Soon after John Dashkavich and his wife Charlotte opened their new restaurant in Batesburg-Leesville last month, word got out to local farmers that the Manna Cafe Family Restaurant was farm-to-table.
"It wasn't long before every morning when I arrived at the restaurant there were farmers with trucks at my back door full of the vegetables they had picked that morning," Dashkavich said.
Vegetables aren't the only local items on the menu.
"We buy everything locally," said Dashkavich, who previously owned and operated a sandwich restaurant in Myrtle Beach. "Our meats come from a local butcher — Cone's Meat and Farm in Ridge Spring — and it is delivered to us fresh and is never frozen. Our poultry is the same. It comes from Gentry's Poultry in Saluda and that is also delivered fresh and never frozen. Our grits are ground right here in Gilbert at Keisler's Mill."
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But some of the hottest items on the menu so far are the restaurant's made-from-scratch desserts, Dashkavich said.
"We are known for our homemade Ghiradelli triple chocolate brownies and a great banana pudding made from an old Southern recipe for banana pudding," he said.
The restaurant — which is located at 231 E. Columbia Ave. near Shealy's Bar-B-Que — has walls lined with a printed and pictorial history of Batesburg-Leesville.
Manna Cafe will host its official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. on July 17. The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.