This column offers a sampling of dining experiences in the area. It is not intended as a review of the restaurant other than to provide the reader with one diner's experience. It also appears in The Herald's Friday entertainment section, "Ticket."
LOCATION: 3735 Addison Ave., Rock Hill
HOURS: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
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WEB SITE: mcalistersdeli.com
AMBIANCE: Deli chain restaurant
When my nephew was visiting from Tennessee, I decided we'd head to Rock Hill for a late lunch. Unfortunately, time had slipped by. It was 2:30 p.m., and the restaurant I had in mind was closed between lunch and dinner. After making a big loop around the city of Rock Hill to check out about four other restaurants on my list (only to find the doors locked), we were famished. So, we decided to hit a place close to the interstate, where neither of us had been -- McAlister's Deli.
The first thing I noticed inside was the massive menu above the counter -- filled with more than 100 items including sandwiches, spuds, salads, soups, platters and a children's menu. Prices range $3.99-$7.99.
However, we both were quick to decide on the "Choose Any Two" menu ($6.19), with both our sights locked in on the half sandwich of Basil Parmesan Chicken Panini and cup of soup. Other choose-two options include chili, half a spud, half a salad, and half a wrap. After receiving our mammoth soda and McAlister's famous sweet tea (with cups displaying Panthers pride), we were instructed to take our number to the table and our order would be brought to us.
The dining area is made somewhat cozy by the valance curtains hanging from the rods at the booths. The restaurant also was warmed by our server Heather, who served pleasant, sincere conversation with our quickly delivered meal.
The panini was packed with chicken chunks and fresh basil between slices of crisp, toasted sourdough bread. My clam chowder soup was fantastic and creamy; my nephew liked the consistency and taste of his cheddar and potato.
Our hunger pains were a thing of the past, and we both agreed we wouldn't hesitate to detour to McAlister's Deli again with locations throughout the U.S., including a second location in Rock Hill at 3150 Herlong Ave., suite 201 (803-980-1717).
So, if you can't get untied from your desk during "regular" lunch hours, here's what I now know: Call the restaurant(s) before you make the trip. Or, McAlister's Deli (that's WiFi enabled, takes call-in orders and caters, too) could be the spot.