Eatery doubles as breakfast cafe, fine dining spot


Mary Beth’s at McBee Station offers a fresh, unique breakfast and lunch menu and a refined dinner menu. Photo: Emma Klak

In the daytime, Mary Beth’s feels like a small family diner. At night, it transforms to tablecloths, stemware and a completely different menu. But one thing always remains the same at this restaurant: fresh gourmet food.

Mary Beth’s was begun when Mr. Andy Ballard and Mr. Chuck LaPress, a prestigious culinary-trained chef, decided to start their own restaurant.

LaPress, originally from Buffalo, N.Y., had opened several restaurants in New York and was head chef for three years at a restaurant in Greenville, but he realized he wanted his own.

Now head chef and partner at Mary Beth’s, LaPress has built the menu from scratch and trained four cooks. Mary Beth’s celebrated its fifth anniversary on April 14.

Since Mary Beth’s is primarily a breakfast and lunch spot, you can expect an assortment of unique twists on traditional eggs and sandwiches. Try eggs Benedict with crabmeat and asparagus or try a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with shrimp and tarragon mayonnaise. The eggplant sandwich is also a customer favorite.

Thursday through Saturday evenings, Mary Beth’s offers fine dining. Besides a more elegant atmosphere, their menu presents main courses featuring chicken, fish, steaks, lamb or the special. Mary Beth’s staple special is Chilean sea bass. However, the special simply depends upon what ingredients can be found fresh.

“The big thing about our restaurant is that we buy everything locally that we can,” Ballard said. “We make everything in house — all of our salad dressings, all of our sauces. All of our desserts are handmade.”

Located off East Washington Street in a quiet section of downtown Greenville, Mary Beth’s is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for breakfast and lunch. Fine dining is available Thursday through Saturday nights beginning at 7 p.m. and includes entrees averaging $25. Breakfast items cost anywhere from $5 to $15. And sandwiches cost an average of $10.

Even though Mary Beth’s regular customers consist of upscale clientele and business people, don’t be discouraged from experiencing Mary Beth’s yourself. You can visit for a special occasion or simply search the menu for something in your price range.

Ballard believes everyone can enjoy his restaurant. Besides suggesting salads on which you can add tuna, chicken or other meats, he also said you can’t go wrong with eggs Benedict or Nutella crepes. And Mary Beth’s homemade desserts are big enough for two people — perfect for sharing.

“[At Mary Beth’s, you] can get a variety,” Ballard said. “[You] can experience what it’s like to get well-prepared, fresh food in a comfortable, clean family atmosphere.”