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Monday
Apr222019

The Lunch Box: Everyday is Thanksgiving at Steakhouse 41

 The Lunch Box is a weekly feature of the Anderson Observer. The feature is not paid advertising, and the opinions and suggestions belong to the writer of each selection.

One of the highlights of my life is finding a good place for a tasty lunch. Each week The Lunch Box will highlight a meal I have found to be a delicious and consistent go-to choice. This is not a restaurant review, it is a “best of” what to eat for lunch in Anderson County. If you have suggestions for a great plate of food, email me at thelunchbox@andersonobserver.com 

Today's Lunch Box

Opening the Lid

Main Course: Turkey and Dressing (Wednesday and Sunday) from Steakhouse 41 (formerly Carlee's)

If you are from the South, you should be pretty familiar with meat-and-three meals. If not, you really need to get out more.

A legacy of the huge farmhouse table spreads families gathered around after church on Sundays for generations - which always included more than “three” and often an additional meat as well - these meals are meant to fill you up and encourage fellowship 

Those who are new to the South only need to know the meat-and-three is a meal offered in restaurants that offers a rotating menu of meats and vegetables (often seasonal), which may/may not change daily.

This week’s lunch box is a premium example of one of my favorite meat-and-three meals in Anderson.

Let me attempt to get the confusion out of the way first. The restaurant serving this meal is in transition between the old name - "Carlee’s and Tony’s" (which recently left the old Western Sizzlin building on North Main) - to "Steakhouse 41," a shoutout to the first part of the address of the location and to the former name of the place, "4126," which did not serve Southern comfort food. The new location will serve fine-dining meals in the eventings, and meat-and-three lunches every day. It’s located in Oak Point, roughly across from the Quick Trip in front of the Shopping Center which houses Old Navy, Ross, Panera, etc., on Clemson Boulevard. The address for your GPS is 4126 Clemson Boulevard. Whew.

But don’t look for a new sign, it’s not there yet.

Meat-and-three lunch is served there seven days a week, and my go-to lunch box meal is the turkey and dressing, which actually counts dressing as one of your three choices of sides. No complaints here. No pressed turkey here, the meat is moist and has a lot of flavor, especially for turkey. The slices/pieces of real turkey are served over a heaping portion of fine dressing and covered in gravy.

Every day is Thanksgiving with this plate of food. The cornbread dressing is always just right, and the gravy has a real homemade flavor. And did I mention the portion is large? If not, the portion is large.

Add to that, before you even get your plate, they bring a basket full of biscuits and cornbread, both top notch, along with real butter to get you started. 

Side Dishes 

There is always a long roster of side dishes here, but field peas are my first choice. Eaten with the excellent cornbread, I am often tempted to get a bowl of these peas as my full meal. Most days I will two sides of field peas, but when it’s on the menu, I’ll forgo the second helping for a side of deviled eggs. 

Fried okra, mac-and-cheese, mashed potatoes, green beans, casseroles, desserts (peach cobbler is a favorite) are also among the many side choices for lunch. 

Thermos

The iced tea, my usual mix of unsweet and sweet, is consistently good, and servers do an excellent job on refills, key to any good lunch experience.

Closing the Lid

The cost of turkey and dressing and two other sides, or any combination of another meat (try the fried pork chop) and three sides is $10.50, M-Sat, and $13 on Sunday. The price includes iced tea. Right now trying to find information about the restaurant is not easy. Their online presence is a mess, but I attribute that to the transition going on. To find out more, call them at 864-226-3820.

Monday
Apr152019

The Lunch Box: Groucho's Reuben Hits all the Right Marks

The Lunch Box is a weekly feature of the Anderson Observer. The feature is not paid advertising, and the opinions and suggestions belong to the writer of each selection.

One of the highlights of my life is finding a good place for a tasty lunch. Each week The Lunch Box will highlight a meal I have found to be a delicious and consistent go-to choice. This is not a restaurant review, it is a “best of” what to eat for lunch in Anderson County. If you have suggestions for a great plate of food, email me at thelunchbox@andersonobserver.com 

Today’s Lunch Box

Opening the Lid 

Main Course: Reuben Sandwich at Groucho’s Deli Downtown

Nobody really seems sure where the Reuben Sandwich comes from, but there are theories (https://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Sandwiches/ReubenSandwich.htm_, none of which matter much to me. All I know is that piling corned beef/pastrami covered with Swiss cheese on any variety of rye breads, topping it with kraut and lathering it up with Russian/Thousand Island dressing is the best thing any deli can do for me.

