Wednesday, June 2, 2010

WADE HAMPTON CLOCK DRIVE-IN


A few weeks ago, The Greek Festival was held here in Greenville, SC. We hadn't been in many, many years, since we are usually in New Orleans this time of year. Since a lack of funds kept us home this year, we decided to check out the festival. After a tour of the church, we went to their dining hall and each got a plate of Greek specialties. While nothing was bad, nothing really "Wowed" us either. Even the tray of desserts we brought home were just all ok (all of them seemed to be a variation of honey and nuts).

This past weekend, We had a craving for some "Greek Food" (if you don't understand this reference, then you're not from here, so don't worry about it) and we headed to one of our all time favorites: The Clock Restaurant on Wade Hampton Boulevard aka The Wade Hampton Clock. I've often contended that whichever Clock/Petes/Lil Rebel/Palmetto/Carolina you like best is the one you grew up eating at, for us, it's The Wade Hampton Clock.

The Clock had curb service when we were younger, but now you have to go in and order at the counter. After you order, you can have a seat until they let you know your food is ready. There's some booths and a little bit of counter room with stools. Another thing that has changed over the years is that you used to pay as soon as you ordered. Either our age doesn't require this any longer or the counter people at The Clock have become more trustful, since now you pay either when you pick up your food at the counter or when you get ready to leave.

One of us always orders a plate with half and half (half french fries and half onion rings) since we can easily split those between us. This time my wife ordered the hot dog plate (years ago, all the plates used to be called "big boys" but I guess that's a thing of the past). The hot dog is made with homemade chili, the onion rings are handmade to the best of my knowledge, but the french fries are frozen crinkled cut, plus on the plate you get a small cup of homemade slaw.

I ordered one of my favorites, the chili cheeseburger with mustard and onions. It probably doesn't look like much in the above photo, but it's plenty with half of the french fries, onion rings, and slaw off of my wife's plate. We both had the only beverage you should ever drink when dining at The Clock - Tea!

Now a little word about grease. The chili which is the same on the hot dog and burger contains a lot of grease and that's part of what makes it so GOOD, this is NOT health food. Our local comedy troupe Cafe and Then Some even included a part in one of their plays about the original pot of grease that was brought over from Greece and as each new Clock/Petes, etc. opened, they got a little bit of this grease and started their own pot.

Also, the onion rings and french fries are cooked in grease, which brings me to an article I read on the web. In that article the author claimed the food was NOT greasy at all. I can only think that he must not have really eaten here. I guarantee you that if you lay the onion rings and fries on a napkin, the napkin will start to show grease right away. My small paper plate with my chili cheesburger was almost translucent with all the grease that had dripped on it by the time I had finished. But these things are what we LOVE about The Wade Hampton Clock; and WE can't be the only ones....they've been in business since the 1950s and are still going strong.

4 comments:

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

That hot dog and rings looks delicious. And now I'm hungry...

Frontal Lobe said...

Ivan - Do yall have these "Greek" drive-in's down in Athens?

I have a friend (yes, I really do have a friend :-), he's not imaginary) who moved to Atlanta and he can't get a hot dog that pleases him that far down in Georgia.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I don't doubt that there's a "Greek" jernt in Athens...but I don't know the name of it. For our hot dog/o-rings we usually go to the world famous Varsity ("What'll you have, what'll you have?")...

There was a great place of that type in Savannah that my mother and I ate at a time or two, though it was an indoor place, not a drive-in. The food was sensational.

Frontal Lobe said...

I've eaten at The Varsity a couple of times in Atlanta. It's good, but not the taste us Upstate SC boys crave.

If you ever make it to these parts, let me know, and I'll treat you to some local "grease"