The Lunch Meet crew makes their way to Groucho's Deli.
Groucho’s Deli may have gotten its name from a doppelganger, but the restaurant and the man who founded it are truly originals to Columbia.
Harold “Groucho” Miller first opened Groucho’s Deli on Columbia’s Main Street in 1941. Harold earned his nickname thanks to his profound resemblance to Groucho Marx, which was helped even further by his deli’s location.
“It was originally called Miller’s, but there was a movie theater right across the street which was always playing Groucho Marx movies,” said Bruce Miller, who is Harold’s grandson and the third-generation owner of Groucho’s Deli. “People coming out of the theater would come into Miller’s and get a beer and call him Groucho, and that’s how the name stuck. In 1941, they changed the name to Groucho’s.”
While Harold’s persona and appearance (down to the mustache and cigar) matched Groucho Marx, his giving heart and generous spirit brought much more than just stogies and hoagies to Columbia.
“My Grandad was a great philanthropist in Columbia. He started doing the Buck-A-Cup program, which raised money for crippled and handicapped children,” Bruce said. “He spent most of his time, unlike Groucho Marx, helping the poor, the needy, the handicapped, anything he could to help Columbia blossom.”
Harold also introduced Columbia to his famous 45 sauce and dipper-style sandwiches, which remain favorites among customers today.
“It’s sweet and spicy. It’s tangy and sweet,” Bruce said. “It’s a great compliment to our trademark-style sub with the soft bread and the bacon bits.”
The Lunch Meet Crew agreed that the 45 sauce and Groucho’s subs are a match made in heaven.
Jared chowed down on an Apollo Dipper (named after the Apollo Space Shuttle because of its resemblance) and said, “it’s out of this world!”
Clint gobbled up an STP Dipper (named after an old promotion when each sandwich would come served with an STP Oil sticker) remarking, “I see why they keep the 45 sauce a secret!”
To try one of Groucho’s famous subs for yourself, visit them at their main location in Columbia’s Five Points or at one of their franchise locations throughout the Midlands.