2738 Spruill Road
Today: Empty lot opposite the Circle A Convenience store
Yesterday: The Honey House, 1947-1965
On the menu: Deep-sea scallops with tartar sauce, served with an appetizer, salad, two vegetables, dessert, biscuits, honey and a beverage, $1.25 (Oct. 3, 1953)
When The Honey House first opened near the Navy Yard, it didn’t seem likely ever to become a respectable restaurant: In its first year in business, it was successfully raided twice in two days by constables after illegal liquor and gambling devices. But The Honey House eventually remade its reputation so thoroughly that it served as the regular meeting place for the North Charleston Business and Professional Women’s Club.
Initially, sailors came to The Honey House to drink and play dice. The drive-in kept a “Beat My Shake” box, which was essentially a souped-up version of Yahtzee. Although it’s not clear from the historical record exactly which kind of box belonged to The Honey House, when Beat My Shake’s inventor applied for a patent, he pointed out the shaker was shielded by “a panel carrying the picture of a human figure … preferably in the form of a Hawaiian dancer.”
Within a few years, though, The Honey House was using its regularly scheduled show on WHAN — Honey House Buzzin’ — to promote its family-friendly programming. It yearly hosted the Cub Scouts’ pinewood derby; opened early on Easter Sunday, so customers could breakfast before church services; and encouraged the practice of “tak(ing) Mother to dinner” at Honey House.
The Honey House never talked up the quality of its food, kitchen cleanliness or low prices, as its competitors frequently did. Instead, it leaned on the surrounding community’s familiarity with the restaurant as its primary selling point: People tended to end up at The Honey House, even if the fried chicken, sirloin steaks and $1 weekend spaghetti plates weren’t extraordinary.
In 1960, The Honey House was briefly renamed The Crossroads in a bid to find a new owner. The restaurant was again advertised for lease in 1965, but apparently there weren’t any takers: The Honey House closed that year.
— Hanna Raskin