Frank and I are on our swing through the South so that I can introduce my Brooklyn-born husband to family and friends back home. To get in the Southern spirit, I told him that I would first take him for the very best barbecue in the state (at least I think so). He seemed a little doubtful as we drove and drove through one small town after another – definitely off the beaten path.
Finally, we turned the corner in Batesburg, SC to Shealy’s BBQ. While many in the Carolinas brag about vinegar-based barbecue, those of us in my neck of the woods know that mustard-based barbecue is the best, and I think Shealy’s has the best mustard sauce around.
We got there about 2 pm and the place was still packed with cars and a line almost out the door. You go through the line – which includes a sink, so you can wash your hands before you eat – and pay up front – $10 per adult, including drinks. They have an enormous buffet with pulled pork, ribs, fried chicken, and country vegetables, plus a salad and dessert bar (very good banana pudding). Frank even ordered sweet tea. He is now a big fan of South Carolina home cooking. (We waddled out and forgot to take any pictures – sorry!)
I spent 8 years at the wonderful University of South Carolina – for undergrad, graduate school, and law school. I had so much fun driving around and showing Frank all the sights – my dorms, the historic Horseshoe, and the State House (where I clerked). We even swung by the stadium with its Cock-a-Booses (retired cabooses) for tailgating. We are the Carolina Gamecocks, and this genteel Southern town is adorned with more than a few innocent references to our mascot – the most Baptist, Junior League, Southern Belle down here doesn’t bat an eye to yelling out “Go Cocks!” when cheering on the team. Frank nearly fell on the floor the first time I did. : )
I also took Frank to two of my old favorite places – California Dreaming for lunch – the place my parents always took me when they visited. And Goatfeathers for drinks – although now it is just called “Goats.” Back in the day, it was the height of sophistication (at least in my eyes). Almost 20 years later, I had apparently forgotten the red lights strung up and the graffiti-covered wine bottles lining the wall. But it was as lively as ever and brought back lots of good memories.
We are staying at a charming B&B in downtown Columbia – the 1425 Inn (since it is at 1425 Richland Street). It is an old Victorian home and features local art on all the walls – so also a gallery of sorts. Our room has a king bed, sitting area, and chandelier. They have a cocktail hour each evening and delicious breakfast in the morning. I highly recommend if you venture this way.
And tonight – the best of all – my college roommate, Christi, is hosting us as I introduce Frank to the ladies of Kappa Alpha Theta! I hope he is ready for this!