Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Since the beginning of this CPE program I have been asked if I've eaten at the Beacon yet.  And when people hear that I'm in Spartanburg, they tell me about their trips to the Beacon.

For sixty years the Beacon has been a regional landmark, a Carolina tradition, and famous for serving more tea than any other restaurant in the world.  Many of the restaurant's more than 60 employees are long-term veterans of the Beacon, some with more than 50 years of service. Like J.C. who greets you at the counter barkin "Talk" (order) and "Walk" (keep moving). Everyone down here has a Beacon story - of being yelled at by J.C., of eating til they were sick, coming here on dates or after church.

The Beacon was a topic of discussion at our ethical journal club with two fun female medical residents.  None of us had been.  We decided that we must go.

I ordered a grilled cheese a'plenty. (it was that or a fried banana/mayonaise sandwich.) The a'plenty part covers the sandwich with a heap of onion rings and french fries.  COVERS.  I now believe the ascertation that each week the Beacon uses three tons of onions, three tons of potatoes per week and four tons of beef, chicken, and seafood.  EACH WEEK.  Three of us shared my a'plenty and didn't finish it.

Even though I ordered the special Beacon lemonade, (and don't like ice tea) I was fascinated to find out that the Beacon is the largest single seller of iced tea in the U.S. They use 3,000 pounds of sugar per week making 62,500 gallons per year (that's enough to fill 24 tanker trucks)!

We had a great Beacon lunch.  We joked about handing out guest passes to the heart center and wondered if we would ever be hungry again.

And in a world where we pinch pennies and count calories, there is something God-like about this level of abundance, bounty, fullness and a place where you can have plenty,  just by asking for it.

You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other;  Joel 2:25-27


  1. a'plenty a'plenty
    God's love is a'plenty
    till it COVERS you :)

  2. still upset that I didn't get any Beacon bacon, which is pretty fun to say...

  3. First, love the sign!

    Second,the connection between the banana-mayo sandwich and truck loads of sugar and Heaven, priceless! That is the way to see the silver lining. :)

    I love places like this with history and a story and legend...just maybe they could use less sugar? ha!

  4. 40 years ago a classmate at Furman, from Sburg, wrote a paper for Sociology class on the Beacon. I think she got an A for it.
    Saw Nate's blog through Cartledge site and clicked over to see how things were playing in Sburg.
    As I told Nate, may notify yall later about something I think will be of interest to the Hubcity.org writer's project.
    Sounds like your relatively new to the area. Find a native who knows the way to Bridges BBQ on Bypass 74 in Shelby. Twenty years ago they had picture of Billy Graham and Jesse Helms just inside the front door.
    But don'tlet the politics scare you, the BBQ is great; worth the trip, no brainer.