Diner | Hamburgers | Meat-and-Three | Steak | Tavern
One of the best

My first pimento cheeseburger was at the Ruby Seahorse Café on Edisto Island in South Carolina. It was billed as “the original Dairy Bar Pimento Burger,” referring to the generally accepted belief that it was J.C. Reynolds, proprietor of a place called the Dairy Bar in Columbia, who sometime in the early 1960s first had the brilliant idea of crowning a burger not with ordinary American or cheddar, but with pimento cheese. The Dairy Bar is gone, as is the Ruby Seahorse Café, but South Carolina in general and Columbia in particular remain a bonanza of excellent pimento cheeseburgers.

It is hard to imagine one more impressive than that listed on The Kingsman’s menu as “The Palmetto.” It is ten ounces of ground ribeye hand-pattied into a thick, rugged disc, grilled and put into an enormous bun along with a massive amount of rich pimento cheese, thick strips of bacon, and crisp-fried chips of jalapeno pepper. Connoisseurs get theirs all the way, meaning garnished with mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle. The awesome monument of a meal arrives at table with a sharp knife plunged into it up to the bolster. The knife is a welcome tool, along with a fork, for this burger will test the dexterity and strength of anyone who tries to pick it up like some ordinary wimpy.

Somewhat less outrageous is the Kingsman’s regular pimento cheeseburger – six ounces of certified Angus beef that is, in fact, quite delicious when paired with the zesty pimento cheese and topped with all the fixins. The French fries and onion rings I got alongside these four-star burgers were ho hum. Those in search of hot lunch rather than a burger will find satisfaction here. There are meat-and-three specials every day, including barbecue on Thursday and fried pork chops and/or chicken livers Friday, the vegetable list including superb peppery collard greens. For a non-burger hot sandwich, I highly recommend the Philly cheese steak, an upscale torpedo made with succulent strips of ribeye.

The Kingsman is a fascinating hybrid of restaurant genres. The room into which you walk at first looks like a tiny diner, complete with counter and short-order chefs working the flat tops. Beyond that is a larger room that has the feel of a neighborhood café: upholstered booths and unclothed tables, a short counter here with a view of whiskey bottles on the shelf, but also of the big urns of ice tea, a favorite lunchtime drink. Then there is a third room – deeper, quieter, more tavern-like. By mid-meal, all three rooms are perfumed by hamburgers and filled with rollicking conversations of customers. I arrived just before noon. Soon thereafter, all seats were occupied and there was a wait for tables.

What to Eat
Kingsman, Palmetto Burger
Palmetto Burger
The Palmetto burger is topped with pimento cheese and thick bacon.
Kingsman, Pimento Burger
Pimento Burger
A 'regular' pimento burger. The Angus beef patty is fresh and juicy, but it is the luxurious pimento cheese that makes this Columbia classic a memorable dish.
Kingsman, Philly Cheese Steak
Philly Cheese Steak
Not traditionally Philly-like, Kingsman's cheese steak is outstanding because it is made with utterly delicious, gravy-sopped shaved ribeye. Also included are sauteed peppers, mushrooms, and onions.
Kingsman, Collard Greens
Collard Greens
Also including bits of cooked-tender celery and broccoli, collard greens are seasoned with ham and deliver an agreeable pepper punch.
Kingsman, French Fries
French Fries
Yawn: French fries are not the least bit interesting.
Kingsman, Onion Rings
Onion Rings
Onion rings are pre-fab but are a nice between-burger-bite munch.
Kingsman, Fried Pork Chops
Fried Pork Chops
Friday's meat-and-three menu includes fried pork chops and/or chicken livers. I went for two pork chops.
Kingsman, Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and Cheese
Mac 'n' cheese is mild 'n' soupy, a good companion to spicy fare but not a standout on its own.
Kingsman, Cabbage
One of several available veggies on the meat-and-three lunch menu, cabbage is very tender and very mildly seasoned. Friendly but not exciting.
Directions and Hours
open now
Monday11am - 9pm
Tuesday11am - 9pm
Wednesday11am - 9pm
Thursday11am - 10pm
Friday11am - 10pm
Saturday11am - 10pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
4 stops | 148 MILES | 2 hr 53 min

The pimento cheeseburger was invented in Columbia, South Carolina in the 1960s at a long-gone restaurant called the Dairy Bar. The inspired duet of carnivorous succulence and cheddar luxury, with a soupcon of spice, has become popular throughout the state and much of the Southland, but you still find the beefiest and cheesiest ones in…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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