by David Cecelski
This morning I stopped at Pierce & Company in Hallsboro when I was passing through Columbus County. Pierce & Co. has been in Hallsboro since 1898. Started by a gentleman who had previously managed one of the old Farmers Alliance cooperatives, it’s an old-fashioned country store with a little bit of everything: hardware, building supplies, household goods, children’s toys, a few groceries, and a very fine butcher shop.
I bought a round of their homemade country sausage and several smoked ham hocks to use for seasoning my vegetable soup this winter. Then I went to Ms. Alice’s Kitchen for breakfast. The little diner is just down the road, in between Hallsboro’s Methodist church and the turn to Red Bug.
At Ms. Alice’s, the ladies are friendly and they serve a nice country breakfast, including grits, eggs, biscuits, and fresh sausage from Pierce & Co. The restaurant is named after Ms. Alice Pope, the first owner, but another lady owns it now. Originally, Ms. Alice’s aunt had a store on the other side of the road, but Ms. Alice eventually took it over and turned it into a restaurant probably 30 years ago.
For lunch, the ladies serve mostly hamburgers and sandwiches, but they also prepare a daily special with two vegetables, bread, and dessert. Today the special was fried catfish with fresh peaches for dessert. Tomorrow, Ms. Shelba Williamson, one of the cooks, told me, she might fix chicken and rice. They open at 6 AM and close at 2 PM, Monday to Saturday, and they always make you feel at home.