300 E. Stone Avenue
Greenville, South Carolina 29609
Hrs: Mon-Sun: 11am-tbd
Perfect for: Out with friends, casual meal, getting your drink on, vegetarian options
Menu: American mixed with Mexican options
Bar/Drinks: Full bar, range of specialty and your everyday beer, some wine
Good to Know: Great patio seating; TVs to watch the game; Dog-friendly on patio; Bar vibe, but family friendly; Happy Hour every day 4-6pm; Trivia on Tuesday’s and Boozy Bingo every first Monday
Parking: Very limited – neighborhood street parking, but neighbors are friendly as long as you don’t block their home access. Do not park on Bennett St. or you can get a $500 fine.
Bathroom: It’s a bathroom, what more do you expect
Driving by Universal Joint and seeing their large outdoor patio was like a sign from the heavens. It was one of those days – you know the ones I mean. I was in desperate need of a beer, some sun, and a good hearty burger.
And I got it. After my juicy burger, Blue Moon and catching up on the news while relaxing on their fantastic front patio, all felt right with the world again.
Universal Joint has a decidedly neighborhood bar feel. Garage door walls cover a large portion of the space, blending into a patio that stretches the length of the building with covered and non-covered seating. Watering bowls laid out for your four-legged friends add a welcoming touch. Mix all this with the 80s music playing in the background, local neighbors at the bar, brick walls, and vintage garage art, and you have a relaxed vibe perfect for a sunny afternoon lunch. The patio is adjacent to the road, so expect some noise from cars driving by – it’s not the place for a quiet read, but you’re not going to have an issue with holding a conversation.
I decided to satisfy my burger craving with the 8oz Angus chuck burger, customizable with one of their 12 variations or a mix a match. I went with a medium burger, sauteed mushrooms and onions, topped with good ole American cheddar and a side of fries. While it wasn’t too busy since I came after the lunch hour, I was still pleasantly surprised by how quickly my food was delivered to the table. I do not exaggerate when I say less than 5 minutes – I had barely even cracked the top news stories on CNN. My server was also quite impressive – he was bartending while also taking care of the four other tables, plus mine. While he was clearly very busy, he seemed unruffled and took the time to tell me about their Trivia Tuesday’s and Boozy Bingo on the first Monday of each month, which would be a perfect time to try out the $10 four beer flight special. An exploration of beers while showing your mental ninja skills sounds like a fabulous way to spend a Tuesday evening, am I right?
The burger itself was juicy and thick, so plus the topping I needed a good two hand hold to keep it from dripping. I personally think it’s a travesty if you can eat a burger with one hand, so we were off to a good start. The seasoned mushrooms and onions added a nice subtle flavor and texture and the fries were a medium cut, allowing for some crisp and some soft ones (YAAASS), and were dusted with light seasoning perfect with a little ketchup.
My belly was joyful.
There was no way to eat anything else after that burger, so I took home some of the in-house made pimento cheese, served with thin crusty ciabatta and a side of cucumbers and roasted red peppers. I’m super particular about my pimento cheese, and this wasn’t my favorite. I prefer the thick, smoothed out version that slops easily between two slices of sandwich bread, while this was the more traditional chunky version with visible slivers of cheese. Overall a little bland for my taste.
If you’re not in the mood for a beef burger, the menu has a little bit of everything to choose from. Options include quesadillas and tacos, sandwiches (include their in-house smoked brisket Philly now on my list for the next visit), turkey and black bean burgers and salads. In addition to the ubiquitous burger, grilled cheese, and chicken fingers, the kid’s menu offers mini corn dogs, which must be pretty adorable – someone please try them and post a picture for us all to enjoy.
So, grab some friends and Uber or bike your way to Universal Joint this weekend to enjoy their fabulous patio and delicious fare while petting some cute dogs. Honestly, who could ask for more?