Food & Drink

What's good here: Devine Foods

A series that lets you get to know the people behind local restaurants

ABOUT DEVINE FOODS

Address: 2702 Devine St. in Shandon

Phone: (803) 252-0356

Hours: Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday

Menu: Greek-American cuisine

Make a nomination: Have a restaurant, nightspot, server or bartender you would like to see featured in “What’s good here?” Send nominations to Megan Sexton at msexton@thestate.com

Keith Stanton has been working at Devine Foods for 15 years. The Greek-American restaurant has been around since 1988.

What do you do here?

“A little bit of everything. They call me operations (manager), but I cook, take trash out, whatever. ... The guys back in Dillon call me the consigliere — you know, Tom Hagen from ‘The Godfather.’ I’m the Irish henchman for the Greek mafia.”

So, what is good here?

“My personal favorites are any of the (daily) specials. ...

If I had to pick my top three (from the menu), I’d take spanakopita, the Greek pita burger or the half roasted Greek-style chicken. Those are guaranteed, lock-line winners.”

What do you run out of every night?

“We’re pretty good keeping things in. The roasted Greek chicken will get gone pretty quick. And cookies. Our never frozen batter of oatmeal, pecan and chocolate chip. My marketing scheme is: ‘We don’t fake and bake this cookie; we make and bake this cookie.’ We don’t play games. If they wanna play games, call Milton Bradley or Parker Brothers.”

Who eats here?

“We’ve had all the coaches at USC, Bobby Knight, Billy Packer, Ric Flair — Wooo Hooo.

“We have a great many politicians, Lord have mercy. ... We’ve had Ben or Jerry, one of them, I think it was Jerry, from Ben and Jerry’s.

“But most people come from the 29205 ZIP code.”

Do you have regulars?

“I honestly know 65 percent of our clientele. ... We have people who come in so often, if they don’t show up we go looking for them to make sure they’re OK.”

Biggest misconception about your place?

“At least once a week I meet somebody in Columbia who has not been here or didn’t realize we’re a restaurant because we’re stuck between two retail shops.”

How many tables?

“We have 21 tables. Some inside, some on the porch, a couple outside” on the sidewalk.

Anything else?

“Georgia and Angelo Trifos, (the owners), what they have done over all these years, they have built a business and a product that is consistent, that has afforded many people good jobs and created a clientele. ... It’s stayed the same for the 15 years I’ve been here. That’s almost unheard of. And it’s a beautiful thing.”

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