Your Guide to Authentic Regional Eats
Sign In | Register for Free!
Restaurants Recipes Forums Eating Tours Merchandise FAQ Maps Insider

Summerton Diner

33 Church St., Summerton, SC - (803) 485-6835
Posted By Michael Stern on October 1, 2003 7:21 AM
Straight off a plane from New York, we drove from the Charleston Airport to the Summerton Diner for meat-and-three. It was the height of lunch hour; the girls were short-handed – two of them managed the counter and all the tables as well as take-out orders – and we were ravenous. The meal took no longer than an hour, start to finish, but as we waited for sweet tea and a bread basket, we found ourselves in the agitated state of hungry impatience that we so often bring with us from the Northeast when we head south. A few sips of tea, a sniff of the steamy insides of a warm biscuit, and we began to relax. When the partitioned plates piled with food arrived, serenity was ours!

The good old Summerton Diner is that kind of place: relaxing and reliable. Since Lois Hughes opened it for business in 1967, this little cafe on the outskirts of town has been a favorite of locals and a beacon for travelers along I-95. After Lois's daughter Lynelle Blackwell took over in 1987, she enlarged and remodeled it, but today the diner has the feel of an ageless eatery: well-worn Formica counter, blond wood-paneled walls, each table set with bottles of hot vinegar peppers for brightening up orders of collard greens.

There's a full menu; and such items as fried chicken or steak & quail are always available, but at lunchtime the thing to order is the special. For exactly $6, you get an entrée, three vegetables, dessert, and tea. Plus cornbread and biscuits. The Monday we stopped in, the meats included calves liver with onions and gravy, baked ham, beef stew, and baked chicken supreme. We love that chicken! It is crusty and fallapart tender; the waitress asks if you want white or dark meat. Like all entrees, it comes on a partitioned plate along with two of the vegetables you choose. (The third vegetable, for which the plate has no room, comes in its own bowl.) As you might expect in a true-South café such as this, the side dishes are superb: earthy fresh rutabagas, spicy stewed apples, porky sweet greens that still have an al dente oomph to their leaves, mashed potatoes blanketed in gorgeous, beef-shred gravy, hefty blocks of macaroni & cheese with crusty edges and creamy insides, rice infused with soulful gravy. Et cetera!

The serving of pudding is small but classical: pale yellow custard in which sliced bananas and softened vanilla wafers are suspended, all under a Kewpie-doll spiral of whipped cream.

NOTE: The Summerton diner is closed Thursdays. It is open for three meals a day the rest of the week.
4 star rating
Overall Rating
Collard Greens
Fresh Rutabagas
Macaroni & Cheese
Sweet Tea
Baked Chicken Supreme
Baked Ham
Stewed Apples

17 out of 17 people found the review helpful. Was it helpful to you?

No Yes
Posted By Richard Moore on July 19, 2011 12:40 PM
The diner was sold in 2004, and reopened by the two couples that purchased it in 2005. Apparently it was refurbished during the closed period. However, the food did not survive the refurbishing.

We ordered fried chicken, both white and dark meat. The batter was a faux tempura attempt: greasy, thick, and unseasoned. The breast meat was partially fried, cut down to the bone, then thrown back in the fryer. The result was inedible.

The mac and cheese was a rubble pile of unseasoned overcooked macaroni and cheese and bread crumb crumble, greasy and inedible. The squash casserole was mush, but it was seasoned. The broccoli casserole consisted of overcooked stems, clumped together with a grey tasteless something; unseasoned and unpalatable. Green beans, seasoned with lots of sugar; rice and gravy, unseasoned. Lastly, the ice tea was watery, with no tea flavor.

What a disappointment.
1 star rating
Overall Rating
Macaroni & Cheese
Sweet Tea

1 out of 1 people found the review helpful. Was it helpful to you?

No Yes
Posted By Angela Mitchell on December 15, 2007 3:12 PM
We stopped by for breakfast on a motorcycle trip to Savannah. After witnessing several people walk in and get pieces of the coconut cake to go (at 9am), we decided to take a piece with us for our next stretch/gas stop.

WOW. Best coconut layer cake I have ever had. Light, fresh, spongey layers, with just the right amount of shredded coconut in the lightly sweet white icing. Icing was well proportioned between the three layers. You could tell the cake was homemade, as it was not quite symetrical, and the layers had not been trimmed, but had golden edges covered by the icing. Portion size was very generous too. It was so good, we stopped by on our way home for two pieces and two coffees.

Nice atmosphere, like you have stepped back in time. Very friendly service. Five stars to the coconut layer cake! Breakfast was very good too, but that's another review.
5 star rating
Overall Rating

7 out of 9 people found the review helpful. Was it helpful to you?

No Yes

What is Roadfood?  |   Submit Content  |   Privacy Policy  |   Contact Roadfood.com   Copyright - Roadfood.com