After our visit to Bernie’s and the comments I received, I knew that the next time I was in Columbia, I’d have to try Zesto of West Columbia. With a business meeting in Columbia in the morning, we stopped at Zesto on the way back to Atlanta. Originally part of a national chain, dating back to 1945, this location opened in 1949. When the national operation failed, each of the independents took their own paths. The West Columbia location, owned by the same family for sixty years, has become a true “local” restaurant. It’s a unique spot that you walk in the front door and order at the windows, amid a hail of “Who’s next? Who’s next?” Then you leave the front, walk outside and around to the dining room and they bring you your food.
My travel mate and I both ordered a three piece white combo, with a roll and slaw (it’s in a styrofoam container under the chicken in the photo above). The chicken was moist and the skin crunchy, without a thick buttery batter. Like carry out fried chicken was when I was kid.
How did it compare to Bernie’s? I think I liked the chicken at Bernie’s better, but I wouldn’t refuse a bucket of either.