Yemassee Cafe lives up to its press
by The Press and Standard | March 16, 2019 5:00 am
Last Updated: March 13, 2019 at 9:03 am
I don’t tend to give in to hype. In my days traversing the continent, I tended to avoid the “it” establishments. The same feeling of overwhelming skepticism came to me when I stumbled across buzz for a small cafe located in Yemassee.
According to a Travel and Leisure report from 2018, Fletcher’s Finds is the number one spot for comfort food in the U.S., with the backing of statistics from Yelp. Putting my snobbery aside and remembering that I live in a part of the world where cuisine is of the highest regard, I took the short drive to Yemassee to see what the fuss was really all about.
Yemassee is a small, unassuming Lowcountry town that straddles Hampton and Beaufort counties. The downtown area boasts a few small shops and a train station that served as the terminus for Marine Corps recruits on their way to Parris Island for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Set among this scene is a small, almost ramshackle building —resembling one seen in just about any film starring the Deep South —containing Fletcher’s Finds. It’s part cafe, part antique shop, and all charm.
I have certain barometers as to seeing how a meal is going to proceed. In a Mexican place, I judge the salsa, Korean the kim chi, Indian the chutney, and so on. Care and craft should always shine through during the first taste of a meal, no matter how mundane the item may be. Naturally, in the South, I judge by the first sip of sweet tea. The sweet tea ($1.25) at Fletcher’s Finds is a perfect balance of pleasant, almost nosy, tea flavor balanced with sweet elements. I’m sure the recipe has an elongated and interesting history that goes with it.
There is an unwritten law that when dining at Fletcher’s Finds: the squash puppies ($4.50) must be ordered as a shared appetizer. Being one to happily obey local custom, I did just that. Within minutes what hit my table can only be described as golden gobs of gastric goodness. Done in traditional hush puppy style, the addition of yellow squash gives them a subdued, almost creamy flavor that interplays with the hush puppy dough’s savory elements. Dip them in ranch dressing to elevate the flavor even more.
My wife and I could not decide between a wrap or salad, so we ordered both and split the dishes. The common desired element was pulled pork, so a pulled pork crunch wrap ($7.50), and a pulled pork salad ($8.50) were ordered. The portions surprised both of us. I’m known for my eating skills, and the divided pulled pork salad was enough to satiate me, even without a wrap on the side. Mixed greens topped with egg, tomato, craisins, cheese and cucumber are crowned with a generous heap of pulled pork in a sweet mustard sauce. When offered choices of dressings, waitstaff suggested a dressing simply called “Fletcher’s”. Imagine Subway’s sweet onion sauce done by hand in the South. It was so good that I had to purchase a container to take home with me.
Even if it’s in a container for a next-day lunch, get the pulled pork crunch wrap. It’s rare that I wax ecstatic about a wrap, but here we are. Pulled pork, Fletcher’s Sauce, cole slaw and french fried onions make this burrito’s cousin a delight to behold.
After your meal, be sure to check out the antique shop that is another room within the cafe. They have all kinds of funky items, as well as an impressive Persian rug selection.
Believe the hype. Fletcher’s Finds is worth the short drive to Yemassee for some of the best comfort food in the country.
17 Yemassee Hwy, Yemassee, S.C. 29945
(When not tweaking his recipe for Asian influenced Hoppin’ John, Josh Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)