Business

White Horse is back open. Why and where the Rock Hill restaurant found a perfect fit.

White Horse opens in Rock Hill SC

Rock Hill SC restaurant White Horse is back open at the Lowenstein Building. It has been serving Rock Hill more than 40 years.
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Rock Hill SC restaurant White Horse is back open at the Lowenstein Building. It has been serving Rock Hill more than 40 years.

By opening time Thursday, anyone showing up to try the new White Horse restaurant had missed the first seating.

Jerry and Jackie Anderson had their table.

“We wanted to be the first in line,” said Jerry Anderson. “It looks like we’re close to it.”

The Andersons and a few others came in ahead of the 11 a.m. opening. Owner Marsha Pursley wanted a soft opening since the late December closing of the Camden Avenue location to move into the Lowenstein Building, closer to downtown Rock Hill.

“It’s been a long anticipated wait for us to get here,” she said.

White Horse has been a Rock Hill staple for more than 40 years. It’s been in multiple locations, now including suite 203 at 300 Technology Center Way. It’s part of a revitalization where the former mill and surrounding property will include offices, restaurants, a hotel and a sports arena.

Pursley, who began waiting tables at White Horse out of college and became the owner five years ago, said the move made sense.

“We wanted to put ourselves here, especially with the history of the building and the history of the restaurant,” she said. “We just felt like it would be a good fit for us to be a part of it.”

Some of her earliest customers agree.

“I’m a long-time White Horse fan,” said Merritt Croom, who sat at a table of three Thursday morning. “I go back to their original location, and I grew up. My father’s office used to be by the second location, so I basically grew up on the White Horse.”

Croom works for Tuttle Co., a main player in making the Lowenstein revitalization happen. That company also has its office in the building.

“We’re really excited that it’s back up and running,” she said of White Horse. “We’re really excited that it’s in this building, considering we’re on the fourth floor. And I think it’s going to be a fantastic addition to the University Center.”

Croom sees all sorts of potential in the new site

“It’s going to be a unique addition,” Croom said. “It’s old Rock Hill, but with the new growth and the new expansion. The sports arena is going to be opening up right next door, so I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Jerry Anderson sees the same vision.

“This restaurant will be a boost to this entire area,” he said. “This place will take off.”

Jackie Anderson is glad to have White Horse back after its time away during the move.

“We’ve followed the White Horse and been with them for years,” she said.

Having the restaurant serving customers should open more doors than just its own, she said.

“It’s going to open up other businesses and make everybody successful,” Jackie Anderson said.

That’s Pursley’s plan. She believes White Horse will attract long-time customers. It has the familiar wooden booths. Among several nameplates is one still commemorating the first date of Darryl and Linda Lewis on Jan. 6, 1979.

“Complete same staff, same menu, same decor, same tables, same booths — all of it’s the same,” she said. “It still feels like the White Horse to me. I was worried about that in the beginning. We are like family here.”

Along with White Horse, names already on the Lowenstein suite listing include Winthrop University Lab, Piedmont Urgent Care, Atlas Copco Air Academy, Keck & Wood, Tuttle Co., Skyline Steel and Atlas Copco/Chicago Pneumatic.

The restaurant hours are 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Saturday. For more, visit whitehorseonline.com.

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John Marks covers community growth, municipalities and general news mainly in the Fort Mill and York County areas. He began writing for the Herald and sister papers in 2005 and won dozens of South Carolina Press Association and other awards since.
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