My family and I discovered a little gem a few years back in Blackville, South Carolina called Miller’s Bread Basket. We stopped in for supper one Thursday evening, and our taste buds were delighted by the absolute best Amish-Mennoite cooking around! They had a variety of homemade cooking from fried chicken, Salisbury steak, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, rice and gravy, green beans, and broccoli and rice casserole just to name a few of our favorites! They also had different kinds of bread made fresh in their store. One knows that the meal isn’t complete without a fine dessert to top it off, and there were plenty of homemade desserts to choose from as well.
My nine year old daughter is always anxious to finish her meal so that she can set off to discover what treasures she will find this time in their little store. As you make your way through the restaurant, you will find racks of books that they offer for reasonable prices. I am, indeed, a bookworm, so I have to browse through all of the different titles to choose from. My ever so impatient daughter pulls at my arm as she says, “Mom, come on … this way!” Finally I give in after selecting a book, and we make our way through the restaurant as it exits into their country store. Her little eyes light up every time as she takes in all of the sights before her. They have antiques, paintings, pictures, what-nots, etc. This time she was immediately drawn to a picture of two horses that was hanging on the wall, followed shortly thereafter by a leather horse that was reared up on his back legs. Her eyes danced with delight as she came running toward me. “Oh Mama, please … can I have them? Please, I’ll do anything, Mama!” she exclaimed.
The owner of the restaurant appeared, and seeing the excitement in her eyes, he began to tell us a story of the Amish and how they had a horse and buggy back in the olden days. “Uncle Ray” (as he is affectionately referred to by many in the community and how he asked to be identified in this article as well) told my daughter all about Billy the horse and how he was used back then. When they moved here, though, they no longer needed the horse and buggy for their sole means of transportation as they bought a car.
Uncle Ray told of a Palomino horse named Flame and how you could ride him and how you could also hook him up to a cart and buggy as well. Uncle Ray went on to talk about other horses such as “Color Me Buddy’s Little Flame” and “Goldie.” My daughter was completely into the conversation as he continued with a tale of the South Carolina 2010 Rodeo Champion Horse known by his stable name as “Otis” in Barnwell County.
As Uncle Ray was entertaining my daughter with his horse stories, I reached into my purse for my notebook, pen, and camera. I began jotting down notes as he talked, and after he finished his conversation with my daughter, it was now my turn with him! Uncle Ray began sharing with me that he has been the owner of Miller’s Bread Basket for 27 years. They will celebrate their 28th anniversary in May of this year. He talked of how his “heartbeat” (his words) has always been for how to revitalize the small town of Blackville.
Uncle Ray shared with us that 30 years ago he was given a vision and a dream, and he feels strongly that this inspiration was given to him straight from God above. He states that God gets full credit for it. He envisioned restoring an old Irish hotel called Shamrock. He has not given up on this dream.
This, of course, led into an event that they offered last year for St. Patrick’s Day. Uncle Ray said that at this event in 2013, St. Patrick walked in while the Emcee had the mic. Of course, the Emcee turned to ask exactly who this was that had just walked in. St. Patrick then began sharing who he was and how St. Patrick’s Day should actually be a Christian holiday. He went on to share how the shamrock represents God The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Uncle Ray said that there was a twist this year as Noah Met St. Patrick on March 15, 2014. I bet that was a fun filled evening with entertainment, a great story line, and delicious food! While we were unable to attend this year, we look forward to see what Uncle Ray will have in store for next year!
Until then, we’re snacking on this amazing bread given to us by Uncle Ray himself and planning our next trip to Blackville and Miller’s Bread Basket!
Miller’s Bread Basket
483 Main Street
Blackville, SC 29817
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!