Reflections looks back to the time when numerous restaurants could be found on Main Street. One of the most remembered was the Palmetto Caf which opened in 1920 and was located on the corner of South Main and Dugan Streets. This eating establishment …
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Reflections looks back to the time when numerous restaurants could be found on Main Street. One of the most remembered was the Palmetto Caf which opened in 1920 and was located on the corner of South Main and Dugan Streets. This eating establishment was featured in The Sumter Daily Item in an article published April 26, 1923. "Today's restaurants had their origin in the First French revolution, toward the close of the eighteenth century. That revolution meant ruin to many noble families, and their downfall meant ruin also for their chefs, so some of the latter hit upon the idea of opening houses where dainties prepared by their skilled hands could be obtained." The term restaurant actually means "restoring" and was often applied to these establishments because you would frequent them to "revive or restore your failing strength." Articles and photos used to prepare this expose were taken from The Item archives and are being reprinted with a modicum of editing.
"In every progressive city there must be a modern and up-to-date restaurant and Sumter enjoyed the reputation of having one of the best as the Palmetto Caf was unquestionably in a class by itself and represented the highest standard of service that could be obtained anywhere."
The facility was elaborately equipped and presented an attractive appearance throughout. The restaurant won a special place in the hearts of the local populace as well as the numerous visitors who came to our city. "We serve the best regular dinners every day," was the adage often boasted by the ownership. "The cuisine was excellent and prepared by the best cooks. Customers were assured that the food was of the highest class, carefully inspected before being served." The caf featured fourteen tables and were well arranged with marble counters adding to the general attractiveness of the dining room. The caf employed seven accommodating waiters who were attentive to every need of the customers.
"The men at the head of the Palmetto Caf were among the most progressive and substantial business men of Sumter. They were Gus Rangos, Althes Paroulas and Thangy Prins, all of whom had wide experience in the restaurant business and were recognized as among the best-known citizens of Sumter."
Research indicates that the Palmetto Caf would change its name to the Rainbow Restaurant in 1938 and also change location to 15 South Main. In 1958 the newly formed Rainbow Restaurant would move to its final location at 16 E. Liberty Street, where it would continue operation until it closed. The restaurant boasted that it served "The Best Coffee in Town" and was owned and operated by the Pringle family." The building was razed in June of 2015, to make room for the recently constructed City Economic Development Building.
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