Humble Pie a la Mode
Traveling south on Rutledge Avenue approaching the intersection at Cannon Street, one sees at some distance a painted advertisement at the second floor level which is a real eye catcher. At first it appears to be an illustration of a nurse presenting a steaming tray of ...something. Without the ad copy a distracted driver could imagine many titillating captions.
The painting quasi qualifies as a mural. It's rendered upon the clapboard siding of Charleston structure which dates to the 1890's. It promotes a restaurant which was established around 1996, a time when few commercial ventures would risk both that unsettled neighborhood or the remote location. It's far from the successful restaurant district which is considerably south of this point. Successful Charleston restaurants have either a well established reputation for superior food and service or they have a gimmick. The Hominy Grill didn't fit comfortably in either category, but this attractive painting seems to have been a solid drawing card.
The interior is fairly plain with a predominating tongue-in-groove wall surface. It reminds one of a classic beach house which was a pleasant break from the overwrought decor of many competitors. If anything, it was at pains to wax humble and folksy. What, after all, could approach the table with greater humility than hominy also knows as grits to visitors less familiar with local expressions. Where one might plot the Hominy Grill on the epicurean index or grant a bang-for-the-buck rating is a task we leave to others. We find restaurant reviews far more difficult to digest than the dishes they critique.
We can't deny that courage and good timing seem to have begun a very successful enterprise. The HG has played the folksy-chic theme like a cello. At a time when many new and fashionable eateries have become consumed by their own passion plays of absurd culinary inventions, the HG increasingly puts more sophisticated diners at plates of red rice, collards, cornbread and, of course, hominy.