Excellent | Worth a Detour
Bruce’s Bar and Grill | Square Meals & Cold Beer
Review by: Michael Stern
Unlikely Restaurant Row
In the shadow of U.S. 1 through Aiken County‘s Midland Valley, Route 421 — the old Augusta Road — is a stretch of raw local color and surprisingly excellent eateries. One of the most unlikely prospects — and yet one of the best — is Bruce’s Bar and Grill, Here you find square meals & cold beer, burgers, wings, and delectably divey pool hall ambience.
Not for Drinks Only
At Bruce’s long bar, many customers come throughout the day and into the night (to 2am) for beer, shots, cocktails, and conversation. Yes, it does appear to be a spirits-centered enterprise. But plenty of regulars come just for food. It is so much better than you’d expect in a roadside tavern.
Burgers, for instance, are hand-formed half-pound patties, thick and fatty enough to ooze flavor. Add cheese and bacon, and you have a mighty meal. Add jalapeno poppers, grilled onions, a crisp-fried onion ring, plus every imaginable condiment and garnish, and you have a Big Mike Burger. The Big Mike is so tall and multi-layered that for most of us, a knife and fork are necessary. But Bruce’s devotees with hands big enough actually to pick it up compress it top to bottom with a great vice-like squeeze, and open their jaws wide enough to bite it like a normal burger. On the side, you want what Midland Valley folk know as “home fries” — French fries cut here in the kitchen.
Every day of the week, a chalkboard lists food and drink specials. The eats are such square meals as meat loaf, country-fried steak, or baked spaghetti. Taco Tuesday features nachos that use house-made chips. Monday is steak night, when a full dinner — ribeye or t-bone — sells for $15. Full-bore Sunday dinners cost $10. Libation deals include the likes of $2 Fireball shots, $3 sex on the beach, $4 Koolaid cocktails, and $1.50 draughts. If you like square meals & cold beer, you will be right at home in Bruce’s.
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner, Late Night|
|Credit Cards Accepted||No|