Mack’s Cash Grocery

Diner | Hamburgers | Hot Dog
excellent
Worth a detour
Save

Mack’s Cash Grocery is not a grocery, nor is it cash-only. It is a limited-menu dive/diner where you order, pay, and pick up your food at the counter and eat it either indoors or at one of a set of concrete picnic tables out front. Longtime fans come to “Mack’s on Laurel” for breakfast sandwiches and eggs starting at 6:30am. Among the morning highlights is a steak biscuit. It’s a cube steak sort of thing, semi-pulverized but more substantial than ground burger meat, tightly hugged by a seasoned crust. No, it’s not wagyu beef or prime or maybe not even choice, but its flavor is radiant; and at $2, it is in the running for the sandwich with the most taste for the least amount of money.

There is nothing intrinsically excellent about either the hamburgers or the hot dogs that have earned Mack’s a glowing reputation among devil-may-care aficionados. But order a burger fully accoutered in lettuce, tomato, onions, and mayo or a dog with chili and slaw, and you will be very happy. The buns, again, are nothing special; but they are impeccably fresh; and the dressing is done with expertise, adding up to a package that is in some alchemical way greater than the sum of its parts.

Likewise, bologna starts out as standard lunch meat, but a fried bologna sandwich — two medium-thick slices, grilled to succulence with a crunchy circumference, topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo — is an under-$5 delight. (Breakfast bologna biscuits also are notable, even if the biscuits themselves are boring.)

Bottom line: Mack’s Cash Grocery is not for the nutritional worrywart; nor is it four-star Roadfood. But if you are in Columbia in search of good cheap eats in a place with no airs or pretense but a big, bold urban personality, it belongs on your hit-list.

Note: At peak meal times, enter through the back door, where the line starts.

What to Eat
Mack’s Cash Grocery, Fried Bologna Sandwich
Fried Bologna Sandwich
Must-Try
Fried bologna with all the fixin's
Mack’s Cash Grocery, Pimento Cheeseburger
Pimento Cheeseburger
Must-Try
Columbia is where the pimento cheeseburger was created.
Mack’s Cash Grocery, Onion Rings
Onion Rings
Must-Try
Onion rings are fried to a perfect crunch.
Mack’s Cash Grocery, Steak Biscuit
Steak Biscuit
Must-Try
The $2 steak biscuit is maximum taste at minimum cost.
Mack’s Cash Grocery, Bologna, Egg & Cheese
Bologna, Egg & Cheese
Must-Try
Bologna, egg & cheese with mayo, tomato & lettuce
Mack’s Cash Grocery, Hash Rounds
Hash Rounds
Hash rounds are circular Tater Tots
Directions and Hours
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
Yes

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Pizza Joint

    Aiken, South Carolina

    The Pizza Joint is a very American pizzeria/tavern where the pies range from traditional plain to outlandish combinations of atypical ingredients.

  • Iron Horse Bar & Grill

    Beech Island, South Carolina

    Bar food reigns at Iron Horse Bar & Grill restaurant, where private club status allows Sunday drinking. Burgers, wings & loaded potatoes all are dandy.

  • Apizza di Napoli

    Aiken, South Carolina

    Apizza di Napoli’s true Neapolitan pizzas are quickly cooked at 900 degrees, emerging with elegant crisp and chewy crust. An Aiken, South Carolina best bet!

  • Betsy’s Around the Corner

    Aiken, South Carolina

    A bustling Aiken restaurant serving sandwiches, salads, burgers, and square meals, Betsy’s also is a layer cake-lover’s dream.

  • Shealy’s Bar-B-Que

    Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina

    Shealy’s is the dominant BBQ in central South Carolina, a buffet-style feast that includes pork, pulley bones & countless southern sides.

  • Whiskey Alley

    Aiken, South Carolina

    Beyond a copious whiskey selection, this lively downtown Aiken bar & restaurant offers a dazzling repertoire of small and large plates for snacks or dinner.