10.) Take a random road trip to a local place/attraction/museum/person that I haven’t visited.
Today, I took a random road trip to a local place that I’ve never visited before. Since this is me we’re talking about, of course the trip had to be to somewhere completely random and meaningless.
So I visited the big EAT sign.
The EAT sign is highly visible off Interstate 20 West, near Bishopville, South Carolina. For those of us who live in Florence or the Pee Dee, the EAT sign is a comforting landmark, letting us know that we’re almost home from seeing the Gamecocks play, going to Riverbanks Zoo, or maxing out our credit cards at Columbiana Centre or Village at Sandhills.
I-20 isn’t exactly the haute of civilization, ya know?
Today, in true journalistic spirit, I decided to answer the question that so many of us have always wondered.
Located beneath our landmark is a Mom N Pops restaurant and a gas station with a grill inside. I drove to the Mom N Pops restaurant, which was closed. After all, this was Christmas Eve. So, I pulled around to the gas station.
I ordered a grilled egg and cheese sandwich with veggies and talked to the gas station attendant and the master chef. I’ll call him Vinny– since that’s the name on the outside sign. I’m still not sure why the menu lists the restaurant as By the Bridge Grill.
I told Vinny that I was from out of town and just passing through, and of course he chuckled and said he could tell I was from out of town due to my
lack of accent (I’m pretty sure he still thought I was from another part of the country). I told him that I always wanted to see what the sign represented.
According to Vinny, I’m not the only person who considers the sign a landmark. He says he’s met people from all over the country who stop there due to that sign, and most of them take pictures by it. He also uses it to give directions to the restaurant.
Vinny serves up typical burgers and sandwiches such as patty melts, club sandwiches, and double cheeseburgers, along with fried chicken and vegetables. Since it was morning, I ordered off the breakfast menu. The food was really good for a gas station grill, and it’s not a bad deal if you’ve been shopping or cheering for a sports team and don’t feel like cooking dinner when you get back to Florence.
I did a little research (err, google search) online and found that EAT signs used to be more common. Small diners used them for identification because they were large and you could easily identify them from the interstate. Sadly, signs like this have been replaced by big fast food signs and restaurants like this close as the owners pass away or retire.
And sure, you can eat fast food on the interstate. Or, you can slow down, have a bite to EAT at a restaurant like Vinny’s, and find out all about a local landmark :).