Summerville. 207 W. 5th St. N. 871-3800
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more popular center of community than Oscar's mishmash of spaces. They've been serving the Summerville area for over 25 years and have become much more than just a service to the community -- the little old "steakhouse" that could has become a piece of the community itself.
Founder and owner Mark Deitch had little idea when he moved to Summerville in 1982 that he would still be here today. A transplant from Colorado who drifted across the country for years, he never planned to stay more than two -- but as he began to develop his restaurant, met his wife and co-owner Nancy, and started a family, Summerville became his permanent home, and he an inseparable part of it.
The early days brought an emphasis on Deitch's Southwestern background. The menu has evolved into one that reflects the varied tastes of the Summerville clientele, and it does so in delicious manner. The offerings at Oscar's range from delectable Buffalo chicken wings to well-marbled steaks topped with some seafood as the daily special. It is this attention to the community that established Oscar's as a neighborhood favorite and continues to make it the most popular spot in town. It is the de facto location (with due respect to The Woodlands, the lauded five-star Summerville restaurant that Oscar's competes with for the Best Summerville Restaurant designation) for birthdays, anniversaries, and prom dates.
Oscar's seems like a true reflection of Summerville; it's a warm, inviting place with something for everyone, and as the population of Summerville has expanded, so too has the restaurant that serves its most cherished food. New spaces and a catering operation widened the available services and that outreach into the community extended into charity work that further connected Oscar's to the people who eat there.
Support of local sports teams and partnerships with public schools led to support of initiatives such as Habitat for Humanity, the American Leukemia Society, and Camp Happy Days. Oscar's was there for its people and they show up in force for it. They enjoy the massive buffets that grace the Easter, Mother's Day, and Thanksgiving celebrations -- and they enjoy the company of each other, because when in Summerville, all roads lead to Oscar's.
Ask Mark why he does it -- why he caters to a small Southern town when he could be downtown looking for big bucks, why he donates precious resources to bring attention to the causes of the community -- and he talks about the place, he talks about the town, and he talks about employees like Tom Garland and bartender Diana who have worked with him for 10 to 20 years. Then he pauses and gives you the real answer, "It's the right thing to do."