For those who frequent Captain D’s on U.S. 1 in Lugoff, the bright, cheery, open dining area, new sign and sleek new building façade, along with some tasty new menu items, are welcome additions.
For those who haven’t been there in awhile or who have never been at all, now might be a good time to see what the restaurant has to offer.
“This is not the Captain D’s of yesterday at all,” Barrett Skarl, director of operations for the franchise which owns and operates the Lugoff Captain D’s restaurant. “This is the direction the company has been moving in for the last five or so years.”
Captain D’s has moved away from the battered and fried cheap fast food business model, not only updating and upgrading the restaurants themselves with a more inviting, open feel, but also opting for a somewhat more upscale and healthier menu. While the restaurant still offers its popular value meals -- one can still get two proteins and two sides for $4.99 -- but it also offers a higher end seafood platter, as well as broiled and grilled items such as skewered shrimp and whitefish, grilled salmon with rice and veggies, and even a chicken pasta alfredo with veggies and baked potato, all for under $8.99, Skarl said.
“One thing that’s pretty unique to Captain D’s, we still have the value menus, so we are still taking care of the customer looking for a good but inexpensive meal, but we also have these new items -- and for what the customer is getting for the price, they are also very good values. For the price, the quality of the food we serve is unbeatable,” Skarl said.
The numbers bear out his assessment. Nationwide, Captain D’s has experienced strong growth; the local franchise currently has seven restaurants in the Midlands and will be building two more in the Lexington area in the near future. Locally, smaller town locations, especially the Lugoff Captain D’s, are thriving, some even exceeding national corporate sales, Skarl said.
He said the Lugoff location has become quite a destination restaurant for the franchise and the area, with many long-time regulars coming in each week.
The Lugoff Captain D’s opened 15 years ago. Renovations to the restaurant were completed about a month ago and appear to have been well received. At 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Lugoff restaurant already had about half its tables occupied with more people coming through the door.
Assistant Manager Paula Brown has worked at the restaurant for five years.
“I really enjoy it -- I’m from here, so I know a lot of people, but I also get to meet a lot of people,” she said. “It’s a good, family atmosphere.”
As if to underscore the point, a couple walked in for lunch, stopping for a moment to banter with her before going to place their order.
“I really love this location -- we have a great staff, the customers are just wonderful, and it’s really got that hometown feel and atmosphere,” Skarl said. “We had not done anything to this restaurant since it opened, so we are especially excited to be able to do these renovations for our people here and most importantly for our customers.”