Recently I visited with Sara Krisnow of Lizard’s Thicket. She invited me to take a brief tour of the then in-progress remodel of the building that houses their new restaurant here in Florence. It got me excited for what they are bringing to the market. Here are some few notes from the conversation that we had while walking through the space.
As you know, Lizard’s Thicket is famous in South Carolina, especially the Mid-State, as a classic “Meat and Three.” Lunches start at less than $8.00 and options include 10 meats and a large vegetable selection every day. They are also known for freshly battered and fried chicken strips, as well as fried okra and macaroni and cheese. Comfort food with a Palmetto State flair sounds pretty good.
While you may have known much of that, you may not have known that a drive-thru window has been added and connected directly to the kitchen. Yes, the entire Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner menu is available to-go. Breakfast service begins at 6:00 AM, so early risers should appreciate that convenience.
Isn’t it just another “chain” restaurant? Well, actually it’s not.
What I learned is that the Williams family owns and operates Lizard’s Thicket — all locations. It’s a South Carolina original and the Williams family chose Florence, specifically, to be the very first location outside of the Columbia metro area. That’s pretty cool to me and I’m happy to see more entrepreneurs investing in our city, especially when they picked Florence over Greenville, Spartanburg, Charleston, and elsewhere.
So why Florence? Well, Florence was chosen as the expansion point because of its sheer market potential. It has a population that loves traditional Southern cooking, it has great property values and cost of living, and it had a prime location on Palmetto Street readily available.
The impact of the expansion is already being felt locally. Lizard’s Thicket recently hired 65 staff members for the Florence restaurant location. All but three are local and the individuals coming from Columbia are part of the important opening leadership team tasked with launching the store.
That’s a much-needed shot in the arm for local employment, I think. Believe it or not, I learned during my visit that over 1,100 people applied for those open positions when all was said and done.
What was going on inside? In short, a major remodel. The designers have retained the interior brick wall but otherwise have pretty much gutted the place. They have removed all of the surfaces, fixtures, lighting, and the computer system. Yards of new stainless steel have been installed in the kitchen to make it more efficient. All in all, in more ways than one, it is an all new restaurant.
Light Oak wainscoting, neutral walls, and accent lighting, as well as new booths and tables is what you see. Both indoor and outdoor seating will be available for waiting. Expect some lines for tables. We Pee Dee residents do like new restaurants!
There is also a room with projection capabilities for meetings and group events which can hold up to 30 people. From Palmetto Street, you can tell that a great deal of work has been done outside. New landscaping, awnings, and fresh paint complement the building which has also been accented with signature green metal roofing materials.
When will the restaurant actually open? They opened at 6:00 AM on Wednesday, September 19, 2012. So check ‘em out and tell us what you think. You can ollow them on Twitter (@LizardsThicket) and “Like” them on Facebook for additional updates.
I almost forgot, if you don’t visit soon, you will be able to find Lizard’s Thicket at the upcoming Taste of Florence event on October 16th. We’ll be there too.
QUESTION: What do you think about Lizard’s Thicket coming to Florence? If you’ve been, then tell us about your experience.
About the AuthorKevin Barron is a husband, father, self-described geek, and enthusiastic founder of PeeDeeFoodie.com. He also hosts its companion podcast, the Pee Dee Food Show, which can be found on iTunes and the blog. Learn more about Kevin under the Contributors tab above.
Thanks for reading PeeDeeFoodie.com™
I am so very excited about Lizards Thicket coming to Florence. Growing up in West Columbia, Lizards Thicket was a staple in my family. Having their delicious fries okra and cornbread is going to make me feel so much more at home here in Florence County. Please support your local businesses! This is a wonderful company!