So, when Groucho’s Deli opened in downtown Anderson, I was among the first in line to see what they could do with a Reuben. But that first visit resulted in minor disappointment. Groucho’s decided to replace the dressing with German mustard. Mustard? To quote the more famous Groucho Marx: “I have my principles, and if you don’t like them … well, I have others.” I’m willing to make compromises and try new things, but this leap outside orthodoxy lands flat. To be fair, I should have been warned by the listing on the menu, which lists the sandwich as a “Reuben Variation.” (But who reads directions?) At least one lover of Groucho’s Deli from years before the restaurant arrived in Anderson, Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns, said he liked the sandwich with the German mustard. I told him we can still be friends.

A true Reuben lover, I gave Groucho another chance, this time asking them to nix the mustard for the Russian/Thousand Island, which they call “Formula 45.” I’m glad I did. Normally a lover of dark rye bread, I have to say the marbled rye was toasted just right, the excellent pastrami with the melted Swiss delicious and the Kraut was perfect. The “Formula 45,” which comes on the side and which Groucho’s sells in bottles on site, is outstanding. 

Once you understand to ask them to please not put mustard on it, Groucho’s delivers a tasty, consistent Reuben you won’t grown tired of anytime soon. Not sure how many I’ve eaten so far, but enough to put in on my list of favorites at lunchtime.

This exceeds all expectations as a Lunch Box sandwich choice. 

Side Dishes 

This is where I am still searching for the right combination for the Reuben at Groucho’s. So far, I’ve tried the potato salad, a mustard-based concoction with diced potatoes, which, even though I love potato salad, didn’t find it a good match for the Reuben. So I stick with Groucho’s own potato chips, which are basic and good enough for the sidecar.  

One note, Groucho's has the best pickle spears I have ever tasted at a deli. Crisp and delicious.

I do wish there were other options in the chips, such as BBQ, though. Groucho’s offer a variety of Lay’s Baked chips, but I can’t eat baked chips.  

One note, Groucho’s does offer pasta salad, Cole slaw and something called “Fiesta Power Blend,” a mixture of vegetables and spices. But the power blend also contains Kale, which for my own reasons will not eat. Also, having nailed down the Reuben with chips model, I m 

For dessert, grab a cookie. The Snickerdoodle, Chocolate Chip and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut are all excellent choices for ending the meal.  

Thermos

Groucho’s iced tea, served over nicely crushed ice, is great. As always, I go for a mix of unsweet/sweet,  since, as those who know me will testify, I generally will refill my cup at least half a dozen times during a good lunch. Groucho’s servers do a good job of keeping the cup full.

Closing the Lid 

The cost of the Groucho’s Reuben is $8.99. Add tea for $1.89 and a 99-cent bag of Groucho chips and you’re set for a meal worthy of any lunch box. Visit Groucho's Anderson menu here.

Sunday
Apr072019

Sullivan's Pot Roast Brings Comfort Food to Lunch

The Lunch Box is a weekly feature of the Anderson Observer. The feature is not paid advertising, and the opinions and suggestions belong to the writer of each selection.

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

One of the highlights of my life is finding a good place for a tasty lunch. Each week The Lunch Box will highlight a local meal I have found to be a delicious and consistent and go-to choice. This is not a restaurant review, it is a “best of” what to eat for lunch in Anderson County. If you have suggestions for a great plate of food, email me at thelunchbox@andersonobserver.com 

Today’s Lunch Box

 

Opening the Box

Main Course: Open-Face Pot Roast, Sullivan's Metropolitan Grill

Sullivan's Metropolitan Grill downtown, is well-known for their lunch menu, but a lot of folks seem to have overlooked one of the best lunch plates of comfort food you can find in Anderson, the open-face pot roast sandwich with hot brown gravy and melted mozzarella cheese on a toasted baguette.

Rich and meaty, it's easily the best roast beef served in town. The beef is piled high and tender, the well-seasoned gravy thick and filling, and I don't know who thought to top it with melted cheese, but they deserve a serious raise. And the bread, a toasted baguette, would be great with anything on top of it.

I've eaten this sandwich dozens of times, and introduced it to most of my family and friends. So far not a single person who has tried it has failed to order it again. Many find the sandwich too large for a single meal, and take half of it home for another meal. (It reheats very well).

If you like home cooking in your lunchbox, this sandwich is a wonder option.

Side Dishes

While I've found no disagreements about the greatness of the main dish, I have parted ways with those who've adpoted the sandwich as a favorite when it comes to the side dish.

Although it may sound odd to some, I always order Sullivan's french fries as my go-to compliment to the pot roast. (Ask for them extra crispy, for a bonus treat). The fries are fine eating, with just the right amount of salty goodness to match the sandwich.

