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”!
The first round of the playoffs has 3 of our OTS Sports Network teams on the road, and I’ve got some great places picked out for fans traveling to their games! The Bearcats will be in Simpsonville, the Cougars head to the Emerald City, and the Falcons fly into Duck Ditch…er, uh…Goose Creek!
Let’s start with the Rock Hill Bearcat fans heading to Hillcrest. Hillcrest High School is located in Simpsonville, just southeast of Greenville off I-385 and I’ve got a great little place for you to try: P. Simpson’s Hometown Grille. They have a varied menu to fit just about any taste buds, and you can check out their menu at (http://www.psimpsons.com/). For those who want a smaller, appetizer-type dish try the Sausage Cheese Dip, the Stuffed Hot Banana Peppers, or the Homemade Kickin’ Pimento Cheese. If a full entrée is more your style, you’ve got to try Ava Jane’s Shrimp & Grits, or the “Nasty”- this is a Fried Chicken Breast OR Roast Pork OR Hamburger Steak topped with Cheddar cheese, sausage gravy, country biscuit, and mashed potatoes!! My kind of food!! They do accept reservations (864-757-9691), but don’t start thinking it’s too fancy & let that keep you away…the dress code is “Clothes!” P. Simpson’s is 2 miles (5 minutes) from Hillcrest High.
The York Cougars head south to Greenwood, a town with a very rich football tradition, and the easiest Royal Road Feast pick of the week because it’s also the home of The Dixie Drive-In (no website, but check out this video: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7GKoHPxl_M). The Dixie has been staple for locals & Lander University students for over 50 years. I found the Dixie at the suggestion of 2013 OTS Wall of Fame Inductee, Gene Knight, back in 2007 when he & I covered a Clover playoff game there and I’ve prayed for one of our teams to get a trip there every year since!! This place is crowded every night, but especially on game nights so get there early and weather the wait for a stool at the counter- you’ll be glad you did! The wait staff is super friendly, and the service is usually pretty fast. You can expect a short order café with sandwiches, burgers, and such, but my recommendation (especially for 1st timers) is the Dixie Cheese (or in my case the Dixie DOUBLE Cheese). It’s just a simple cheeseburger, but it is very good. Order it “Half-and-Half” and it will come with crinkle-cut French fries and some awesome onion rings! Wash it down with some sweet tea and you’ll be set for the game at J. W. “Pinky” Babb Stadium. The Dixie is 2½ miles (5 minutes) from Greenwood High.
The Nation Ford Falcons earned a trip to the Low Country to face the Stratford Knights who reside in Goose Creek. Over the last several years, we have made a friend (though he might not call it that!) in a football message board poster named City Slicker. Slick has pointed me to a great local favorite, Gilligan’s Seafood (http://www.gilligans.net/topic.asp?pid=1). Gilligan’s is a small chain in the Low Country with 7 locations, and they’ve been serving up fresh LOCAL shrimp, oysters, and fish for over 20 years. Great food and great service and a favorite of the locals- that’s where you’ll find me & Brown Simpson before the game!! Gilligan’s is about 3 miles (6 minutes) from Stratford High School. Thanks for the info, Slick!
That’ll do it for this week’s Royal Road Feast- enjoy your dinner and enjoy the games!
P. Simpson’s Hometown Grille
111 N. Main St.
Simpsonville, SC 29681
The Dixie Drive-In
600 Montague Ave.
Greenwood, SC 29649
Gilligan’s Seafood Restaurant
219 St. James Ave.
Goose Creek, SC 29445