It’s the place “where the friendly folks roam.”
When Dad was younger, his mom, my Grandma Faye, would drive to Midway BBQ in the little mill town of Buffalo, SC, and buy a family-size helping of “hash.” She would take it home and they would make sandwiches out of it on plain white bread. I never knew exactly what hash was, because describing it is a bit beyond any normal person’s ability to do. But because she loved it, and because Buffalo is within a day’s drive of where we live in the Piedmont of North Carolina, I thought it would make a great family trip to head down to Buffalo and try out their infamous hash.
So Mom, Dad, Matthew and I piled into the car on a Saturday morning and headed south. We first did a little exploring – places Dad remembered from his years growing up in nearby Union, SC – then for an early dinner, pulled into the parking lot of Midway. Midway BBQ sits at a fork in the road just past a sign that calls Buffalo the place “where the friendly folks roam.” We were some hungry folk when we arrived, but our hunger was soon satisfied by the plethora of southern delights Midway has to offer.
When you enter the restaurant, you’re surrounded by country-inspired decor – wooden tables, picnic red and white, and three kinds of barbecue sauces in color-coded bottles. To your right is a full meat counter, and if there’s a kind of meat they don’t have, I can’t think of it. You can buy porterhouse steak, pork chops, ribs, even livermush, and on your way out the door, grab a bag of bones for Fido. Keep walking past the meat counter for now, though, because you need dinner first.
Midway offers pork barbecue, chicken barbecue, and beef hash on Saturdays (and a more extensive menu throughout the week including pork chops, chicken casserole, meatloaf and fried chicken) as well as a full line-up of southern side dishes. Our favorites are the macaroni pie and the sweet potato casserole – the former being a soft, endlessly cheesy, melt-in-your-mouth comfort; the latter a buttery, crispy, brown sugar-topped sweet treat that is more dessert than side. We also love that the prices are fantastic – a plate comes with a sweet tea for about $7-8.
The barbecue itself has a slow-cooked, smoky flavor and can be eaten with or without the trio of sauce options, which include original, mustard, and vinegar pepper. (My favorite is the original.) Last but not least, how can we describe a hash that defies explanation? I’ll do my best. It’s like a cross between minced barbecue and a beef stew. Soft and fine like minced barbecue, the beef is slow-cooked into a fine, well-seasoned, peppery stew that you can spoon easily onto a slice of white bread. It’s warm and hearty, and a simple dinner for real “friendly folks.” Maybe that’s why my Grandma liked it. She and my Papa were hardworking people who didn’t have all the time in the world for elaborate meals.
My dad jokingly reminisces about making “lunch” for him and my Aunt Ludey – Poptarts and Tang – while my grandparents worked. So heading to Midway to bring home a dinner of hash and bread would have felt like a treat, a way for Grandma to “bring her food from afar,” just the way the Bible says a good woman will do. My Grandma was a good woman, a great woman, who took care of her family, and she knew great food when she tried it. Boy, was she right about Midway BBQ. Try it out next time you’re in upstate South Carolina. We know you’ll like the friendly folks’ comfort food just as much as we do, and maybe you’ll start your own family tradition.
Midway BBQ, 811 Main Street, Buffalo, S.C.