Harold “Groucho” Miller came to Columbia, South Carolina in 1941 with a handful of original recipes for potato salad, coleslaw, and various salad and sandwich dressings, most of which were thought up during his childhood in a Philadelphia orphanage.
These humble beginnings, along with the idea that “quality is the most important ingredient in a sandwich”, and "always give back to the community" were the foundations for Groucho's success.
Second Generation, Ivan Miller, recollected in an interview with the Columbia Record in 1986, “When Pop first opened this store, Columbia was a small town, and everything had a label. Here he (Harold Miller) was this really crazy kind of guy.
Always, joking. Always had a big cigar. A mustache. He looked like Groucho Marx (the comedian), he talked like Groucho Marx, and to Columbia, he was Groucho Marx. So that is how the name came about.”
Throughout the generations, Groucho’s Deli has held true to the idea of using only the highest quality products and ingredients, which has, in turn, led Groucho’s® to legendary status.
In the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960’s Groucho’s® Deli established its reputation by serving its high-quality meats and cheeses (in sandwiches and for retail sale), famous sandwich dressings (Formula 45 Sauce™ was perfected in 1945), and Original Potato Salad and Coleslaw. Seating was very limited.
Groucho’s sold imported teas, coffees and exotic delicacies from its grocery/retail portion of the restaurant. Groucho’s began serving its innovative “Dipper”™ Style Subs with Original Sauces and Large Salads in the 1960s.
The Apollo Dipper™ was named after the likeness of the Apollo space capsule (advertised as landing in a cup of 45 Sauce).
The seating area became larger and the grocery/retail area was phased out in the 1980s.
Groucho’s continued Philosophy of offering “Fast, Fresh, and Original” Trademark Subs and Large Salads, served with Groucho’s® Famous Dressings, spawned demand into new markets.
Although the idea of expanding Groucho’s into new areas was always prevalent, Groucho’s had to ensure that the Quality Products, Coveted Recipes, and Customer Experience would be consistent.
These attributes became available through our exclusive distributor partnerships and from extensive training of Groucho’s Franchisees.
Groucho’s began franchising in 2000. Groucho’s receives lots of franchise applications, but only executes about three new units each year. Groucho’s feels that by slow controlled growth we can offer excellent launch (and ongoing) support and increase the likelihood for success.
Since Groucho’s first Franchise in Lexington, SC (2000), Groucho’s® has grown into multiple cities across South and North Carolina and Georgia. From Groucho’s humble beginning to expansion into new territories, the goal of each Groucho’s location is to be “Your Neighborhood Deli”.
Groucho's Original Deli is still owned and operated by the Miller family today in the heart of Five Points in Columbia, SC.