Sunday, July 14, 2013

South Carolina Road Trip - The Beacon Drive-In - Spartanburg, SC

Ok, so I'm a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives fanatic.  If Guy Fieri says to go somewhere, I do.  And to get to this particular spot he recommended, I drove an hour and a half each way.  However, I'm guessing he hasn't been to this place in awhile, because I can't for the life of me figure out why he would have recommended it, aside from the fact that it's old and established.

The place is massive as is the parking lot, although it was somewhat hard to find from the interstate without a GPS (my phone managed to die before we got there).  Luckily, everyone knows where it is since it is a local legend.  There's plenty of seating, inside, outside, and in their glassed-in patio area.  I have to say it was kind of disorganized and grimy looking, with mold growing in the corner of the windows, but at least the kitchen looked cleaner from what I could see.  The guy changing paper towel rolls on the table just threw the empty ones on the floor as he was going through and didn't bother to go back for them until he was sweeping up later.  He didn't seem too happy to be there, which actually was a trait seen in most of the staff except the cashier and drink guy.  They accept cash and credit cards for payment.

The menu is on the larger side.  Lots of burgers, hotdogs, chili-cheese stuff and of course they're known for making any main course available "a-plenty" which means for about $3-4 more you get a whopping side of onion rings and fries with the meal.  You place your order with the guy standing at the counter (and if you're not ready don't go near him!) and he shouts it out and then scurries you down the line.  I couldn't tell if the guy was the famous JC from the show or not because he seemed pretty surly, while JC on the show seemed quite friendly.

I ended up getting a Pimento Cheese Burger A'Plenty which was a massive amount of food for about $7.  Dad got the regular cheeseburger, and luckily didn't order it a'plenty because he was able to help me with mine.  The burgers were ok, kind of greasy, not as flavorful as you'd expect and honestly tasted kind of like McDonalds burgers.  The onion rings were made from sweet onions with a greasy breading but were actually decent, but the fries I didn't care for at all.  They tasted like the cheap frozen fries you get at the grocery store.  I did like the lemonade, it was very sweet and refreshing.

I can't say I'd ever go back.  It was an interesting experience but definitely  not one I'd go out of my way to repeat.  It's fast food in an old building and while I'm sure it's a local legend, I've eaten at plenty of other places (both from the DD&D show and not) that are far more deserving of a road-trip to get to.

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