Setting the Table
We have all driven past it a million times and seen the cars and pick-up trucks overflowing out of the parking lot. Just past the Hugo statuaries in Conway on U.S. 501, sits the Outer Limits Family Restaurant. I have always wanted to stop in and today I did.
A true country style eatery, the restaurant is comfortable with wooden tables and chairs, sincere friendliness and real home cookin’. The walls are decorated with Gamecock and Clemson and wall typography. The tables are laden with pitchers of tea, water and Texas Pete hot sauce and pepper sauce alongside a clean container (not sticky!) of molasses. Yes, molasses! That’s what I’m talking about!
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I was impressed that upon ordering a half-sweet and half-unsweet iced tea one of each type pitcher was placed on the roomy table. My husband ordered water as his beverage and a water pitcher was placed by his plate as well. Nice touch!
The country buffet is served Monday through Thursday for lunch and on Sundays. Friday night is also a country food buffet but Friday lunch buffet is a country-style seafood self-serve offering fried shrimp; fried flounder; catfish, fried and stewed (catfish being somewhat hard to find of late); shrimp and grits; plus a couple of the regular country items, such as beef stew.
Back to the country food buffet … fresh cornbread and homemade biscuits go well with the molasses, which I heartily enjoyed. The fried pork chop was the best I have ever had. It is difficult to fry a pork chop that is encased in a crispy, crunchy breading while ensuring the meat is tender. The cook, Helen Sanders, was successful.
She also knows how to cook fresh rutabagas. I would have liked to have seen them in smaller pieces instead of such big chunks but the flavor was delicious. The fried okra was soggy but limas and cooked cabbage were in true Southern style, as if cooked in your mama’s kitchen.
The country buffet also features beef stew, shredded chicken, fried chicken (some of the best I’ve had), green beans, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, rice, stewed tomatoes (a little too sweet) and more. The lunch buffet is $9 including homemade iced tea; with Sunday’s spread $11. Friday night’s buffet is $10.
The restaurant was bought by the McDowells last May and I noticed they were friendly and spoke with almost every customer.
The desserts needed some attention; a blueberry cobbler tasted like canned blueberry pie filling. The ice box cake (Boston cream pie type) was the best offered. The usual banana pudding was viewed but I wished for a homemade cake and a couple of pie selections instead, or a real cobbler with fresh fruit inside.
Facebook assures me homemade cake is included on some days.
In all, we wanted for nothing and the food was great home cooking and the restaurant was cozy. It is no surprise Outer Limits won a Reader’s Choice Award from the Horry Independent for 2015!
My bill was $20 and I will go back again soon for the Friday lunch seafood buffet.