Columbia Free Times

Chili Cheeseburger and Onion Rings at Mack’s

By Jonathan Sharpe
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 |
Photo by Jonathan Sharpe
what: chili cheeseburger and onion rings
cost: $3.45 + $2.00
where: Mack’s Cash Grocery, 1809 Laurel St., 779-9858

Regulars walk into Mack’s Cash Grocery, also known as Mack’s on Laurel, through the back door. The line to order biscuits, burgers or hot dogs sometimes stretches back that far. Generations of customers shuffling through that line have worn down the linoleum tile by the counter, where you might get called “sweetie,” if they don’t already know you by name. Old painted signs, a busted piston head and posters of the World’s Fair hang on the wood-paneled walls, along with the obituary of Clyde C. Patrick, who died last October. Patrick took over Mack’s in the 1960s, and built its current location in 1974. I could tell you Mack’s is an institution, a living time capsule, a holdover from the days when your grandparents drove fast, gas-guzzling cars to drive-in theaters. But the fact is, Mack’s still makes a really tasty and totally cheap cheeseburger. Order it all the way with chili and it will come slathered in everything but ketchup. Order it with their fried-to-perfection onion rings and you will want to take the rest of the day off. Mack’s is open Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Breakfast is served until 10:30 a.m.

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