In September of 2009 I stumbled home from Seattle after waving goodbye to my life in comedy. I was down on my luck, living with my Mom and I desperately needed to find a job. With school looming on my horizon my options were limited to waiting tables, a trade that I was very familiar and comfortable with. I knew I didn’t want to wait tables at Applebee’s - or any other chain restaurant for that matter. Anderson, SC is not considered a “foodie” town. It’s more of a narrow minded, severely obese, well-done steak, 12% tipping kind of town. I needed to find a hip, laid back, top-notch, quality establishment that would allow me to be myself while waiting tables. I found that restaurant. SummaJoe’s brought me in, made me part of the family, provided me with a stellar social group, and gave me an amazing environment in which to work.
That’s why this restaurant review is biased as hell!
SummaJoe’s is an oasis in a desert of average eats. As soon as you walk through the door, you immediately recognize the fact that you are in an establishment that is quirky, fun, and different. It starts with their cool, eclectic artwork on the wall, the color schemes, and their retro 1940’s diner furniture. If you’re like me your gaze is pulled towards the bar, and their beer selection never disappoints my eyes. High gravities, IPA’s, local brews, and tasty bottle selections are available. After you pull your gaze away from the bar you notice the open kitchen, which I love. I like being able to see where “the magic happens”.
Joe Fredette is the head chef and tries to incorporate as many fresh, local ingredients in every dish as he can. Polecat Farms and Split Creek Farms are two of the most prominent farms showcased. Special are created weekly and usually rely on what produce Joe can secure from the local farms. I could go on and on and on about the food, but I’m going to pitch my favorites to you like I was waiting on you.
- Pan Seared Sea Scallops: It’s basic and very tasty! 5-6 scallops quickly seared, served over wilted arugula with a brown butter sauce.
- Roasted Lamb Lollipops: 4 petite lamb chops marinated with garlic and rosemary, cooked medium rare and served with a chevre cheese and a balsamic reduction. This is so good! Order a side of bread to mop up the juices.
- Shrimp Cakes: An all around classic shrimp cake that comes to life with an awesome lemon caper sauce that is rich and creamy.
- Chicken Picatta: I think it’s great. Fried chicken over noodles with a white wine butter sauce, capers, garlic…what’s not to like?
- Jumbo Shrimp & Smoked Gouda Ravioli: I love smoked gouda and shrimp and when you combine the two with a creamy roasted red pepper sauce it compliments the flavors very well.
- Peppered Pork Steak: A big pork chop started off on the stove, finished in the oven and served over some creamy chive mash potatoes. Joe uses real milk and a lot of butter in his taters…the way is should be made. The dish is finished off by topping it all with a mushroom cream sauce.
All of the pizza dough is made in house daily. It is a marriage of thin crust and normal pizza - it just depends on who is rolling it out. Most times there is an even split and you get a mixture of bites. I love that about their pizzas. Some crispy bites, some chewy bites.
- Italian Freschetta: This is my favorite. Thinly sliced prosciutto ham, balsamic onions, arugula, and topped off with a fried egg and olive oil. It is so damn good. There is also plenty of cheese on top.
- Eye of the Tiger: It is Joe’s take on a Buffalo Chicken Pizza. Ask for it super spicy and they’ll certainly kick it up for you, by putting some of their Capital Punishment sauce on it. It packs a punch.
- Bob Marley: Jamaican jerk chicken pieces with pineapple, roasted red peppers, green onions and mozzarella cheese.
Well, there it is folks. Those are my favorites. I use to eat all of those wonderful dishes every week. I miss them, the food and the people. I hope you will consider dropping by SummaJoe’s and paying them a visit. Tell them that Jay sent you by. They’re amazing kind people that do good work. I’d always rather give my money to a hard-working, local family run business and this is most certainly that.