NOTE: This restaurant is now closed
During the morning’s photography class, Polly had mentioned that some of her photos were on display at the Snapshot Cafe and Art Bar. Several of our class decided that it would be our destination for either lunch or dinner today. Since Laura was grading lab notebooks, it was going to be dinner for us, with Glynda joining us.
Snapshot is an endeavor by local commercial photographer David Crosby. Crosby purchased the Auld Hardware building located at the intersection of Rutherford Road and Poinsett Highway and remodeled as space for both the cafe and his photography business, Crosby Stills.
In its previous incarnation, the Auld Hardware store was one of Laura’s father’s favorite stops while in town. In a world of Big Box Hardware, it retained the quaint character its name suggested. As is the way with most things, Auld Hardware eventually closed. One other forgettable business occupied the building, then it sat empty for quite awhile until Crosby obtained it.
More details about how Snapshot got started can be found on their website.
The remodel of the Auld Hardware building was a success. The cafe has a central bar with booths and tables, enough to accommodate about 100 people. Yellow, red and brown tones compliment the wooden finishes of the bar and furnishings. As the name suggests, art, more specifically, photography hangs prominently around the cafe. Right now Polly Donohue’s "To Have and to Hold" collection makes up the bulk of the display, and the pictures are for sale. The cafe intends to rotate the displays on a regular basis.
The physical menus are 4X6 photo albums with the menus inserted into the photo slots. While this is an exceedingly cool idea, those of us with aging eyes have a hard time reading text that small in dimmer light. I was glad we had downloaded a copy of the menu from their website ahead of time. Perhaps if they could enlarge it to even 5X7, it might be easier to read. Of course, if I hadn’t left my glasses at home, it probably would have been fine.
As for the menu contents, there are several starters, soups, and salads in the $4-$8 range, including artichoke dip, hummus, chips, and mussels, and other delicacies. There are three rotiserrie entree’s – chicken, pork tenderloin, and beef tenderloin – and several other beef and seafood items. They also feature their "naked" section. This includes wings, tofu, or shrimp deep fried with no breading, then topped with your choice of sauce. Prices for entree’s start around $6 for the burgers and range to about $18 for the rotiserrie selections.
For drink there is a full range of beer and wine, and a display case holds several dessert options to tease diners during dinner.
With the exception of one slight hiccup, service was excellent. Our server forgot to take our orders for entree’s until well after we had finished our appetizers. It was only a minor glitch. We were enjoying ourselves so it wasn’t a problem, and everything else service-wise was great.
We started with the fried portobello mushroom with horseraddish sauce. Slices of portobello were lightly breaded and fried, and served with the accompanying sauce. Laura insisted that I use the word "spectacular’ to describe the dish, especially the sauce. The crisp breading made a nice counterpoint to the mushroom texture, but the sauce was the clencher.
Glynda ordered clam strips, Laura ordered crab cakes, and I had the beef tenderloin. My beef was tender and cooked to perfection. It was encrusted with pepper, and served with balsamic mashed potatoes. The flavors blended marvelously, and I had to force myself to eat it slowly. I also tried a taste of the other two entree’s, and found them to be equally tasty. Laura’s crab cakes were rich and delicious. Not being a big fan of mayonaise-based tarter sauce, she decided that while she liked the crab cakes, they might be better if served with the same horseraddish sauce that had come with the mushroom starter. Still, she enjoyed it. Glynda’s clam strips were also good, as were the accompaning cole slaw and chips. Long after I had finished my meal, I helped Glynda polish off her homemade potato chips.
With the entree’s having been that good, and dessert right there at eye level, we had to give it a try. We ordered one slice of the Chocolate Thunder(?) cake. I’m not sure I’m getting the name right, but regardless, it was fantastic, and the perfect end to an excellent meal.
After we finished we wandered around the cafe to look at more of Polly’s work. She had shown us some of these photos in the morning’s class, so it was great to be able to share some of the background information about the photos with Laura and Glynda. One of my other classmates came in with several of her friends, and we chatted about Polly’s work and photography in general for a bit.
This one is definitely a keeper. With a wide selection of dishes and prices, as well as the cool casual atmosphere, I can see it becoming a hangout for Furman students and the younger Greenville crowd, as well as appealing to those of us who are a bit, ahem, older.
We had asked how long they had been open, and the answer was shocking – they had been open for ONLY THREE DAYS! Our general rule is to never, ever, ever go to a restaurant unless they have been open for at least a month since there are usually so many glitches to iron out. None of that was evident from our visit today. Things ran smoothly enough that it could have been open for several years, from our point of view.
This stretch of Poinsett Highway has long been in decline. It’s great to see a business as vibrant as Snapshot Cafe come in. I hope that they are successful, and that they can serve as an anchor for future development in the area.