Papas & Beer

Last Saturday, Mr. McB and I hit Papas & Beer (317 Haywood Road, Greenville) for a late lunch. We have heard good things about Papas and their large menu meant we could both sate our cravings.

We arrived at the restaurant and were promptly seated.There was a crowd but the place was not packed. I assume there was an additional seating area since the noise level, which was high enough for McB to comment on, didn’t match the number of folks in our dining room.

Our server took our drink order and quickly returned with our chips, bean dip, and sodas. He then walked away before taking our order. His departure gave me time to consider the full menu so I didn’t mind.

McB and I continued to munch on our chips and take in the atmosphere for the next 20 minutes and still not a single server stopped by our table. I tried making eye contact. I tried pushing the menus to the extreme outer edge of the table but none of the servers even slowed down enough to notice us. We did get a quick notice as we left a few bucks on the table and walked out the door.

Normally, this kind of thing would make me mad but this time I just felt disappointed. I was hoping we’d find a delicious local Mexican restaurant. I’m sure we will find a great place one day but it won’t be Papas & Beer.

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Lil Rebel 290

I passed the Lil Rebel 290 last December as I was making my way down route 290 to catch up to 25 and then on to Tennessee. It’s a nice looking building from the outside and on the day I passed, the parking lot was pretty full. I love small, local restaurants and immediately made a note to Google it at some point.

McB and I first tried the Lil Rebel (2608 Locust Hill Rd, Taylors) the day after Christmas. On that visit we both ordered burgers and were quite impressed by the portion size, speed of service, and friendliness of the waitstaff.

Lil Rebel has a large menu with lots of choices but I’m not sure I’ll ever fully appreciate them all because I’ve fallen for their Calabash chicken dinner. It’s unlike me to order the same entree but during our last two visits, it’s been the Calabash chicken. The only change up has been whether I order all fries or a fry-onion ring split. Again, this is not like me but look at this plate.

Calabash chicken - little rebelThe succulent chicken breast planks are surrounded by a light breading that is perfectly seasoned to provide just the right kick for the palate. I used very little dipping sauce because frankly, it wasn’t needed. The fries are hot, fresh, and plentiful.

regular chicken fingersOn this particular visit, McB ordered the regular chicken fingers. He liked the fingers but was eying my Calabash. He loves the fries at the Lil Rebel. He likes very few fries so I’m glad that these can help fill the void left by our departure from a Raising Cane’s city. On this visit, McB also tried the house BBQ sauce. It is a slightly watery sauce made with Greek sauces. I found it to be curiously delicious. McB liked it but regretted not choosing the more traditional hickory sauce.

The portions are large and the prices are low. The quality of the food can’t be beat. It’s not a gourmet meal but it’s good homey cooking. There are healthy items on the menu; I’m just too stuck on the Calabash to get to any of those. I’ve also been unable to order one of their many dessert options. It’s not that I don’t want to but we generally leave stuffed to the gills with a doggy bag in hand.

The staff is so nice and friendly. They are always willing to make recommendations. I also like that you typically don’t have to ask for a “to-go” cup and our instead are asked whether you want one or not. I think local restauranteurs just have a better understanding of the role good service plays in customer loyalty. It definitely shows at the Lil Rebel.

Oh and for the parting shot, our “clean” plates from this visit. You can see the corner of the box housing our leftover chicken planks. It’s important to note that this meal occurred after 1:30 p.m. on a Saturday when I didn’t prepare breakfast. We were famished and STILL couldn’t finish all the food.

Lil Rebel 290 is a great little local gem. I can’t wait to take visitors there.

Now that’s more like it

It’s our every-other-Friday pizza treat. Mythos (6140 Wade Hampton Blvd) makes a New York pie that makes our bellies very happy. Our regular (half cheese – him, half pep – me) is a bit greasy but McB, and most native New Yorkers, would tell you that grease is part of a good pizza.

They are a bit stingy with the pepperonis but those that are there have a nice flavor. There is enough cheese that McB doesn’t find it necessary to order extra cheese. I haven’t tried it as cold pizza but it does reheat quite well.

 

 

 

Our big fat Greek(ish) dinner

After our outing to the Greenville Zoo on New Year’s Eve, Mr. McB and I were starving. He really wanted pizza so we headed down to Pelham Road to have a pie at Bertolo’s only to find that they were closed. The same was true for Moe’s Southwest and Acapulco.  It was just four in the afternoon so the folks who own/run these establishments must have been gearing up for quite that party that night.

We notice that The Original Acropolis (3620 Pelham Road – Earth Fare Plaza) was open and since he was starving, McB was more willing to try a Greek restaurant that normal. Things were pretty quiet so we got a seat immediately. The décor is very showy. It seems that this is true of many Greek restaurants in the US. I don’t mind it, it’s just very…fancy.

We review the menu and quickly realize that Acropolis serves a mix of Greek and Italian dishes. This seems to be pretty popular in this area. We had a good experience at Greek/Italian Pomodoros just south of Asheville and our beloved Mythos pizza comes from a Greek/Italian kitchen.

I am pretty hungry so I select the moussaka. It’s a heavy dish but I’m hungry enough to handle it. McB picks pizza (regular Italian not the pita version.)

Greek saladMy meal came with a Greek salad. It was a good basic salad with a flavorful Greek vinaigrette that really popped with the olives and feta in the salad.

 

MoussakaThe moussaka was a bit different than what I was expecting. I was presented with a slightly Americanized version of Greek moussaka (eggplant/potatoes, seasoned ground beef, béchamel sauce) but it was surrounded by a hearty tomato sauce with slices of feta. It was like a little Italian moat around my moussaka castle. The core dish was good for the most part. The beef was well seasoned with the traditional cinnamon and all spice. The potatoes weren’t cooked as thoroughly as I would have liked.  There was also some bitterness to the eggplant but it’s eggplant and sometimes that just happens. The tomato sauce and feta pairing was good but I feel like they were there on the plate trying to cover for the shortcomings of the moussaka. While this odd combination wasn’t horrible, it didn’t provide the authentic experience I was looking for.

Pizza from AcropolisMcB’s cheese pizza featured the same sauce that surrounded my moussaka. It was a heavy sauce that was applied liberally – too liberally for his taste. The crust held up to the sauce but the ratio of cheese to sauce was less than ideal. The next day I tried to have one of his leftover pieces as cold pizza but this pizza just isn’t made to be eaten cold. I wrapped it in foil and reheated in the oven. I wasn’t fond of the pie. The sauce was just too much for the pizza.

I’m not sure we’d head back to The Acropolis. We only go out once or twice a week so I don’t see us using one of our limited opportunities there. It’s not a horrible place, the service is good and the portions are plentiful and other than the pizza, the food isn’t bad. It’s just not the place I would pick.