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Spartanburg SC: Simple Simon

Spartanburg is a surprising town. It is the home of two major corporations: Denny's headquarters towers over main street; Milliken's gracious headquarters sits at the edge of town. You can see the prosperity these companies bring when you drive down the tree-shrouded streets. You can also see it on Main Street. It has its share of empty storefronts, but it also has quite a few restaurants and quaint little shops. It even has a bookstore that features local authors.

The edge of downtown is funky without being scary (at least during the day). The local gas station sells craft beers. Several drive-in restaurants from the 1950's are sprinkled around, some closed but some still open. When I spotted Simple Simon, I thought it was worth a visit.

This small sign announces the store. You can see the pies that Simon carries. The roof sports one of those globes dotted with incandescent bulbs, the sort that used to be seen on top of laundromats.

Inside, the restaurant is a cozy shotgun design, mostly counter space and a few tables in back. The cooking area is on display for all the counter patrons to see for their entertainment. The décor includes nostalgia records and posters.

I forgot to take a photo of my salad, which I enjoyed. The base is iceberg lettuce. I know that's out of vogue but I like it for its texture. The salad was topped with a good-sized handful of juicy diced tomatoes and grated cheese. I enjoyed it.

I very much enjoyed my grilled cheese sandwich. The bread had been lightly buttered before being put on the grill, giving it a richer taste. The American cheese's tanginess provided a nice taste contrast; its warmth was comforting.

The proprietor is a quiet but motherly presence. This place is what it appears to be and was in its earliest days---a simple, cozy, reliable place for food and human company. All too often, modern restaurants try to provide enhanced, faux versions of this experience. I prefer the real thing. It's hard to find these days but satisfying when you do.


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