Tanner’s Big Orange
322 S Pleasantburg Drive Greenville, SC 29607
Hours: Mon-Fri: 6:00AM-6:30PM, Sat: 7AM – 7:30PM, Sun: Closed
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Perfect for: A quick lunch, cheap eats, American classics
Menu: Good ol’ American cuisine, burgers, hotdogs, etc
Bar/Drinks: Soft drinks and their signature fruit drinks
Good to Know: Tanner’s is a Greenville staple, and as such can get crowded. Not to fear, the service is quick. The men’s bathroom is in the rear of the building. ORDER ONE OF THE FRUIT DRINKS!
Parking: A large parking lot surrounds the building.
Bathroom: It’s a bathroom, what do you expect?
Things become local institutions for a reason. It could be because the food is good. It could be because the food is cheap. It could even be because the restaurant is so unique and eclectic that going there is an experience. All three of these things ring true for Tanner’s Big Orange on Pleasantburg Drive in Greenville. Tanner’s is celebrating its 75th year serving Greenville, and when you visit, it is pretty obvious why.
I have been to Tanner’s many times, but it was typically when I was younger. I figured it was time to give it another visit to see if the magic was still there. So, I rounded up some of my coworkers and headed to Tanner’s. Upon arriving, you are greeted with the big orange, orange sign (it is both the fruit and the color). You’ll start to notice this theme, orange. That is because all of the décor, the booths, pretty much everything in Tanner’s…is orange. There are eclectic orange items hanging from the ceiling, their mascot who is literally an orange sits at the counter, there is even a vintage phone booth in the shape of a large orange seashell. As my coworker said, “this is definitely a place you have to experience.”
The line was pretty long on this particular day, but I was at the counter in no time placing my order. Tanner’s has a large list of American favorites including various kinds of burgers and hot dogs. They also have various chicken dishes (chicken fingers, chicken sandwiches). I am not usually a burger person, but I was feeling wild that day, so I ordered a Chili cheeseburger Plate. To drink I ordered Tanner’s signature orange drink. I cannot stress this enough, order this drink.
After placing my order, I found a nice booth to take in all of the decorations. I also found myself noticing the types of people who were also eating at Tanner’s. People from all walks of life were there. In one booth were two sharp-dressed business men, an older couple sat across the restaurant, and in the corner were two young mothers with their children. It was truly a melting pot. It shows that food, and good food at that, can bring people together. This speaks to how Tanner’s has stuck around for 75 years.
Before I knew it, my number was called and I had my chili cheeseburger in front of me. The plate also included fries and coleslaw. There was also my cup of the sweet sweet nectar that is the orange drink.
As I previously mentioned, I am not a burger connoisseur by any means, but this was a good burger. It was juicy and tender, but what really took the burger to the next level was the chili. I can’t quite place my finger on what seasonings were used in the chili, but the savory flavor had a depth that I am not used to in “fast food.” The fries were also quite good, they were perfectly crisp. If there is one thing that makes me sad, it is soggy fries, and these were far from it. The coleslaw was what I would call “traditional southern.” It was finely minced and slightly sweet. This is the coleslaw I expect with my burger and fries.
Now let’s talk about this orange drink. I know I have been mentioning it throughout this review, but now it is really time to dig into it. This drink is actually made from fresh squeezed oranges. I don’t know what else goes into it, but I am not kidding when I say I could drink a gallon of this stuff easily. It is sweet, but not overly so, and it is oh-so refreshing. I could imagine drinking this morning, noon, or night. They do have other flavors of fruit drinks, but the orange is their namesake. Is this a lot devoted to a drink? Yes. Does this drink deserve this amount of recognition? Absolutely. The drink somehow enhances the flavor of the food you’re eating. The sweetness of the orange drink plays incredibly with the savory flavors of the burger.
My coworkers also got burgers, and one got a chili dog to go along with it. By the time we were done eating, their plates were more or less clean. That is a ringing endorsement if I have ever seen one.
After my visit to Tanner’s Big Orange, I realized it had been far too long since my last visit. I have a feeling I will be back more often, and who knows? They may make a burger person out of me.