Wes Hennings never met a meal he walked away from and is an opinionated eater! Each Monday he shares the results of a business lunch he’s had with a colleague as a way to advise our business community on the good, bad and the tasty across the CSRA. He doesn’t let ABD or the restaurant know where he is going and his opinions are his own. He grades the restaurants he visits on a 1-5 scale with “5” being outstanding. We call this our “Real Business Lunch Review”. (Published on July 26, 2021)
Food Quality: 4
Business Meeting: 3
Combined Score: 3.75 of 5
Chances are if you’re doing business in Augusta, a few times you’ll find yourself wanting some lunch in our little sister city, Aiken. My wife owns Honey Pie Therapy in North Augusta and had some business errands to do there, so we sat down for a fun and tasty lunch at the Aiken Brewing Company.
Don’t let its’ reputation as the “South’s Best Small Town” fool you. Downtown Aiken was hopping on a muggy Friday afternoon in July. Most of the eating joints here are found in “The Alley,” but that means parking is at a premium. I was raised in a small town, and one of the perks is that parking should be right at the door.
But once we found a spot, we also found a nice lunch experience with local flair. The walls feature scenes from both Aiken and the Augusta National, so it’s a spot that bridges the gap that is sometimes created by our river.
We couldn’t resist getting started with some pretzel bites while we waited for our food. Of course, they come along with beer cheese (it’s a brewery, after all) and these were definitely a highlight of our time. While the food was good, we skipped the beer, and drinks and apps are probably a more suitable experience for this establishment than a business lunch.
While we had no trouble hearing each other, seating is a little packed in and there isn’t a ton of it. Plus, pretty loud music makes it more of a bar scene. I think a 5pm experience would definitely feel a bit different.
We were there for a business lunch, and my Philly steak dipper with ribeye strips did not disappoint. With a side of crispy onion rings, I left miserably full. My wife, who is certainly not an adventurous eater, was not impressed with her chicken strips (on the menu as the Mother Plucker). It was fairly plain and unoriginal, even for chicken strips. But the fries made up some of the gap.
Pretty much any sandwich you could want is on the menu, from a Reuben to fish. It appeared that most of the patrons around us were partaking in the burger, which seems typical for this type of establishment.
Aiken Brewing is going to serve you up a good meal, and though we didn’t imbibe (because, lunchtime), it looks like a good local brew. It’s a local place and experience that I recommend, even if better suited for casual dinner and drinks than lunch on the company dime.
Aiken Brewing Company
140 Laurens St. SW