Bright and early at 6:00 AM a tweet went out to the followers of Lizard’s Thicket on Twitter (@LizardsThicket) announcing that the new Florence location (1712 Palmetto Street) of this Midstate staple of home cooking and hospitality was open for business. I have to admit that I wasn’t quite awake at that point, but did see it come across my feed not long after.
If you’ve read our recent updates here and here, then you know that we’ve been following the progress of the remodel of the old Carolina Wings into the new Lizard’s Thicket on Palmetto Street. All in all, it didn’t take long, but the transformation is extensive. Check out those previous posts for the history of the restaurant and the most recent update based upon my tour with Sara Krisnow just a couple of weeks ago. Sara handles social media, among other things for Lizard’s Thicket statewide.
A FIRST LOOK
My friend, Will Crosswell with Palmetto First Credit Union, and I had planned to meet today for lunch. With the announcement coming out about the opening of Lizard’s Thicket this morning, we quickly knew where we were headed. It was time for a “meat and three.”
Meeting at the entrance of the restaurant about 11:30 AM, we said hello and shook hands. It had been some time since we last saw each other. The last we communicated regularly was about restaurant recommendations for New Orleans, as Will was headed there for a conference. Thankfully, my recommendations turned out to be winners all around. It certainly helped that I have great deal local knowledge having spent many a formative year in the Big Easy.
Will opened the doors and we were greeted by a welcoming employee. We were seated near the kitchen, but not in the line of sight of all of the activity, which was nice. As I hoped, we ran into Sara and said hello. She was as excited as everyone else in the restaurant appeared to be, having pretty much a full house for this first day of operation.
Menus in-hand, we chatted a bit and caught up on life’s goings on recently; my health issues, his trip to New Orleans, and much more. There’s a pretty good age difference between the two of us, but we both enjoy a good meal and are into social media. That made for a fast friendship several months ago and since we’ve met for lunch at least four or five times.
Eventually, making our menu decisions we folded them up and set them aside for our server. My order was to be the Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Green Beans, and Tomatoes and Okra. Will was to have the Fried Catfish and the sides of his choice. Choices weren’t easy, I have to admit, because they offer 10 different meats and at least a dozen vegetables and sides everyday. Plus, because we were a bit early for lunch, the breakfast menu was also still available. A bit of advice, don’t forget that you can order their signature Chicken and Waffles all day long.
Both plates were delivered promptly, as was a side of rolls and corn bread. The portion sizes were good, especially considering that each of us had four items, plus an available basket of breads. I enjoyed my entree and the green beans were excellent. My mom would be proud that I actually finished my green beans before approaching anything else on my plate; they were that good. The stewed tomatoes and okra were really not my thing, but I’m glad I tried them nonetheless. The mashed potatoes and gravy were good and I’d order them again. Will seemed to enjoy his lunch, as well. I’m pretty sure he cleared his plate also. I’ll ask Will to add his comments below, so that you can get his feedback as well.
In short, while I expect that not everything on the menu is prepared from scratch, Lizard’s Thicket represents a good value. It’s family friendly, as well as friendly to the pocketbook. Lunch for each of us was $7.49, plus drink, tax, and tip. Our server was friendly and helpful, as was the person who handled our check at the register. It’s easy to see the winning combination that Lizard’s Thicket has built and why they are expanding, even in this difficult economy.
I’ll plan to publish a more complete review after that next visit. This “first look” is provided mainly to get a bit of information out to those who are curious about this new market entrant, as well as to share a few photos. Let me know if you’d like our feedback on anything in particular on the full review.
Have you been to Lizard’s Thicket? If so, tell us what you thought of your visit by writing in the comments section below. We want to hear from you!
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.
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The food is good, but count on waiting 20 to 30 minutes for a table if you go there at lunchtime during the week. It's good, but it's not good enough to be worth that wait. There are too many other places I can go that also have good food where I can be seated immediately.
I greatly enjoyed my first "Thicket" experience and I'm glad I got to share it with a good friend in Kevin. The service was great. Multiple people including our waitress asked how we were doing, if the food was okay, if we needed anything, etc. It wasn't over the top by any means, but it feels good as a customer to know that the staff is generally concerned about your dining experience.
I was greatly pleased with the food. I went with the fried catfish, mac and cheese, squash casserole, and the spinach. I had originally asked for collard greens, but they were out, so I settled for spinach. And Kevin is correct, my plate was cleared. It's good ol' soul food. I walked in hungry. I walked out full. So, in the "filling" department, it's a job well done. The food hit the spot and I look forward to going back and trying some of their other plates.
Bottom line: it's inexpensive, it's quick, and it's filling. What more can you ask for?
We've actually been three times.. It's good food at a reasonable price. So far, my favorite veggie is the squash casserole. When we went on Saturday about 1:30, there was a 15 minute wait. But the hostess was pleasant and efficient. The food was good. The service was a little backed up; but, that's to be expected with servers coming from multiple backgrounds and having lots of folks. Everyone was pleasant. Robert, the grandson of the founders, is pleasant, helpful, and very present throughout the restaurant, helping to expedite things.
We went again during the week and my only complaint is the weekday hostess (at lunch). She is not organized, does not appear to know what's going on nor how to be a hostess and, in fact, was very rude to me. I'm trying to chalk it up to her having a bad day. However, her demeanor was much different when the boss was around. Go figure. I'll wait until I go again to make a comment about her to the manager.
@singingchef Thank you for sharing these updates!