Peaches ‘n’ Such is a roadside stand and casual-cafe destination for breakfast, lunch, ice cream, and grand layer cakes as well as an especially hearty Sunday after-church supper.
It is surrounded by orchards in the heart of peach-growing country, and as you might expect, its menu features peach ice cream, hot peach cobbler, and sweet peach tea; its shelves are packed with jars of pickled peaches, peach preserves, and cider. The Watson family who operate this enterprise don’t only grow peaches. Their organic fields also yield strawberries, apples, asparagus, broccoli, and squash. Most of these items find their way to the menu, and many are for sale at a makeshift produce stand just outside the cafe.
Peaches ‘n’ Such is tiny, its five or six tables often shared by strangers when necessary; and there is a limited menu of sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, and hot meals. I first came out here thanks to a tip by Aiken sages Tom Bossard and Len Cherry, who waxed rhapsodic about the ice cream. I loved it, but have returned for so much more.
Fried chicken is a must-eat. Hugging pieces of indulgently moist meat is a seasoned crust poised perfectly between crunch and chew, oozing its own full-flavored juices with every bite. On the side, of course, you want some vegetables. The one I won’t ever neglect is broccoli casserole, the home-ec classic that presents well-cooked stalks and florets in a melted web of chewy orange cheese and bread crumbs. Butter beans are simple and just-right al dente with real legume earthiness. Another winning choice is fried eggplant, the vegetable turned ethereal inside a jacket of salty, delicious breading — like the best fried okra, but half its weight.
A couple of other must-eats from the side-dish menu, when they’re available, are fried green tomatoes with zesty horseradish dipping sauce, and creamy mac ‘n’ cheese.
Burgers, made from beef attained from Yon Farms a few miles away, are exemplary, especially when ordered all the way (lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mustard, mayo). Topped with good house-made pimento cheese and bacon, one of these fully-dressed half-pound jumbos is almost impossible to neatly hoist from plate to mouth.
If you are a fan of Sunday supper, it will be your lucky day when the menu board lists turkey. It’s the real stuff, freshly carved and served with classic sage dressing and gravy. Tuesday’s specialty usually is the local favorite, chicken bog.
Dessert layer cakes are monumental: red velvet, strawberry (made with fresh berries), triple-layer Neapolitan cake (yes, three flavored/colored layers), banana pudding cake, sweet banana pineapple cake offset by great ribbons of barely sweet cream cheese frosting. For any of these cakes, a serving of house made-peach ice cream is always the right companion; and alongside warm peach upside-down cake, it’s divine.