When Tom and I rode the Swamp Rabbit Trail, we finished out our day by meeting Cheryl and Megan (friends from Ohio) at Wade’s Restaurant in Spartanburg for supper. We had never eaten there before, but when I searched for “best places to eat in Spartanburg” Wade’s was always in the top ten.
Wade’s Restaurant is an unassuming building outside the Pinewood strip mall. Although it is close to the Spartanburg Mall, this is an older retail area that has been bypassed by upscale development. It didn’t look any different than many other family restaurants from the outside. We were surprised, however, when we went in at 5:30 on a Tuesday and had to stand in line to be seated! As we waited the line grew until it was soon out the door and around the corner.
Waiting in line gave us a chance to talk a bit but also to look around. The corridor where we waited had a counter where people could pick up a carryout order. Above this counter were lots of vegetable jokes. This is one example:
There was a room that had a Wade’s Buffet and you could go in there without waiting in line. Because we were unfamiliar with the restaurant we decided to wait to be seated in the main dining room.
We didn’t have to wait in line long – Wade’s has fast service and delivers the food fast too. Tom ordered the BBQ hash, which basically looked like pulled pork smothered in cheese and onions. I ordered fried chicken. Wade’s is all about the sides (“Southern cooked meats and vegetables”) so I got a side salad and scalloped potatoes. Tom got french fries and coleslaw. We all shared a basket of fresh baked rolls and cornbread.
The food came out quickly and was very good. The fried chicken was moist and not greasy. The salad was very fresh and the scalloped potatoes were sooooo good. Of course, I can’t remember the last time I had real scalloped potatoes. We told the waitress it was our first visit and the manager came out to talk to us while we were eating. He gave us a card with Wade’s facts. Here are some of the facts:
Wade’s Family Restaurant was founded in 1947 by Wade and Betty Linsey. Everyone found Betty’s southern cooking irresistible and the restaurant grew. Today Wade’s can seat 400 and has a staff of 125. On an average day Wade’s serves 2500 guests, bakes 3500 yeast rolls and the same number of corn muffins, peels 300 pounds of potatoes, and serves 700 pounds of fried chicken.
The only ding I have against Wade’s is that the waitress kept coming back and asking if we were done. She tried to clear out our plates before we were finished eating. At a slower restaurant we would have sat and talked longer, but we felt “encouraged” to finish up and leave our table. We probably would have tried some fresh baked pie if we had stayed a bit longer. Of course, when we were leaving, the line was still out the door!
I would recommend Wade’s Restaurant to anyone who is going to or driving through Spartanburg. It is just a little off Business I-85. We can understand why people “can’t wait to come back.”