by Patrick VanEvery
WOM Review – Harold’s Restaurant
Harold’s Restaurant in Gaffney has been around for over 80 years and has become most famous after a visit from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
It’s been on my list for years but downtown Gaffney isn’t the hottest must see town so I’ve not made it to try Harold’s until this week. My daughter and I were visiting Tanger Outlets for last minute school shopping and decided it would be fun to check it out, watch the episode and see what the buzz was all about.
They are known for their hot dogs and chili and their chili burgers which are basically sloppy joes / meatballs on a bun. They definitely fall into the Dive category and with their TV success they surely didn’t invest back into improving the inside of the business. It is quickly obvious that they are riding the Guy Fieri fame and the popularity of the show as they have photos and references everywhere. They have billboards on 85 and signs at the Tanger Outlet and references everywhere you turn. They even have paid advertisers on the back of their menu as my guess is that guests traveling to visit wanted something to take with them outside of a tshirt which they also sell. I can’t blame them as I’m sure the show alone has brought 1000s of people that would never know who they are or to venture to downtown Gaffney which if you haven’t been you aren’t missing anything.
So the review. We had the staple chili hot dogs and fries and it was ok. Nothing amazing but not bad. The fries are nothing more than a crinkle cut frozen fry and nothing special and most likely frozen. The sweet tea which I expect to be great at a Dive was nothing special. The restaurant needs a complete cleaning top to bottom and it may be a Diner and or a Dive but no excuse for being dirty. I’m ok with old decor but not clean is a killer. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t drive out of the way to go there for anything. Without the show and just being honest, I’m not sure they would have anyone other than their locals that have been eating there for generations. I love a good dive but you better be awesome to make up for being a dive and they are OK at best. Service was fine and pricing is what you expect from a dive.
They are connected to a nasty smoking bar with an open door and you can smell the smoke and have to go in the bar to use the men’s bathroom. Not good. They charge a .75 fee for using a debit card and my guess is because they can and to also push people to use cash. Cash is still king.
I did have a nice conversation with the owner about the show and the experience and he was pleasant and willing to share and not shy about the impact the show had and it was 8 years ago. My guess is he will milk the success of DDD as long as he can. Not sure that I would visit again but it was a fun visit with my daughter so I will leave it up to you if it’s a restaurant you want to checkout.
If you have visited before, please let me know what you think.