I woke up on a recent Saturday morning craving comfort food. I'd had a long week and needed an escape from the hustle and bustle of reality.
I knew just the place to go for brunch -- The Peach Stand, a Fort Mill fixture since the 1930s.
Slight confession: I've lived in either south Charlotte or northern York County for about 15 years, but it wasn't until this summer that I visited The Peach Stand. I'd always assumed it was just a fancy gas station.
But the Springs Farm-owned Peach Stand actually has a major retail center, produce stand, custom butcher shop, ice cream parlor and restaurant. The York County gem is nestled on S.C. 160 between downtown Fort Mill and Baxter. It's like a piece of the country in the middle of the city.
The no-frills restaurant has a walk-up counter and quaint dining area with six booths and five tables. The simple country decorations are limited to a few large, framed photographs of peaches, strawberries and other produce found around Springs Farms.
But the experience is more about the food than atmosphere.
The breakfast menu includes "Famous Fort Mill Breakfasts" ranging from an egg platter served with sausage or bacon, grits and toast for $3.59 to French toast, two eggs and a meat for $5.99. Also enticing on the menu is The Peach Stand Ultimate Omelet ($4.99), made of two eggs, ham, onion, green peppers and a side of sausage or bacon and toast. There's also a variety of breakfast sandwiches -- even livermush.
I opted for scrambled eggs, country ham, grits and a side of hash browns. My companion ordered the French toast plate. Just for kicks, we ordered a biscuit and gravy to split, and boy, I'm glad we did. The thick, rich gravy was made with chunks of sausage just like my grandma's. The large biscuits were extra fluffy. It was exactly the comfort food I was looking for.
The meal itself was nice, but we also enjoyed strolling through the market area after brunch.
We bought German potato salad and macaroni salad for later, and, despite being stuffed, drooled a bit over the freshly-cut filet mignon and other steaks and sausages from the butcher shop. The Peach Stand also sells a variety of pies and cakes, Danishes and other baked goods.
As an added bonus, we now have Christmas gift ideas after seeing all the preserves and jams -- even old-fashioned peach butter -- made especially for The Peach Stand. Also among the goodies were dips, dressing mixes and spices manufactured by the Rock Hill-based Hidden Acre Farm.
It's clear, The Peach Stand is all about "local."
Shannon Greene, Enquirer-Herald editor
Hours: Breakfast: 6-10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday and 8-11 a.m. Saturdays. Lunch: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m
Phone: (803) 547-7569
Web site: peachstand.com
Ambiance:Laid-back country diner