One thing I really miss about my old corporate life is the cafeteria. You might laugh or turn up your nose, but I loved being able to take the elevator downstairs and grab lunch, whether it was a freshly made sub, a meat and two, or my favorite: Taco Salad Thursdays.
My friend Amy is lucky in that respect. She rents office space in the Hammonds Ferry subdivision in North Augusta, and just downstairs is the Brick Pond Market.
The eatery, which opened in January 2013, offers an eclectic, Italian-inspired menu of salads, sandwiches/burgers/wraps, desserts, a nice wine and beer selection (to go with an early dinner) and even a Saturday brunch with spiked mimosas and lemonade.
She invited me to come over for a tour and lunch – and I was glad to take her up on her offer. Hammonds Ferry is one of my favorite places to visit: My husband and I love biking and taking our dog for walks along its trails, and we’ve also enjoyed the subdivision’s restaurants, Manuel’s Bread Café and the recently closed Taste (which has promised to reopen in some form come Masters 2014).
I love the concept of the Brick Pond Market: When you step inside, there’s a tiny market with fruits and vegetables beautifully presented in rough baskets, as well as other sundries. Walk on through to the restaurant’s cozy space, with exposed brick walls, wood cabinetry, black and white photos, a mural of the riverfront, and bright red chairs.
As you might expect with a neighborhood eatery, there are other charming features: The front sunroom features a lending library, along with an attractive couch for curling up on rainy days; plus there’s outdoor seating with a convenient playground, cornhole on Saturdays (or by request) and free WiFi.
After touring Amy’s office, we trooped down and grabbed a menu at the cash register to place our order. The market offers specials too, which you can find on its Facebook page or on the chalkboard outside, but the main menu has lots of great-sounding items, from the cashew chicken salad croissant and tuna melt to the spicy veggie burger and the fluffernutter, a grilled banana, peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich to melt the heart of any Elvis fan.
But I knew what I wanted as soon as my eye fell on it: the grilled pimento cheese sandwich on jalapeno bread. After grabbing glasses and filling our drinks from the water, tea and lemonade available (there are canned soft drinks too), we took a spot in the middle of the dining room, which was quickly filling up.
Our food came quickly. My pimento cheese sandwich had a beautifully crusty and brown exterior, filled with a creamy mix of three cheeses. But with the promise of jalapeno bread, I was a little disappointed that it didn’t have the spicy kick or the flavor I had anticipated. Overall, the sandwich was pretty bland.
All sandwiches, however, are served with a side of lemon orzo, and this earned a thumbs up. First, it was beautifully presented in a cup made from a cabbage leaf – so adorable! And next, the orzo was light and lemony, with shreds of carrot and bits of corn, pretty and delicious. What a unique side, perfect for ladies who lunch and guys who are open to new tastes.
A few weeks later, I came back again, this time to try the grilled chicken salad. It was a “big” salad (meeting the exacting standards of even Elaine Benis … Seinfeld fans will understand), with plenty of fresh and leafy greens, crunchy vegetables and a tart vinaigrette. I ate every bit and felt virtuous while doing so.
Next time I go, my plan is to bring my husband so that he can try the fluffernutter – or else maybe visit on a Saturday for the brunch menu and a game or two of cornhole. With its eclectic menu and neighborhood feel, the Brick Pond Market is still well worth exploring.
ON THE MENU
WHERE: Brick Pond Market, 89 Crystal Lake Dr., North Augusta (in the Hammonds Ferry subdivision)
HOURS: 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday
SECOND HELPING: (803) 599-7697, brickpondmarket.com or find them on Facebook