Golden Strip Diner: Simpsonville, SC
at 6:00 AM
Being from a small town in Minnesota and growing up spending my summers at an 'Up North' cabin in an even smaller town, I appreciate the long-lost small town diner. In fact, I have very fond memories of spending many a day and night with extended family and friends at just such a place. When my family and I relocated to Simpsonville last June, The Wife and I had got that small-town feeling instantly as we took our first drive down Main Street, past the old clock tower and the old "station turned into an ice cream joint". This was how we grew up and we knew that we wanted the same thing for our children. When I first stepped foot into The Golden Strip Diner, I knew I was home.
I am going to look at this review in two parts, one for the diner itself and one for the food.
The Diner: I felt as if I had just stepped back in time to the summer of my 7th grade all over again. Very dingy, but clean with newspapers laying around. Air filled with smoke, but contained to only a small portion of the diner. Locals hanging out and spreading local gossip, who then drop everything they were conspiring the second a newbie walks through the door and the bells hanging ring. Daily specials plastered all over boards on grease-covered walls and a fancy rotating desert case.The classic waitresses have this presence about them that makes you feel as if they have worked in the diner for 20 years (although some probably not as mine was a very young lady). The service is straight forward, not necessarily in your face, but to the point and they do not hover or harass you as the whole place is open and they can see from any place in the joint. Plain and simple, this diner was everything that I was hoping for in my new small town that I relocated my family to just a short 10 months ago.
The food: I wish it was better. I am not a breakfast eater, so I cannot say anything about the very large breakfast menu that is available all day. I hear it is good, cheap and a local favorite. They have about anything you can imagine that a greasy spoon diner would offer plus the ever popular meat and two. The daily special on Wednesdays is meatloaf plus two sides, corn bread and sweet tea for $5.99. Growing up in the Midwest, meatloaf is one of my favorite comfort foods and one that I still have not found better than my fathers. Unfortunately, this is one meal I cannot cook at home due to The Wife's complete and utter despise of this wholesome meal. I'm just going to throw this out there and not candy coat it, if you are looking for a boat anchor, head on over to The Golden Strip Diner on Wednesday and pick up a 5 lb. brick of what they call meatloaf. It was absolutely horrible in every single way. They topped this thing with ice cold Heinz ketchup and slapped it in the microwave for about 30 seconds only warming up two of the four corners. The middle was just about frozen and you needed a knife to get through this thing. Needless to say, I am just a big pussy when it comes to telling the truth to someones face when they ask me "how is everything"?! I wish I would have told my waitress how it really was in person rather than having to type this, but again, lesson learned and I am just here to let people know so they don't repeat my mistakes. The mashed potatoes and gravy were nothing more than boxed powder and the stuffing was very dry, even with the gravy poured over the top. About the only thing here that was enjoyable was the corn bread muffin I received and that isn't saying much.
Bottom-line: The Golden Strip Diner is one restaurant that I will not completely rule out yet simply on the fact that the diner is so nostalgic and brings back many memories of my childhood. Just don't expect to receive amazing or even edible food when you visit. I'm sure I will be able to find something on the menu at one point or another that will satisfy my greasy spoon diner experience, but the meatloaf sure isn't it. The feeling when you walk in is way too awesome to miss, but when you walk back out and you are still hungry, a quick and swift slap to the face hits you.
Have you ever been to the Golden Strip Diner? If so, how was the food? What other small town diners in the Upstate would you recommend?
Labels: Simpsonville Restaurants