Dianne’s on Devine has had lunch rushes before, but never anything like this.
Dozens of people crowded into the former fine dining restaurant on Tuesday to buy everything from the brass foot rail at the bar to the baby grand piano in the foyer.
Owner Dianne Light closed the venerable restaurant, which had been open on Devine Street since 1995, in March to focus on expanding her other property – Di Prato’s Delicatessen – and building her new retail pimento cheese business.
Restaurant professionals in chef’s coats and pants mingled with longtime customers in cargo shorts and sandals. They perused long tables laid out with pots, pans, wine glasses, water glasses, tongs and trinkets – and even the tables themselves were for sale.
Lewis Shealy, owner of Shealy’s PDQ restaurant on Main Street in South Congaree, bought six of the square, glass-topped tables for his second PDQ store, which will open in two weeks at Crystal Springs Drive and S.C. 6. He also bought pots, pans and a plethora of other stuff.
“Pretty much everything you need to start a restaurant,” he said. “I had to leave because I ran out of money.”
The bidding was fast and furious, as auctioneers from Columbia’s Alliance Auction pumped up the crowd to buy liquor decanters, bar shakers and even the mirrors on the wall. The bidding began at 10 a.m. and lasted for more than six hours.
The signature item in the sale was the baby grand piano that graced the restaurant’s foyer. It was snapped up at a more-than-bargain price of less-than $3,000 by Bobby Turbeville, a hotel interior and decor sales executive from Columbia.
He said he had been looking for a baby grand for awhile.
“And I found one with history to it,” he said. “I don’t play a lick, but I’m going to learn.”
Light came in late in the day, with expected mixed emotions, and was met by several friends at the front door. She had purposely stayed away most of the day, at Bensen’s request, to not let her emotions affect the bidding.
“I feel like I should open the bar and buy everyone a drink,” she said.