Eatery Reminiscences of Yesteryear in Denmark, S.C.
Posted in the Branchville Forum
#1 Aug 22, 2006
After a thorough study of the past, we have now pretty well fleshed out some of the trivial facts of some of the restaurants which over the years found their home within the three store building which is now known as the Jim Harrison Gallery building. And also a few facts have been dug up on the building also owned by Denmark's world renowned artist Jim Harrison which is located directly behind his Gallery.
The smaller building between the Gallery and the Denmark Railroad Depot has for many years been known as The Edisto Drive-In, although from time to time the various owners and managers might have hung out a shingle with another variation of that name.
Back in the '40's, there was an operator of The Edisto Drive-In who had a very "catchy" nickname that for over a year I couldn't remember as hard as I would try. So, I got on the internet and enlisted the aid of many of my friends and relatives to help me in this journey into Denmark's culinary past.
It has been fun and it is time to present some of our findings.
First, the fellow with the "catchy" name was known by his parents as Angus Faust Carter, Jr., but to his young customers who would frequent his drive-in restaurant with their special dates on Saturday nights under the old oak tree in the parking lot, he was more popularly known as "Hookie" Carter.
It took Mrs. Jackie Price of Denmark to come up with the answer to my puzzle. She said that she and her late husband Jack Price has dined in the restaurant which was owned and operated by a young man by the name of "Hookie" Carter.
So I had both his first name and last name incorrect. Thanks for the help, Jackie.
There was a Mr. "C.D." Johnson who actually began his restaurant business in the rear area of the Jim Harrison Gallery building which is now called the "tea room" where "teas" and other community gatherings are now quite popular in the surroundings of Harrison originals which depict the rich "low-country" landscape of spanish moss draped live oaks in "The Road", and the cool and refreshing Edisto black waters and cyprus knees which jut out of the "The River".
So, after "C.D." Johnson out grew the location in the rear of the larger building, he moved into the more popular Edisto Drive-In next door near the tracks of the Seaboard Railroad and the historical Denmark Depot.
The most recent owner and operator of The Edisto Drive-In Restaurant, who used that name for the business, was Mr. Lonnie Tant who also had the help of some of his family members in the operation, such as his son Reesie Tant, who was my age.\In that same Gallery building, up on the old Palmetto Avenue there was also a restaurant which operated for many years. It most probably predated the Edisto Drive-In around the corner of the same block.
I remember going in there many times with my best friend Eugene Williams. I think it was his grandmother "Miss Lizzie" Brooker who had some connection to that business. She might have been the owner at one time, or had some other interest in it.
And a little later, there was a lady in town who owned and operated that restaurant.
Her last name was Mantell. She earned a very colorful nickname -- "Flaming Mamie!"
She and Mr. Mantell lived above the H.C. McCain Insurance Co. in one of the apartments up there. She had a son by the name of Billy Mitchell who also lived in Denmark at the time.
It seems that there were many parties and card games which were held in that upstairs apartment. One night things got way out of hand and the husband was murdered.
Again, our thanks go out to Jackie Price, Vic Whetstone, Jr., and cousin Ted Hightower for their invaluable help and wonderful reminiscences of yesteryear in Denmark.
Isn't it amazing how many of our best memories of our youth are centered around such eating places as Mantell's Restaurant, The Edisto Drive-In, or the Ice-Cream Parlor which was so convenient to the old Dulamae Theatre on Palmetto Avenue?
By Eddie Hightower
#2 Jan 7, 2007
Jim Harrison and his gallery were featured on the Augusta TV news, human interest, report last month.
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