What's good here? 300 Senate

June 17, 2009 

WHAT’S GOOD HERE: Get to know the people behind local restaurants

Walter Caudle is part-owner (along with Dupre and Bobby Percival) of 300 Senate, a lunch spot that is part of Canal & Senate. It sits at the end of Senate Street next to the old Columbia Canal, in the building that formerly housed Sterling Garden Center. They acquired the property 2½ years ago, and the restaurant opened in October.

What’s good here?

I would start the conversation with our Wa-Hoo chicken salad sandwich. Think a traditional Southern chicken salad with an Asian twist. There’s a little bit of heat to it. ...It’s served with traditional french fries or our sweet potato fries, which are real popular.

What’s the rest of the menu like?

We call it Southern-inspired. It’s not a pure Southern menu, but there are Southern standards that have been tweaked and updated to reflect a more sophisticated palate. Think fried green tomatoes, homemade by the way, not pressed and formed somewhere else, with a spicy remoulade sauce.

Another big hit, we make our own pimento cheese and serve a pimento cheese-stuffed sausage. ... It’s served over Adluh cheddar grits. It’s a little on the decadent side.

What about the building?

This is part of a (complex) we operate. The lunch portion is just one room. There is also a private dining room, the Magnolia Room. It’s available for use at breakfast, lunch, dinner or drop ins.

The entire building is available for rental nights and weekends for weddings, corporate functions, charity galas. ...

The building is on the riverfront, so there’s a riverfront deck with alfresco dining during the day.

Is it an old building?

Our best guess is it’s turn of the century. ... It’s made from Guignard brick from the turn of the century. It has the original beamed ceilings, exposed brick walls and big wonderful open spaces.

What’s the best table?

I would say there are two choices. One we refer to as the owner’s booth. It’s a corner booth right inside the main entrance. You can see and be seen through (the whole restaurant).

There’s another larger table in front of one of three sets of French doors that gives you an unobstructed view to the river.

What else do people like about the restaurant?

People come down here to linger and relax. ... We’re not concerned about turning our tables. If you want to have a relaxed, leisurely business lunch or gathering with friends ... or linger over a glass of wine and dessert.

Who eats or drinks there?

We run the gamut. We cover everything from USC in terms of student and faculty and staff, the professional crowd, banking, government law firms, CPAs. We do get a growing number of tourists that come in because of the convention center or the State Museum. Then there are the FODs and FOWs, friends of Dupre or friends of Walter. They know they’ll find us there.

ABOUT 300 SENATE

ADDRESS: 300 Senate St. at the river

CONTACT: (803) 748-8909, vistaeventsonline.com

HOURS: Serving lunch, weekdays, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

PRICES: Sandwiches start at $7, salads start about $8, and entrees start at $9.95.

MENU: Sandwiches, burgers, salads and entrees (including shrimp and stone-ground cheddar grits, blackened or broiled orange roughy and pimento-cheese stuffed sausage).

DRINKS: Full bar

MAKE A NOMINATION: Send nominations of “What’s good here?” to Megan Sexton at msexton@thestate.com.

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