Photos and text by Liz Barclay (@liz_barclay)
Bryan Cole left his years of serving in the Navy and dove into the restaurant business to get on-board with Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream and Sandwich Cafe, a family-owned lunch counter and ice cream parlor minichain in the South Carolina coastal region. There are seven locations, starting with the original store opening in 1972. I recently trekked to the popular Mount Pleasant location to shoot the people and the food that make it such a local favorite.
Cole helped transform the building, which was once an auto-garage, and revamped it into a one-stop shop to serve the ice cream, burgers, tuna sandwiches, and other simple, delicious grub that attracts locals and vacationers alike. “We have embellished most of the menu items as we’ve gone along, to see what works in different locations,” he told me. The restaurant also has a fried bologna sandwich, a regional specialty from Jamestown, SC.
We’re a non-alcoholic Cheers. We put forth the effort and close the deal.
Standing out amongst all of the classic American dishes is the infamous “10-Bacon BLT.”
“We had just started using precooked bacon, and to make it look bigger we added more bacon. Then we just started to market it and it took off.” Rightfully so—when the BLT sandwich came out from the kitchen, it seemed to have a bacon-aura surrounding it, resulting in the ultimate mouth-watering experience.
As for frozen treats, Ye Ole’s ice cream parlor raises the bar by providing a vast range of flavors, from classics such as mint chocolate chip, to more inventive riffs such as the newly added “Cinnamon Churro.” The menu expands beyond cups and cones to include floats, egg creams, sundaes, and the most popular item on the menu, the banana split.
When asked what makes Ye Ole’s food different from other similar spots in the region, Cole replied, “We use 100% all-beef hamburger patties and hotdogs. If you aren’t using quality products, don’t get in the restaurant business. If you are looking to cut corners, then it ain’t gonna happen.”
Ye Ole has held the allegiances of its clientele despite the influx of yogurt places and artisan ice-cream spots in Charleston. Why? Because Ye Ole Ice-cream is the best of both worlds— classic ice cream parlor, but also a full-scale restaurant. “We’re a non-alcoholic Cheers. We try to touch all the bases and everybody’s taste. We put forth the effort and close the deal,” said Cole.
He’s right: Ye Ole is the whole nine yards.