AIKEN, S.C. (WFXG) - One local executive chef is determined to make customers' taste buds happy with a new restaurant in downtown Aiken called The Proper Plate.

Southern mac and cheese, marinated rotisserie chicken, meatloaf and mashed potatoes and gravy are just some of the items found on the buffet.

The smell of fried chicken travels through the restaurant.

"It's like Sunday supper everyday," executive chef Jeffrey Hairston said.

The meatloaf is tender and juicy, topped with a red glaze.

Customers can get a plate with a meat and two sides for $14.

"The trick is, you make a decision and then the next day you come back and get the other thing," Hairston laughed.

Their shepherd's pie features their own pot roast, braised for four hours.

"That's got rosemary and fresh herbs and beef stock and then we take that and we chop that and we add our onions and carrots and peas. That makes our base. And then we finish off with mashed potatoes," Hairston described.

The staff churns out a lot of food out of a small kitchen in the back.

"Right now on Sundays, we're feeding somewhere around 350 to 400 people," Hairston said.

He said his staff, like Jacob make it happen.

"He came over to me from the feed sack and he has been an extremely essential part of this business and I love that he's here. He does amazing things for us," Hairston smiled.

Hairston said ham hocks and a special hot sauce you can't get in town are the two secrets behind the restaurant's collard greens, marinated in a pot for hours.

The restaurant also has a grab-and-go section where you can take home pre-made lunches or any of their veggies, casserole or their famous pimento cheese.

The restaurant is also one of just two spots in the CSRA where customers can purchase artisan Nightingale ice cream sandwiches in several flavors including key lime pie and red velvet cheesecake.

The Proper Plate is open everyday of the week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the restaurant closes at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Come back with us next week as we EAT. PLAY. GO. our way through the CSRA.

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