All week I had looked forward to today. In celebration of the October birthdays in our office, we had decided to go eat at a very local restaurant. Much to my excitement, this certain restaurant was an all-you-can-eat BBQ/country cooking buffet. Needless to say, you can’t get much more southern than that.
We all piled into a few vehicles and drove deep into the heart of Conway, South Carolina, until we came to a modest joint called Radd Dew’s Bar-B-Que Pit. With a big pig out in the restaurant’s lawn, I knew this place was going to be an adventure.
We walked in and It was honestly a blast from the past. The place looked like a diner from the 1960’s or 1970’s. The tables, chairs, floor tiling, buffet setup, and the memorabilia resting on shelves made it feel like a complete time warp. We went up in line to pay first. For under $10 you got access to all the delicious southern food you wanted plus a drink. Since it was a lunch for the October birthdays, my wonderful boss paid for me.
Our table was already reserved for us so we hit the buffet right away. Taking a Styrofoam plate, I looked up and down the roughly 20 items in front of me. I then got in line and loaded my plate with BBQ pulled pork, fried chicken, chicken bog, green beans, macaroni and cheese, and a dish called Brunswick Stew. I went to our table and dug in. The BBQ pork and the chicken bog were both really good. The macaroni and cheese was so-so, my girlfriend and mom both make it much better. The green beans were green beans. The Brunswick Stew wasn’t bad. But what really made my taste buds delight was the fried chicken. It was the absolute best piece of chicken I had enjoyed since moving to South Carolina. You could literally taste the grease and the butter.
I was guilty of going up for a second plate. Although the buffet also contained cat fish, pork chops, French fries, rice, potato salad, and other things I couldn’t come close to identifying, I stuck primarily to my favorite items from the first trip. In addition to my second helpings of fried chicken, chicken bog, and pulled pork, I also got a biscuit. My co-workers told me it was straight lard…I enjoyed it.
Throughout the meal, people from my office kept asking me what I thought of the different items. They enjoyed watching me dig into the southern fare. They laughed at me pretty hard because of my former misguided western belief that “BBQ” was throwing hamburgers and hot dogs on a grill. It was a fun meal and even though I didn’t want to do it to myself, I was stuffed when it was time to go.
But while the food was good, it was the experience itself that made the trip to Radd Dew’s Bar-B-Que Pit so enjoyable. Eating off Styrofoam plates, using plastic utensils, observing the locals, admiring the quirky decorations, indulging in a dining concept that I had never enjoyed before, and having a good time with my co-workers made the lunch hour a lot of fun. I felt like a real South Carolinian today and I wouldn’t shy away from taking any of my western friends to Radd Dew’s for some soul food and culture. Don’t Blink.