Photography by John Antaki
The first Groucho’s Deli opened in the Little Five Points neighborhood in Columbia, S.C. in 1941 and was named after the owner – Harold “Groucho” Miller – who is said to have looked exactly like Groucho Marx. With a selection of creative dressing and sauce recipes he’d brought from Philadelphia and his background in the deli business, hot subs seemed like a logical next step. Soon it was a Columbia staple and over the years the menu expanded and so did the locations, becoming increasingly popular in the Carolinas. Downtown Augusta now boasts Georgia’s first location on the corner of Broad and 8th Streets in a beautiful, windowed setting.
Along with a few partners, Augusta native Cameron Spears opened the location with the desire to contribute another family friendly restaurant to the downtown scene. With its proximity to the Miller and Imperial theaters, Groucho’s is able to cater to the nightlife in addition to the local businesses in the area that are several blocks from the rest of the Broad Street restaurants. So despite being a franchise, it’s quickly becoming a local staple. It’s locally owned, has a comfortable atmosphere, and is conveniently located.
The top three sellers are the STP Dipper, the Apollo Dipper, and finally the My Wife’s Salad. The first two are their classic hot subs with warm, melty cheese, and Groucho’s iconic “45” sauce. “45” sauce was described to me as a cross between Russian dressing and 1,000 Island and after trying it, I’m pretty sure it’d be good on absolutely anything. All the sauces are made in-house following Groucho’s original recipes. My Wife’s Salad is like the ultimate chef’s salad, loaded up with meat and cheese and any of their fabulous dressings.
So stop on by with the family or have them cater your next event. With their ability to host and cater large and small parties and events, the clean and inviting diner vibe, and a menu with a little something for everyone, Groucho’s is quickly becoming an Augusta favorite.
Shane and Fiona Lysse had their second date at the Inner Bean Cafe and it quickly became their go-to spot. So when the coffee shop they’d come to love came up for sale, they decided to take the leap into business ownership.
They wanted to keep as much of the family feel as possible, even down to keeping the original cake recipes from “Grandma Virginia.” When they took over in August of 2017 they put their own spin on the place with a few new recipes but kept as many customer favorites as they could.
Sure, you can get a black coffee if that’s your thing, but the flavor options are endless at the Inner Bean with small batch coffee roasted by Batdorf and Bronson out of Atlanta and specific blends for specific drinks. Of course decaf is available in addition to lots of varieties of regular and sugar-free syrups, cow, soy, and nut milks, and so on, used to create all of their drinks whether signature or custom. There is a rotating seasonal selection of coffee drinks that come hot, iced, or frozen; some are on the menu year-round, like their special “Inner Bean” – espresso, chocolate, chocolate-covered-coffee-beans, and ice cream, blended up for the ultimate treat.
Tucked away off Davis Road, the cafe is conveniently located and has a cozy atmosphere that’s welcoming and perfect for lunch with friends, studying for a test, a daily dose of caffeine, or even events. Part of the space can be rented for gatherings and whether you’re there with a group or on your own, all of the staff is warm and welcoming. There’s a constant rotation of local art on the walls that is for sale and shows support for the community. With a comfortable environment and a yummy menu that includes breakfast, desserts like homemade cakes, and everything in between, you’ll want to sit down a stay awhile.
At this point in my life I’ve lived in four countries and four states and if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that I’m a sucker for a local, quality artisans. Each time I move I search out the mom-and-pop places – if locals have been shopping or eating there for decades, I’m probably going to love it. When my husband and I arrived in Augusta five years ago I sought out a quality meat shop since we particularly love to barbecue. (Admitedly he’s the grill-master and I’m the designated taste-tester.) That first Christmas in Augusta my husband wanted to smoke a huge ham but wanted to cure, season, and glaze it himself too. I looked in every grocery store and couldn’t find what he wanted. Finally, someone told me about Doug’s. He not only had a ham big enough, but Doug himself, now in his 80s, was full of advice on the best ways for my husband to accomplish his goal.
After 47 years in business, and more than that in the meat industry, Doug King knows basically everything there is to know about meat. In addition to selling the standard cuts of pork, beef, and chicken you’d expect, specialty meats can be found and there are facilities for meat processing and custom cuts as well. Not only do they process deer, but they’re one of the only places in the area to get a wild hog processed. Looking for some steaks to impress your dinner guests? Doug’s has that. Looking for two-inch thick pork chops for a special meal? Doug can make that happen. Just need some fresh ground beef for a week-night spaghetti dinner? Doug can do that too.
Over the past few years as I’ve frequented Doug’s meat shop, (this year’s Christmas ham turned out just as amazing as always!) Almost everyone seems to be a regular. They all know they can find whatever they’re looking for – quality meat and helpful staff. As a family owned and opperated business, when Doug Sr. decides to retire, have no fear. Doug Jr. is taking over, incorporating everything he’s learned from his father over the years to continue the tradition and make sure that Augusta has the same quality meat available to them that they’ve relied on for almost 50 years.
Article appears in the January 2019 issue of Augusta Magazine.