Summerton Diner

Review by: Michael Stern

The good old Summerton Diner is relaxing and reliable. Since it opened for business in 1967, this little cafe on the outskirts of town has been a favorite of locals and a beacon for travelers along I-95. It has the feel of an ageless eatery: well-worn Formica counter, blond wood-paneled walls, each table set with bottles of hot vinegar peppers for brightening up orders of collard greens.

There’s a full menu; and such items as fried chicken or steak & quail are always available, but at lunchtime the thing to order is the special: an entrée, three vegetables, dessert, and tea. Plus cornbread and biscuits. One Monday when we stopped in, the meats included calves liver with onions and gravy, baked ham, beef stew, and baked chicken supreme. We love that chicken! It is crusty and fallapart tender; the waitress asks if you want white or dark meat. Like all entrees, it comes on a partitioned plate along with two of the vegetables you choose. (The third vegetable, for which the plate has no room, comes in its own bowl.) As you might expect in a true-South café such as this, the side dishes are superb: earthy fresh rutabagas, spicy stewed apples, porky sweet greens that still have an al dente oomph to their leaves, mashed potatoes blanketed in gorgeous, beef-shred gravy, hefty blocks of macaroni & cheese with crusty edges and creamy insides, rice infused with soulful gravy. Et cetera!

The serving of pudding is small but classical: pale yellow custard in which sliced bananas and softened vanilla wafers are suspended, all under a Kewpie-doll spiral of whipped cream.

NOTE: The Summerton diner is closed Thursdays. It is open for three meals a day the rest of the week.

What To Eat

Baked Chicken Supreme

Baked Ham

Stewed Apples

Sweet Tea


Lima Beans

Banana Pudding


Summerton Diner Recipes


What do you think of Summerton Diner?

2 Responses to “Summerton Diner”

Richard Moore

July 19th, 2011

The diner was sold in 2004, and reopened by the two couples that purchased it in 2005. Apparently it was refurbished during the closed period. However, the food did not survive the refurbishing.

We ordered fried chicken, both white and dark meat. The batter was a faux tempura attempt: greasy, thick, and unseasoned. The breast meat was partially fried, cut down to the bone, then thrown back in the fryer. The result was inedible.

The mac and cheese was a rubble pile of unseasoned overcooked macaroni and cheese and bread crumb crumble, greasy and inedible. The squash casserole was mush, but it was seasoned. The broccoli casserole consisted of overcooked stems, clumped together with a grey tasteless something; unseasoned and unpalatable. Green beans, seasoned with lots of sugar; rice and gravy, unseasoned. Lastly, the ice tea was watery, with no tea flavor.

What a disappointment.


Angela Mitchell

December 15th, 2007

We stopped by for breakfast on a motorcycle trip to Savannah. After witnessing several people walk in and get pieces of the coconut cake to go (at 9am), we decided to take a piece with us for our next stretch/gas stop.

WOW. Best coconut layer cake I have ever had. Light, fresh, spongey layers, with just the right amount of shredded coconut in the lightly sweet white icing. Icing was well proportioned between the three layers. You could tell the cake was homemade, as it was not quite symetrical, and the layers had not been trimmed, but had golden edges covered by the icing. Portion size was very generous too. It was so good, we stopped by on our way home for two pieces and two coffees.

Nice atmosphere, like you have stepped back in time. Very friendly service. Five stars to the coconut layer cake! Breakfast was very good too, but that’s another review.


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