We here at Not My Boys strive to stay rooted in the Greenville of yesteryear even while embracing the positive changes that occur in the city. We often think about childhood memories such as the make-your-own two-liter soda fountain at the Welcome grocery store, the cows on top of the Bi-Lo, and Frank selling tropical fish out of a mobile home.
As we constantly read about the seemingly never-ending slate of hot new restaurants and bars that continue to open to great fanfare, we could not help but think of the pioneers that laid the foundation for the present day spots. Could there be a Jianna without a Po Folks? The Anchorage without McBee’s Diner? An Up on the Roof without a Joe’s Den? A Coastal Crust without a Gourmet Pizza? We have our doubts. So in true March Madness fashion and in recognition of Greenville hosting the NCAA tournament this weekend, we broke it down in a bracket. Will a #1 hold on? Will a lower seed pull the upset? Check back to find out.
Three regions were pretty easy to set - Nightlife, Finer Dining/Steak, and Cheap Eats. The fourth? Not so much.
The Nightlife region covers all the Greenville partying we could fit under one “Charlie Said it Would” Umbrella. We have both private clubs and open-to-the-public institutions in this region, but none of that matters because when the lights come on and “Islands in the Stream” hits the karaoke screen, there is no hiding. With a nod to Chief’s Wings and Firewater and its original Working Women’s Wednesdays, Thursday is Ladies Night in this region and all females get in free before 10 p.m.
The Finer Dining/Steakhouse scene in Greenville has seen a huge change over the years and maybe none bigger than when Stax's Peppermill first introduced sauce to a plate of food. Before this groundbreaking discovery, the only sauce found was ketchup (and if the place was really fancy, Heinz 57). You will find that this region is more loaded than your soft serve ice cream bowl from Ryan's and whoever makes it out of this bracket will be a strong contender to win the overall title.
The eats may be cheap in this region, but the tickets are not. As of this evening, tickets to the Cheap Eats region were going for 17 Aladdin's Castle tokens on Stubhub. We do not expect that number to come down. First round games will be held in the basement of the Daniel Building and each team will receive a free carrot salad courtesy of the closed Chick-fil-A that used to operate there. One of these teams is looking to prove once and for all that the size of your receipt does not matter.
The #YepThose region is finer than the wicker-wrapped Capri’s wine. You will have to go to Epcot to find a place that represents more countries in one location than this region. The concession stands will pay homage to the farm to table restaurants in this region as they will serve country fried steak, green beans, and fried okra.
Without further suspense, the regions and seeds:
Cowboys Nightlife/Al’s Pump House (16)
Corner Pocket (1)
Cotton Bottom Club (11)
East Court (15)
Henni’s Late Night (6)
Joe’s Den (12)
The New Sand Flea (14)
The Silver Fox (7)
Play-In: Two spots on the periphery of town - Cowboys Nightlife and Al’s Pump House - battle midweek for the right to take on the mighty Corner Pocket.
First Two Out: Stone Castle (because being a prank call right-of-passage for young boys in the 1980’s is impressive but does not get you in the bracket), Astro (cages were an aggressive move...too aggressive)
Next Two Out: Brown Derby (there is definitely a reported South Carolina appellate case that involves a killing at this downtown club), Churchill’s (“at Churchill’s, Churchill’s, English Pub Club” was a radio staple)
Under Consideration: Platinum Plus
The 858 (2)
Browne Street Club (10)
Charlie’s Steakhouse (1)
Coal Fired Pizza later Coal Fired Bistro and Wine Bar (11)
John Paul’s Armadillo Oil Company (4)
Justin’s Steakhouse (7)
Seafood Shanty/The Palms at Phoenix Inn (16)
Restaurant O (6)
Sophisticated Palate (12)
Stax Peppermill (5)
Steak and Ale (9)
T Bones (14)
Vince Perone’s (3)
Ye Olde Fireplace (13)
Play-In: Two restaurants in unusual locations - the Seafood Shanty and The Palms at the Phoenix Inn - lock horns midweek for the right to meet Greenville institution Charlie’s Steakhouse in the first round.
First Two Out: Latitude (you can’t kick a NMB out of your place and expect to make the bracket), High Cotton (this is Greenville, not Charleston)
Next Two Out: Stax’s Grill (fourth best of the Stax empire), Longhorn (most distinguished by an enormous sign)
Under Consideration: Alexandro’s, Azia, Blue Fish, Overlook
Aussie Bush Burgers (14)
Campbell’s Pharmacy (2)
Charlie T’s (3)
Charlie’s BBQ Too (12)
Del Taco (10)
El Sombrero (13)
Gourmet Pizza (4)
Hot Dog King (1)
Meadors Sandwich Company (15)
Local Taco/Smokin Stokes (16)
Zaxby’s in the house (5)
Play-In: Two joints that aimed to draw the Augusta Road locals away from the Blockhouse vie to go up against the mighty Hot Dog King.
First Two Out: Rax (early Laurens Road fast food competitor), Cat Dive (seriously OG downtown spot)
Next Two Out: Boston Chicken (first good quality fast food in town), Two Guys Pizza (Throwing Stars and pizza...why is the Greenville Mall not still here?)
Under Consideration: Cheeseburger in Paradise, Pisgah Fish Camp, the freestanding Pizza Huts (sure there are Pizza Huts still in town, but the freestanding Pizza Hut was a beacon for a young boy looking to redeem a reading coupon for a personal pan pizza), Pizza Inn on Augusta, Mrs. Winner’s
The Hungry Fisherman (7)
Hawaiian Gardens (13)
Morrison’s Cafeteria (8)
The Plaza soda fountain (15)
Po Folks (9)
Red Baron (4)
Never on Sunday/Spaghetti Warehouse (16)
Ted’s Kitchen (10)
Play-In: Two downtown spots - Never on Sunday and Spaghetti Warehouse - that probably should have been more popular will meet to see who takes on the multi-location Capri’s.
First Two Out: Sarah’s Kitchen (seriously great meat and three that almost snuck in but not around long enough), Blue Ridge Brewing (Ophelia's chicken would set you free, but still open in Greer), Dragon Den (also still open in Greer) (tie)
Next Two Out: Word of Mouth (true neighborhood restaurant), Big River Grill (really a successor to Spaghetti Warehouse that is already in contention)
Under Consideration: I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt, Orange Julius, Savoury Corner