Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Hungry Drover

John Wilson and Sheila Springfield have a vision of a place where neighbors meet to share gossip and good food. They wanted their restaurant to be a kind of community center in the tradition of the town where they operate, Travelers Rest. Their café, at the intersection of Tigerville and Locust Hill roads features a long table in the center of the room designed to bring neighbors and strangers together.

I was there for breakfast a few days after they opened in August, 2012. John, an affable and avuncular sort, welcomed me at the door and offered a sample of their breakfast fare: Country ham, grits, and a huge biscuit slathered with country gravy.  The ham was excellent and not overly salty and the biscuit and gravy were grandma-good, but the grits took best of show; soft and creamy, almost melting in the mouth. Sheila came around in her customary black apron and permanent smile, and confessed that, though she is the head chef, John is in charge of grits.

Sheila is a fan of Southern Appalachian cooking and her menu consists of recipes she learned from her grandmother, and old favorites as well as those she has researched from old and new southern cookbooks.  The cafe offers a seasonal menu of country fair made with locally sourced ingredients.

Visitors are invited to browse the shelves of art and crafts from local artists, and may even pick up a gallon of local raw milk, honey or a bag of local tomatoes to take home. The hungry drover is a welcome addition to upstate fare.

The Hungry Drover is open Monday-Friday, 10AM-6PM and 8AM-2PM on Saturday.

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