EDITOR'S NOTE: Downtown Thomson will soon offer three new choices for diners. Hogie Joe's and Platters recently opened; Coop's will open next month. The McDuffie Mirror interviewed restaurant owners to give readers an idea of what to expect. Today: Platters. The other two restaurants will be featured in coming weeks.
With nostalgic furniture, records hanging on the walls and a jukebox stocked with music from the 1950s-1960s, Platters restaurant takes diners to a by-gone era.
"A lot of people remember when this used to be Milton's, and they came after school and had cherry cokes," owner Pete Paulson said. "So basically, I'm bringing back a spot for kids to hang out and eat."
More than a year ago, Mr. Paulson opened the Big Dipper Ice Cream Shop on Main Street in Thomson. The place was an instant hit and quickly became a landmark with its bright pink walls. But as he scooped up ice cream, Mr. Paulson kept noticing the restaurant next door.
"I thought it'd be great to have a restaurant tied to the ice cream shop," he said as he sat in a glitter-specked booth in Platters, next door to the Big Dipper. "It's a family-friendly, fun atmosphere that's bright, happy and clean. It's diner-style, so the specials are not going to be too fancy," Mr. Paulson said.
The no-frills menu consists of cooked to order, hand-pattied burgers, hot dogs, cold and hot sandwiches and salads, milkshakes, malts, floats and other ice cream treats.
"(Chef Scott Adler) and I put a lot of thought into the food," Mr. Paulson said. "We wanted the old flavor, but not the same stuff served everywhere else. We did a lot of experimenting."
The burgers are made from fresh ground beef, never frozen, Mr. Paulson said. The "Plain Jane" burger is served plain to keep the prices down, but diners looking to spice it up with more toppings can request them for a small price.
"I've received a lot of compliments on the pricing," Mr. Paulson said. "We listen to what people are telling us, while staying within the theme of the restaurant. We will remain a cook-to-order, diner-style restaurant. That's our niche."
Chef Adler is formerly of Belle Meade Country Club. Platters also employs six kitchen staff and 12 dining room staff.
The names of entrees on the menu reflect the restaurant's theme, with "Love Me Tenders" (chicken tenders), "Red Baron" (pizza) and "Diner Dog" (hot dog with chili, cheese, onions and slaw).
Specials are offered daily, with lunch specials usually consisting of a hot sandwich, such as a chicken mushroom Swiss sandwich, and a side. Side dishes include shoestring fries, fried pickles, or onion rings.
Dinner specials add a little more "flare" to the evening, while keeping with the restaurant's theme, Mr. Paulson said. Every Thursday is spaghetti night, and chicken parmesan or meatballs also have been added to that night's menu. Other dinner specials have included hot roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes or hamburger steaks and gravy.
Although the restaurant has only been opened three weeks and is still undergoing decorating/exterior painting, Mr. Paulson said the business has "far exceeded my expectations.
"We've had real good support from the community," he said. "Business is important to me, and last night, I stayed open later for a couple of people. Even if the restaurant is not full, I'm about the people in town having a place to go. That's why I'm here."