I’m Robert Earl Carter, and while I’m a HUGE fan of high school football in South Carolina, I am also a big fan of FOOD, especially those little out-of-the-way, hidden culinary gems around our great state. I absolutely LOVE to eat, and I love all kinds of food. I’ve loved it so much in the past that I’ve had to change my diet and cut back on some things to drop a few pounds, but Friday nights will be my “cheat” night! I’ve had the good fortune of traveling all over the Palmetto State covering high school football, and one of the biggest highlights of every season for our OTS broadcast tandems is the opportunity to visit great local restaurants in big cities and small towns. Each week this season I’ll be sharing with you my suggestions of where to eat on your road trips when following your favorite team in “Robert (the) Earl (of) Carter’s Royal Road Feast”!
Week 3 features only two road trips for the OTS Sports Network teams: Rock Hill at Dutch Fork, and Fort Mill at Ridgeview.
Ridgeview High School uses the stadium at Blythewood High for their games, so the choices for Fort Mill fans who wait to get there are limited in the immediate area off Exit 27. There are several fast-food places there, and one sports bar-type place (with very SLOW service), so I would recommend that you hop off the interstate early…at Exit 65 in Richburg and treat yourself to some great “down home country cooking” at the Front Porch. There are no menus at the Front Porch- there is a chalkboard on the wall with all the meats and sides of the day listed for you to choose. Everything is homemade and cooked to order so be prepared to wait a few minutes for some items, but it’s worth the wait and always tasty. They have some of the best fried squash, mac-n-cheese, and fried green tomatoes that you will ever taste! As far as the meats go, you’ll find things like pork chops, fried chicken, beef tips over rice, and BBQ. The desserts are great, too- things like homemade cobblers and pies. The Front Porch has been around for a long, long time and has always been great, and the staff will make you feel like you’re eating at Grandma’s house. After you eat, you’ll have about a 35 minute drive to Blythewood to watch the Yellow Jackets take care of business.
The Bearcats are traveling to Dutch Fork which is slightly northwest of Columbia in Lexington County, just a bit further up I-26 beyond the Irmo area. There’s a fairly new place in that area that looks like my kind of place!! It’s called Cletus’ Roadside Grill, and though I haven’t personally been there YET, I have a very reliable and trusted source that lives in the area. It’s just off I-26 on Highway 176 about 3½ miles from Dutch Fork High School. I’ve checked out their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CletusRoadsideGrille) which has their menu and other info. They have a wide variety of dishes from traditional burgers, wings, and chicken & waffles to such exotic things like Mako Shark sandwiches, antelope burgers, and grits & gator! The exotics vary from time to time, so they may not always have each one. They also serve breakfast all day! Like I said, it looks like my kind of place. The exit for Cletus’ is a little further up I-26 than what your GPS will show as the way to get to DFHS, but it looks like the drive from Cletus’ to DFHS will be easier with fewer twists and turns, so go give Cletus’ a try and let me know what you think. I’ll be checking them out myself very soon!
The Front Porch
Highway 9 (I-77 Exit 65)
Cletus’ Roadside Grill
11210 Broad River Rd