We here at NMB are always looking for a new opportunity to collect an additional 103 pageviews as we try to expand outside the city limits. So on a random Thursday, we struck out for a 60-mile round trip to the most famous city in Spartanburg County – Spartanburg – for a twofer. Specifically, dinner at the Nu-Way Lounge and dessert in the form of a Zion Williamson dunk clinic.
For our out-of-state reader, Spartanburg is 72 potholes up I-85N from Greenville. If you are directionally challenged, have no fear; Spartanburg County erected a sign at the Hwy 14 interchange the size of the “Hollywood” sign to let you know you have entered their county. Contrary to county officials’ beliefs, no oversized county monument is going to keep us from telling people BMW and the airport are in Greenville.
It has been more than 20 years since NMB viewed a high school basketball game together and, while Reid did not paint his face like The Joker nor wear a do-rag and Brandt did not wear a shirt with the inspiring quote “attitudes are contagious...is yours worth catching…Patriot Basketball ‘96”, some things felt eerily similar. For example, we were listening to music in Reid’s vehicle on a device that required the radio to be tuned to 89.1 and, to make the night feel even more like old times, the bartender was asked “what is the cheapest beer you have in the cooler?” Followed immediately by Brandt ordering some obscure IPA. Beers were forced down in order to make it to the game on time - ringing a bell with anyone?
Whoa...we covered a lot in that last paragraph. As Juvenile once rapped, let’s back dat azz up. Yes, Reid painted his face for high school basketball games. Yes, it itched. Yes, he wore an old pair of Mann basketball warm-ups that did not have a pocket for his pager. Yes, Brandt wore the same shirt to every game with the message on it most certainly coming from an inspirational quote book most often found in a magazine basket next to the toilet. Yes, Brandt was once ejected from a high school basketball game (!) when a ref mistook him for someone else (or so he says). Yes, they both stood on the front row and led cheers for the Upper State Champion Patriot basketball team. Just as with this blog, Brandt came up with the material and goaded Reid into delivering it. Best example was when the entire Berea crowd cheered at Reid and Dr. Death Noel Wurst that “Halloween is over” several times during a playoff game due to their face paint, to be rebutted by the Brandt-inspired response cheer “so is your season.” Gary Bailey and the Berea Bulldogs were just another NMB victim that night. Hey, you do what you have to do when your team is on a run to Columbia for the state title, including a win over rival Greenville High and their all-nickname team (Booga, Grip, Stank, etc.) in the old Memorial Auditorium. What you can’t be prepared for as a fan is to run into a team from Holly Hill-Roberts in the state title game. Let’s just say our attitude was not worth catching that night. GET UP FOR THE BULLDOGS, EVERYBODY GET UP.
The Nu-Way is a 78-year-old Spartanburg institution that NMB had never made the acquaintance of despite spending quite a bit of time in the Hub City. In hindsight, this was an oversight of epic proportions. Because, while we both have been to Ike’s Korner Grill a number of times, we have found a place that eclipses even that bastion.
Let’s start with the outside. There are two signs, one a piece of poster paper in the window that says “Nu-Way OPEN” and the other an old school PBR logo sign with a simple NU-WAY LOUNGE written in black underneath the logo. Opening the door you enter into an anteroom, just like our previously reviewed Zorba Lounge. And just like the Zorba, there are some telling clues to what you are about to experience, such as “No One Under 21 Admitted After 9:00” and “We’re Checking ID’s” (a sticker which notes it came from the District 7 PTA Council - Spartanburg parents aren't fools). Inside is shaped like an L, with the long part having the majority of the seating and a long bar, and the short part (the original part, dating back all 78 years) having more seating. There is a lot of uniqueness – wood paneled walls, the “barbary” (an honor system book exchange), a side-by-side freezer and refrigerator straight out of a residence (even has a water dispenser on the door), 80’s sunroom style chairs, and odds and ends such as a sign behind the bar that says “If You’re Drinkin’ To Forget Please Pay In Advance.” We had a nice chat with the bartender (and sometime barber) Paddy, who also happens to be married to the owner. Just cannot say enough good things about this spot.
Zion Williamson is a grown man major college player masquerading as a 16-year-old playing in high school (not that you would know it from the school itself as the Spartanburg Day School campus looks like a college).
The game commenced with Zion easily winning the tip, breaking left and circling around for a nice alley-oop dunk, followed by a windmill dunk, followed by more alley-oops, followed by some ferocious two handers – his play really cannot be described in words as it has to be seen to be believed. Companies come to the games with cameras just to film him to post to the internet after the games which, unless you can get your hands on a ticket, is the only way you will see him as his games sell out. Google him if you have not already, and try to catch him in action before you see him on television.
“For this is contained in Scripture: ‘BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER STONE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.’" 1 Peter 2:6.
The Nu-Way Review
Order: World Famous Redneck Cheeseburger. This pimento cheeseburger has been written up by various other folks with considerably higher pedigree than NMB, and for good reason. It comes with chili, mayo, lettuce, tomato, raw onions, etc. Fries (hand cut shoestrings that are par cooked before frying) are extra and worth it. Redneck Cheeseburger, fries, two Natural Light stubby bottles, $15.33 before tip.
Maybe Don’t Order: Anything green. You did not come here to be healthy.
Pro Tip: Order a PBR, a Jameson whiskey shot in a mini mason jar to pair with your vape. That's what the guy next to us ordered and he looked like a pro.
I Don’t Believe I’d Told That: Hanging behind the bar were the name tags of two local physicians, Dr. Dingle and Dr. Berry. Halloween is over indeed.
Filed/RS and BG