Blue Top Grill celebrates 70th anniversary | News | postandcourier.com – Berkeley Independent

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A mix of clouds and sun. High 83F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph..
Clear skies. Low 59F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: September 27, 2021 @ 2:49 pm
It’s picture time at Blue Top Grill Saturday night, with the Graniteville restaurant celebrating its 70th anniversary. Providing a soundtrack and in character as Willie Nelson for “On the Road Again” is Joe Moore, right, standing, of Martinez, Georgia. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Zach Noakes, on hand Saturday night for Blue Top Grill’s 70th anniversary celebration, snaps a picture of Michelle Page, left, and Donna Hair. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Zach Noakes, on hand for the 70th anniversary celebration at Blue Top Grill Saturday night, snaps a picture of Michelle Page, left, and Donna Hair. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
It’s picture time Saturday night at Blue Top Grill, with the Graniteville restaurant celebrating its 70th anniversary. Providing a soundtrack and in character as Willie Nelson for “On the Road Again” is Joe Moore, standing, right, of Martinez, Georgia. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Blue Top Grill, in Graniteville, has plenty of visitors Saturday night, with the eatery celebratingi ts 70th anniversary. The burgers-and-fries restaurant, at 212 Aiken Road, was founded by the late Emmie and Jimmy Overstreet. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Nostalgia, as represented here on a T-shirt, is part of Saturday evening’s atmosphere at Blue Top Grill, with the restaurant having its 70th anniversary celebration. The Graniteville eatery, at 212 Aiken Road, was founded by the late Jimmy and Emmie Overstreet. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Signatures from customers and other friends of Blue Top Grill are part of the restaurant’s setting Saturday evening amid the eatery’s 70th anniversary celebration. The restaurant, at 212 Aiken Road, was founded by the late Emmie and Jimmy Overstreet. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Memorabilia from seven decades of business is part of the setting Saturday night at Blue Top Grill, with the restaurant having its 70th anniversary celebration. The Graniteville eatery, at 212 Aiken Road, was founded by the late Emmie and Jimmy Overstreet, who are shown here in the large picture at center. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Multipe generations of Blue Top Grill’s ownership and support are represented in a group gathering a for pictures Saturday evening at the business’ 70th anniversary celebration. The Graniteville eatery, at 212 Aiken Road, was founded by the late Jimmy and Emmie Overstreet. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)

It’s picture time at Blue Top Grill Saturday night, with the Graniteville restaurant celebrating its 70th anniversary. Providing a soundtrack and in character as Willie Nelson for “On the Road Again” is Joe Moore, right, standing, of Martinez, Georgia. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Zach Noakes, on hand Saturday night for Blue Top Grill’s 70th anniversary celebration, snaps a picture of Michelle Page, left, and Donna Hair. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Zach Noakes, on hand for the 70th anniversary celebration at Blue Top Grill Saturday night, snaps a picture of Michelle Page, left, and Donna Hair. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
It’s picture time Saturday night at Blue Top Grill, with the Graniteville restaurant celebrating its 70th anniversary. Providing a soundtrack and in character as Willie Nelson for “On the Road Again” is Joe Moore, standing, right, of Martinez, Georgia. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Blue Top Grill, in Graniteville, has plenty of visitors Saturday night, with the eatery celebratingi ts 70th anniversary. The burgers-and-fries restaurant, at 212 Aiken Road, was founded by the late Emmie and Jimmy Overstreet. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Nostalgia, as represented here on a T-shirt, is part of Saturday evening’s atmosphere at Blue Top Grill, with the restaurant having its 70th anniversary celebration. The Graniteville eatery, at 212 Aiken Road, was founded by the late Jimmy and Emmie Overstreet. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Signatures from customers and other friends of Blue Top Grill are part of the restaurant’s setting Saturday evening amid the eatery’s 70th anniversary celebration. The restaurant, at 212 Aiken Road, was founded by the late Emmie and Jimmy Overstreet. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Memorabilia from seven decades of business is part of the setting Saturday night at Blue Top Grill, with the restaurant having its 70th anniversary celebration. The Graniteville eatery, at 212 Aiken Road, was founded by the late Emmie and Jimmy Overstreet, who are shown here in the large picture at center. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
Multipe generations of Blue Top Grill’s ownership and support are represented in a group gathering a for pictures Saturday evening at the business’ 70th anniversary celebration. The Graniteville eatery, at 212 Aiken Road, was founded by the late Jimmy and Emmie Overstreet. (Bill Bengtson/Staff)
GRANITEVILLE — One of Aiken County’s oldest restaurants marked a major milestone Saturday evening, playing host to dozens of visitors and dishing out almost four hours of free food, music and hospitality. 
Blue Top Grill dates back to 1951, having been founded by the late Jimmy and Emmie Overstreet, whose pictures are a fixture on an interior wall and were part of a Saturday display with a variety of mementos helping mark the eatery’s 70th anniversary. Customers representing several decades were part of the crowd at 212 Aiken Road, with current owner Renee Lutot running the show.
Lutot chose the word “booming” to describe her old-fashioned eatery during the past year, despite the tumult and disasters that befell some business amid COVID-19 and other challenges. “We had the best customers —  best support ever. We didn’t miss a lick with all that, and even through the COVID, we’ve used our window, and when we couldn’t have people in here, we were throwing food out that window as fast as we could. Our customers have been awesome,” she said.
“Fresh hamburgers” and “fresh french fries” are the restaurant’s claim to local fame, Lutot said, noting that the vegetable offerings vary from day to day, to accommodate customers who make a Blue Top stop every day.
Lutot’s mom, Linda Smith, was part of the Saturday crew, representing Blue Top’s second generation of ownership. She took the helm in 1980 and Lutot followed in 2008. 
Lutot now has seven employees, and one of the youngest in the family line helping occasionally at the business is Paisley Byrd, 11, a sixth-grader at Langley-Bath-Clearwater Middle School. 
The display of memorabilia included a listing of 1951’s place in history, noting such facts as “Quo Vadis,” “The African Queen” and “Strangers on a Train” being among the year’s most popular movies and  “How High the Moon” (by Les Paul and Mary Ford) and “Unforgettable” (Nat King Cole) among the top songs. Harry Truman was president and the Census Bureau used UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer), the first commercial computer. The world population was about 2.6 billion and the U.S. stood at 157 million. 
Karaoke was also part of Saturday’s scene, with a soundtrack largely courtesy of Langley resident Annis Barton (in a poodle skirt), Burnettown resident Nonnie Campbell and Martinez, Georgia, resident Joe Moore, in character as Willie Nelson. Moore got the last word, as he sang “The Party’s Over,” as written by Nelson and made more famous by “Monday Night Football” great Don Meredith in the 1970s. 
Among the evening’s visitors was Vaucluse native Michele Herron, an Aiken resident with experience in the restaurant business. She described Blue Top as offering a pleasing combination in terms of hospitality, food and prices. 
“I’ve just always been impressed by them. They just do very, very well. The treat the customer right. The prices aren’t exorbitant. it’s just one of the best places to go, around, and they have specials all the time,” she said. 
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