By Catherine McLaughlin, Contributor
Furman welcomed the long-awaited Tupelo Honey Café to replace the former Paddock Restaurant Tuesday Sept. 13. Based out of Asheville, N.C., Tupelo Honey is a restaurant that puts a contemporary twist on traditional Southern food. Since its opening in 2001 Tupelo Honey has expanded throughout many Southern states, reaching downtown Greenville and now, Furman’s campus. The restaurant focuses on “made from scratch” and locally-sourced ingredients, as well as creating a warm and inviting dining atmosphere that echoes its Southern roots of hospitality. Customers can see these elements carried out through Tupelo’s fresh and flavorful dishes and charming wait staff.
Over the few weeks prior to its opening, the former Paddock Restaurant transformed itself into a warm and inviting dining space. Now, string lights drape above the outdoor dining patio, rustic décor is accented throughout the indoors, and sleek wooden tables offer a cozy and quaint place to dine. Though it is not an exact replica of most Tupelo Honey Café restaurants, Furman’s Tupelo Honey at the Paddock begins every meal with the same beloved warm biscuits with honey and jam and continues to serve the same flavorful and delicious cuisine offered at its other locations.
Senior Sandy Clement was pleased with her dining experience and expects to return often.
“I was surprised that everything tasted pretty much the same as the downtown location,” Clement said. “I’ve been twice and have loved it!”
Clement is not the only one who has been pleased. Sophomore Tess Lesesne adds, “My Tupelo favorite? Hands down the veggie burger with a side of macaroni and cheese, and it wouldn’t be Tupelo without starting off with the County Fair Fried Avocado…This meal at Furman’s Tupelo certainly didn’t disappoint me.”
Unlike the former Paddock Restaurant, Tupelo Honey at the Paddock is open six days a week. In addition to its lunch and dinner menu, it offers an all-day brunch menu, which has also received stellar reviews from students. “I love it,” sophomore Robbie Greco said. “My Tupelo favorite is the Shoo Mercy Pancake and the best part is that even though it’s a breakfast dish, I can have it whenever I want.”
While Tupelo Honey at the Paddock offers some of Tupelo Honey’s most cherished dishes, it has a more scaled-back menu than most locations. Though a majority of its menu is the same, Furman students will have to travel downtown to enjoy some of their favorites that Tupelo Honey at the Paddock does not serve.
Sophomore Cawood Habenicht comments on the condensed menu, “I think it’s good, but I don’t think that they chose appropriate dishes for our age group…I don’t think a lot of students are going to order fish or any of the bigger courses.”
Alyson Kinney, sophomore, said “The wait staff was so friendly and effervescent, it is still slow at times. But it’s a lot better than the Paddock and there is no doubt that I’ll be back for the pulled pork sandwich and mac and cheese.”
Tupelo Honey at the Paddock offers members of the Furman community a place to take a break from academics and gather over a good meal.
Freshman McLean Ewbank is also pleased. “I’m so happy it’s on campus and I think it’s a nice break from the Dining Hall and perfect for a nice meal,” Ewbank said.
Personally, as a Northerner who had yet to experience Southern comfort food until my first visit to Tupelo Honey’s downtown location last year, I am happy to see the restaurant come to Furman. Not only is Tupelo Honey’s food a delicious addition, but I think its dining experience really embodies Furman’s sense of community, which is seen through the restaurant’s commitment to local sourcing, as well as promoting a warm and uplifting dining experience. Thus far, it has created a fun and inviting place for members of the Furman community to gather over good food with good company. Though it still has some minor kinks to work out, I think that Tupelo Honey at the Paddock will be a success and is a wonderful addition to Furman.
The restaurant will be open seven days a week soon.