Restaurant Week: Restaurants Across the State

One of South Carolina’s newer events is Restaurant Week: a state-wide event held over eleven days that showcases the distinct and exciting restaurant scenes found across the state. As participating restaurants offer special deals during this time, attendees have the opportunity to try new food spots and revisit old favorites. In celebration of Restaurant Week (January 10-20, 2013), SCDNP takes a look at the culinary scene of South Carolina’s past as seen through historic newspapers. In this final installment, SCDNP highlights restaurant advertisements from around the state.

As the trend of eating at restaurants began to take off, advertisements for dining establishments started appearing in newspapers all across the state of South Carolina during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Charleston’s Old Southern Exchange restaurant advertises its re-opening in The Charleston Daily News (Charleston, S.C.), December 12, 1865

As some of these advertisements show, many restaurants operated in conjunction with other businesses.  Some popular spots, like the Wheeler House in Columbia, were found in hotels and served travelers as well as local residents.  Other restaurants were located under the same roof as groceries, markets, or bakeries.  This offered local customers the option to grab a bite to eat while they shopped for their own cooking ingredients.

This grocer’s advertisement includes a short line about its attached restaurant. Keowee Courier (Pickens Court House, S.C.), April 21, 1898

An advertisement for a restaurant located with a bakery and candy kitchen. Keowee Courier (Pickens Court House, S.C.), December 11, 1907

Early restaurants only provided meals during specific times of the day, but as their popularity grew, many began offering their menus for longer periods of times. Some started advertising that they served food “all day” or emphasized their hours of operation.

The Busy Bee Restaurant includes its hours of operation in The Laurens Advertiser (Laurens, S.C.), June 24, 1908

This restaurant advertises that it serves “meals at all hours” in The Marlboro Democrat (Bennettsville, S.C.), March 16, 1906

Search Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers for other restaurant advertisements in South Carolina newspapers as well as papers from across the country.  And don’t forget to check out Restaurant Week to see what local places are serving up in the event’s last days.

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