If you choose to pass on the fries, then go with sweet potato chips and add cheese fondue dip on the side for 50 cents. These chips have a hit of sweetness and a great crunch. They are not as filling as the fries, so you might be able to finish the sandwich with these.  

Potato salad and pasta salad are also available, but they don't seem a good fit for the pot roast to me. Your palate may say otherwise.

Thermos

A no brainer. Sullivan's fresh-brewed iced tea is in the thermos. As always, I go for a mix of about 75 unsweet/25 sweet, since, as those who know me will testify, I generally will refill my glass at least half a dozen times during a good lunch. The waitstaff at Sullivan's solves some of this dilemma by bringing me two filled glasses for quicker refills. If you are one of those people who insists on water, you'll save a couple of bucks.

Closing the Box

The cost of the open-face pot roast sandwich with one side is $10.99. Add $2.69 for iced tea (it's worth it).Carrot Cake And if you choose to take half your sandwich home, there are always a case full of Sullivan's renowned homemade desserts. My favorites? Cake: Carrot/tie with Coconut; Pie: Coconut Cream (not often available), the Key Lime is also very good; Cheesecake: Plain (which I recognize is a controversial choice).

Sullivan's Metropolitan Grill is open Monday-Friday for lunch. Find out more about them by clicking on the Luchbox Graphic above.

Bonus Lunchbox Note: Bill and Sabra Nickas started Sullivan's in an empty downtown Anderson 20 years ago. They have been extremely active and generous community citizens in Anderson County, and continue to support many local non-profits and charitable organizations.

In Next Week’s Lunch Box: A Reben Sandwhich You Have to Know How to Order (Guess where?)

Tuesday
Apr022019

The Lunch Box: Brisket Burger a Unique Delight

The Lunch Box is a weekly feature of the Anderson Observer. The feature is not paid advertising, and the opinions and suggestions belong to the writer of each selection.

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

One of the highlights of my life is finding a good place for a tasty lunch. Each week The Lunch Box will highlight a local meal I have found to be a delicious and consistent and go-to choice. This is not a restaurant review, it is a “best of” what to eat for lunch in Anderson County. If you have suggestions for a great plate of food, email me at thelunchbox@andersonobserver.com 

Today’s Lunch Box

 

Opening the Box

Main Course: Brisket Burger at The Pompous Pig in Anderson.

BBQ places have popped up all over the county, and why not? Who doesn’t like BBQ. But The Pompous Pig has added something unique to their menu that I make a point of getting at least once a week: The BrisketBurger.

It’s not BBQ, it is the ends of brisket ground and prepared like a burger (Pompous Pig owner Chet Newsome is the serendipitous creator of this sandwich). It’s as good as it sounds. As a giant burger eater (and I mean that both literally and figuratively on every level), I can say with no reservations this is my favorite. It needs no cheese, lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayo, ketchup (although all of these options are available), something I cannot say about any other burger on my menu, even those special-recipe ones I grill at home. I do ask for a little onion, for no real reason other than I love onion, but the flavor of the Brisket Burger is spot on and needs no enhancements.  

Full of flavor, tender and never dry, with a really good bun as a bonus. A Lunch Box sandwich does not get any better.

Side Dishes

The Brisket Burger comes with a side dish, but I always add an additional, chiefly because The Pompous Pig is renown for their very good sides.

The sweet potato casserole with pecans is unmatched in Anderson County, and you’ll not convince me otherwise. A sweet potato connoisseur, who has cooked dozens of sweet potato dishes and eaten even more at restaurants throughout the county, this is the only one better than my mother’s Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole (sorry, Mom). It’s the perfect sweet treat pairs with the Brisket Burger. 

I always add a side of cole slaw, just because what lunch is complete without a side of excellent cole slaw when it is available? Today’s Lunch Box demands two sides, and, because of the sweet potato casserole, needs no dessert.

Thermos

The Pompous Pig has very good iced tea. I go for a mix of about 75 unsweet/25 sweet, since, as those who know me will testify, I generally will refill my cup at least half a dozen times during a good lunch.

Closing the Box

The cost of the brisket burger with one side and tea is just under $11. Add another side for $2.79 and you can thank me later.

The Pompous Pig is open every day except Monday. Find out more by clicking on the Luchbox Graphic above.

Bonus Note: The owners of The Pompous Pig are also known as generous community citizens in Anderson County, and have supported numerous local non-profits over the years.

In Next Week’s Lunch Box: A Surprising Spot for Comfort Food (Guess where?)

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