Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Universal Joint

A new restaurant recently opened in Greenville.  Crazy right?  I feel like I start every other blog post with that sentence.  It still is amazing to me just how many new places are popping up around the upstate.  But the one unique thing about this new place is that it isn't located in the heart of downtown, it's nestled on Stone Avenue right in the middle of the North Main community. 

The North Main neighborhood is a beautiful area with sweet little bungalows just oozing with charm.  The neighborhood also boasts having one of the only two houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the state, see the house here.  While the neighborhood itself has been booming, the areas surrounding it have been a little slower with their revitalization.

Enter Universal Joint.  A trendy open-air restaurant just off of North Main Street.  T and I decided to visit about three weeks after their opening night.  Even after three weeks, the place was still packed with people.

The menu to me seemed a little all over the place, I'd like to see the chefs hone the menu down over time once they decide what they're really good at, and what people seem to like.  They had anything from edamame to fish tacos to burgers and a whole lot of randomness in between.

We started with the edamame, which was very tasty.  They give you some kind of soy sesame sauce to drizzle over top which was good, but a bit oily. 

This has been the summer of gin for me, so I ordered a gimlet to go along with my meal.  A gimlet only has three ingredients, so you'd think that it would be a pretty easy drink to make, but it amazes me how many bartenders don't know how to make one.  Since its a pre-prohibition style cocktail, I'm sure people don't order them that much.  Regardless, the bartender did a great job, and my drink was very tasty.

For my entree I ordered the brisket taco.  It's supposed to come with chips, but there must have been a mix-up in the kitchen because they came with french fries instead. No sweat to me, this girl will never turn down a french fry.  I'm glad that it did come with fries, because they were actually the best part of the meal.  The tacos just didn't do it for me.  The brisket lacked flavor and tenderness and the salsa that it came with was very pedestrian. It tasted like it was ordered in bulk, there was nothing original about it.

So while the food wasn't my favorite, the location is great, the atmosphere is fun, and the drinks are cold.  (The parking was a bit sparse, but since its a neighborhood bar, most of the patrons are walking anyway.)  I think the restaurant has great potential, and once the newness wears off I hope that they will be able to streamline their menu and really focus on perfecting a few key menu items.

Universal Joint on Urbanspoon



  1. Hi Laura! I went to Universal Joint opening night (not knowing it was opening night!) and really enjoyed it. We had a few mixups with the kitchen such as ordering chips and getting tater tots instead...but hey, I'm not one to turn tots down! The taps were not ready, and our waiter didn't tell us, so we ended up waiting over 45 minutes for a beer. We ordered two entrees, the arugula and mushroom quesadilla and the turkey pita club. Those definitely did not disappoint! I would definitely go back just for those items, however, I do agree with you that they need to focus on a select "style" of food. It was very random, but also delicious. Now that they have had several weeks to figure out their kinks, I will definitely be going back!

  2. Man, I love new local places! Anytime we're downtown Wilmington I hope they will one day follow suit and create the charm that downtown Greenville has. They're going in the right direction, I think!

    Heather | Port City Prescription


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