dog itself becomes more a pallet for everything that goes on it. The man assembling the dog squirts mustard and ketchup into the bun, sets the frank in it, then covers it with chili. Tomatoes give the chili tang; onions give it crunch; and just a wee bit of pepper adds a halo of heat. When I taste it, I think of the best possible Sloppy Joe. The dog man adds more squiggles of mustard and ketchup and a sprinkle of crisp chopped onions atop the chili. Finally, he wraps the whole thing up and heats it in the microwave just long enough for the bun to turn fleecy soft.
Eat Your Way In, Pay Your Way Out
Many people come to Dave’s for take-out. But a coterie of regular customers usually occupies bare tables that share floor space with shelves of packaged groceries, local produce, motor oil, Little Debbie snack cakes, and household goods. Place your order at the counter, where you enjoy a view of the meat & 3 selections. Find a table. Wait to be called back to pick up the meal. Regular dine-in customers pay after eating. One member of the staff told me that this method of service is known as “Eat your way in and pay your way out.”
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|