Bob and Anna Williams founded Lizard’s Thicket, a concept targeting time-constrained amilies seeking familiar home-cooked meals, in a converted Columbia, South Carolina, house in 1977. Now this midscale urban neighborhood chain, with 15 freestanding locations in the state, serves Southern country-style comfort food in all three dayparts to about 12,000 people daily. Traditional breakfasts, including French toast, biscuits and omelets, are cooked to order. The lunch and supper menus center around meat-and-three plates, with 10 different meats—like beef stew and pork chops—prepared each mealtime and choices among 25 sides, including collard greens, squash casserole and black-eyed peas. Soups, sandwiches and daily meat specials are

LocationColumbia, S.C.
2012 Systemwide Sales ($000)$32,500,000*
YOY Sales Change4.2%
2012 U.S. Units15
2012 Average Unit Volume ($000)$2,200,000*
Future 50 Year2013
*Technomic estimate

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