Hours: Lunch and Dinner (Mon.-Sun.)
Bessinger’s Barbeque is a lasting legacy of the Bessinger family, which brought its distinctive mustard-based style down from Orangeburg County just after World War II. The original downtown Piggy Park drive-in is long gone, but three of the brothers (Thomas, Melvin, and Robert) fanned out to open outposts around town. Thomas’ restaurant on Savannah Highway is now run by his sons Tommy and Michael, and it’s been through several incarnations over the years. It now boasts a dual format, with a country buffet on one side of the building offering everything from fried catfish to teriyaki chicken, and a sandwich shop on the other side, which serves barbecue and burgers the way they did back in the ’60s. You can sample Bessinger’s oak- and hickory-smoked pork on a Big Joe Sandwich or a hefty pork platter, and both come topped with a massive golden-brown onion ring. The savory hash and rice is perhaps the city’s best example of the classic South Carolina barbecue side, and Bessinger’s signature yellow mustard sauce is one of the best around, too. You might not expect it from a barbecue joint, but the cheeseburger basket is the insider’s pick for one of the best old-school burgers in town. —Robert Moss Dish (Winter 2014)
Southern-style barbecue, sandwiches, and sides from a third generation, family-owned restaurant.