Greenville, SC (WSPA) – Presidents and Presidential hopefuls came to shake hands; locals came for the meat and three, after more than 30 years as Greenville staple, Tommy’s Ham House is closing its doors for good in May.
This is the restaurant that fed the community, a place where the owner says the customers feel more like family.
After years of 3:00 AM wakeup calls, owner Tommy Stevenson, Sr. says he’s closing the doors of his restaurant for good.
“It’s the biggest decision I’ve ever made, the biggest I’ve ever made. “Owner, Tommy Stevenson, Sr. said.
While faithful customers are the backbone to the longevity of his business, it’s become a necessary stop for politicians running for local, state and national office.
“It started back when President Bush, George Bush ran for President and that started the politicians coming.” Stevenson Sr. said.
The walls in the restaurant are filled with customers, law enforcement officers and local celebrities. Many state officials are framed on the wall and the reach goes as far as the White House. On this day South Carolina’s Lt. Governor stopped by to wish Tommy well.
“I can come in here with my husband and my son and Tommy’s out here greeting us, knowing us and it just makes you feel like part of his family.” South Carolina,( R) Lt. Governor, Pamela Evette said.
The restaurant seats more than 300 at a time, and it’s become a tradition for Furman’s football team to come and eat before their games.
On a normal day, before covid, the restaurant would serve at least a thousand customers. All ordering from the menu filled with lip smacking favorites, Tommy says he knows many of those customers by name.
“I know where everybody is going to sit, when the door opens, I can tell you where everyone in this restaurant is going to sit. Stevenson, Sr. said.
While his four biological children are proud of all that he’s accomplished, they are grateful that at 80 years old, he’ll finally get some free time. Tommy’s oldest son was 14 when his dad bought the Country Ham House.
“We’re happy for him because he’s been working so hard for so long and now, he’s going to be able to go fishing and play golf and he can travel a little bit.” Eldest son, Tommy Stevenson Jr., said.
Tommy took over the restaurant in 1985 and built the current location across the street in 1997. After nearly 36 years of serving the community, calling it quits is bittersweet.
I just want them to remember that I helped people along the way, you know I’ve just tried to help a lot of people.” Stevenson Sr. said.
While the wall of fame is filled with notables, it’s the everyday people who fill the seats of this restaurant is who the owner says he’ll miss the most.
A Charleston-based restaurant group bought the property and plan to bring a new dining concept to open in early 2022.