Less Traveled

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The rooster crows at midnight

Posted 11/22/2013 1:25:00 PM

I remember after I left Florence for college that going home for Thanksgiving meant looking for something to do in my hometown on Friday and Saturday nights after all the family stuff was done. It was great to get out and see folks who had also come home for the holiday and were in a similar, “what do we do after all the food has been eaten?” mode.

If you are traipsing through the Pee Dee over the next couple of weeks, visiting family or just passing within a few miles of Hartsville, swing by The Midnight Rooster (843) 857-0640, 136 East Carolina Ave. for a very intriguing art exhibit.

Wholesome 2013 offered local artisans the opportunity to participate in a juried art show with cash prizes. The theme of the show was food and beverage – how appropriate for the time of year when everyone, it seems, overeats.

The winner was Adrian Rhodes with her image “Qu’ils Mangent” (They Eat). Her medium was viscosity intaglio. Mathew Parise took second place with “There Goes Summer.” His medium was archival pigment print photography.

Honorable Mentions went to Joshua Drews for a monoprint titled “Glazed” and Frankie Bush for a watercolor titled: “Farmer’s Market.”

Most pieces are for sale and will be hanging through Nov. 30th.

The show was sponsored by The Midnight Rooster and the Black Creek Arts Council, which receive a portion of the proceeds of any piece sold during the exhibit.

If you can’t get there this month, or if you have some artwork you would like to show, restaurant owner and artist Jessie Avant Smith says the show will be a quarterly event starting in January. Each quarter will highlight a different theme or medium.

January through March will be black and white photography, April-June will be painting, July-September will be drawing, printmaking and mixed media. The final quarter will be another wholesome food and beverage themed show for 2-D works.

“Artists who specialize in these different mediums will be chosen to select the shows and judge the pieces,” says Smith, who was a judge for this event. “Cash prizes are awarded our first and second place winners as well as gift certificates to the Midnight Rooster for our honorable mentions.”

While you are there checking out the art, don’t forget to check out the menu offerings at The Midnight Rooster. Smith offers a homemade pimento cheese named after her father, Steve Avant. Her salads – unlike anything else you will find in Hartsville – include such items as a pistachio-encrusted goat cheese cake and come with dressings like wasabi ranch and come in a large or small option with prices ranging from $4.95 to $10.95. Other lunch items include a wide selection of sandwiches with more than the usual number of vegetarian options, quiches and soups. She is famous for her tomato pie.

For dinner, the pimento cheese returns in a shrimp and grits dish, and there are seafood, beef, pasta and vegetarian options with nightly specials.

She puts her own spin on breakfast and offers brunch on Saturday. Plus, they have a full bar.

Smith says her goal when she opened in 2002 as a coffee shop was to make and serve great coffee in a relaxing and inspiring environment. Her food comes from family recipes as well as items she has picked up on her travels. Much of the art on the walls is hers. It really is a one-of-a-kind place off the beaten path.

The Midnight Rooster opens at 6:30 a.m. Monday-Friday and closes at 9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 10 p.m. Thursday-Friday. The restaurant is open 8 a.m.-9 p.m. on Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Thanksgiving Day but is open on Friday for breakfast and lunch (if you are tired of leftovers) and returns to normal hours Saturday.