What's good here: Neighborhood staple gets updated look, menu

Special to The StateJuly 14, 2010 

  • About Hooligan’s

    Where: Trenholm Plaza Shopping Center at the corner of Forest Drive and Trenholm Road

    Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

    Prices: All items are all less than $8, with the average price of a sandwich in the $6.50 range. Children’s items, with the exception of the chicken fingers, are less than $4 each.

    More information: (803) 782-1293

    MAKE A NOMINATION: Do you have a restaurant, nightspot, server or bartender you would like to see featured in “What’s good here?” Send nominations to food@thestate.com.

Despite drastic changes in the Trenholm Plaza area of Forest Acres, Hooligan’s has been one of the constants that neighbors can count on to walk, bike or drive to for family and friendly gatherings and good food.

What’s good here?

The chicken tenders, lightly seasoned and breaded, served with honey mustard sauce and shoestring fries. The gyros, burgers, Greek salad — with the option of adding ham, turkey or chicken — and chicken salad, with a touch of tarragon, yogurt, apples, grapes, are favorites as well. There is a veggie burger that rivals the all-beef burger. The Ivan Special, named for the owner, offers freshly sliced roast beef, lean corned beef, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, crisp bacon, lettuce and tomato served hot on whole wheat toast. And, customers can build a sandwich or a sub based on their choice of meats and breads. For dessert there is a selection of about 18 flavors of ice cream for cones, sundaes, banana splits, hot fudge brownie sundaes or milkshakes.

What else?

A recent renovation of Trenholm Plaza inspired owner Ivan Rolban to post some distinct specials on a new giant framed blackboard. These include:

• Mango Rango: smoked turkey, apple slices, mango chutney and provolone on mountain bread and served with warm pesto pasta

• FTS: grilled chicken on ciabatta with parmesan spread, green leaf lettuce, tomato and onions served with seasoned pita chips

• Shrimp BLT: sauteed shrimp, applewood bacon, green leaf lettuce, tomato and herb spread served on toasted mountain bread and a side of potato salad.

The Cuban sandwich features Ivan’s mother’s special recipe for spicy pork as well as ham, provolone and mustard served on a sub roll. A new side item is sweet potato fries.

“We will always be adding and experimenting ... introducing customers to new items,” says Rolban. “When I travel I try new things and bring ideas back to Hooligan’s. We’re especially trying some healthier items, introducing sandwiches with sprouts and avocado, for example.”

What does the place look like?

Trenholm Plaza’s exterior face lift enabled Hooligan’s to add new paint, awnings, a stamped concrete sidewalk, stained wood ceiling and trendy brass and glass lanterns. New outdoor seating and planters are on the patio. Coordinating inside is an updated look of bright and friendly mustard walls with a salmon-colored trim and black accents, cafe tables, booths and one window bar with stools. The entry dining room is open to the kitchen and ordering counter, while a slightly more private dining area is in the back featuring two large-screen televisions.

“It was tough during renovations last year, especially with the economy, but we made the most of it and it’s beautiful now. We’re getting some business from expectant and new mothers who shop next door in the new (children’s clothing and maternity) shop.”

Who eats here?

“Tons of regulars and families with children eat here, as well as 90-year-olds that I remember started coming here as 60-year-olds,” Rolban says. “… I just love talking to everyone and getting to know things about their lives. I want families to feel relaxed and comfortable, and the kids to feel safe and to enjoy being here.” He adds, “We’re beginning to get new faces in here since the Plaza has been renovated”

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