It used to be a discount tire shop. On a peninsula on the corner of Ross and Greenville, Ross Discount Tire was a place you could swerve into and get your nail-bludgeoned tire swapped as fast as Marvel's Quicksilver and hilariously cheap. Now it’s Pints and Quarts, a Bob’s Big Boy-esque burger, shakes and crispy things restaurant from the people who brought you such spots as Mudsmith, It’ll Do and Beauty Bar. The island part of the restaurant, where you could once pulled in to get your tire inspected for nails, is now a pristine painted patio, with kiwi poles and drums the color of California sunshine.
The sun’s setting on the weekday I’m there, and it’s still hot as a running engine. There’s a line out the door, curling around an orange drum brimming with flowers. Inside, a thick fan is cooling down the place. The garage doors are swung open to the patio. There are sodas in a glass case, cold beers and lemon meringue and chocolate mousse parfaits cooling it in plastic cups. One single shard of a NASCAR door is above the exposed kitchen for some reason. The Bob’s Big Boy-esque logo on the side of the wall is glaring at me like a serial killer. I keep looking back to make sure its eyes haven’t moved like the painting in Ghostbusters 2.
There are a few missteps to the place. The Lady Friend and I wait for a while, about as long as a busy Six Flags ride. The wait’s a little weird for a casual burger spot that’s order-first. I get the B.L.F.G.T, which has applewood smoked bacon, fried green tomato, butter lettuce and “dilly ranch,” the onion strings and two Topo Chicos. The Lady Friend got the Brooke’s Burger (American cheese, LTO, purple onion), and “dipsticks,” which are french fries. All comes to 26 bucks, roughly. Not bad.
Both burgers, as the menu’s law establishes, are cooked medium with “no modifications on builds.” I’m fanstastic with a no-substitutes/requests burger if they’ve got the experience down to a "T," but both of our burgers are medium-well, underseasoned and occasionally cow-skull-in-the-desert dry.
The Brooke’s Burger needs buckets of mayo, and the sliced tomato still includes slices of barcode sticker. My BLFGT has two robust, juicy fried green tomatoes that are better than the burger. Actually, the trappings of both burgers — the pile of shaved red onion, fried green tomato, burstingly fresh butter lettuce, crisp bacon (needed more) — are all great. The “dilly ranch” is tangy and rich. The soft potato bun is stupidly decadent. The fries are tossed with green onions, fatty and delicious. The onion strings came in a massive mound of fried shavings, pretty good if a little hard to eat. The BLFGT, which mimics the onomatopoeia I want to yell in frustration, suffers. The meat needed all the salt, pepper and condiments.
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So far, Pints and Quarts is interesting, affordable and in need of some fine-tuning. The place is filling up as the sun sets, and the lowest end of Greenville (Pints and Quarts is like Florida on the America-is- Greenville map), is busying-up too. A motorcycle chunkily rattles by. On the map, it’s the area where gentrification is making its way: Nearby Ships and Monterey, the old Mexican restaurant, look endangered with construction. A breeze rolls in, which makes sitting on the newly smoothed patio not all bad.