Life in our Foothills February 2023 – Hare and Hound Pub – A cornerstone of downtown Landrum for over twenty years
Published 3:35 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2023
The Hare and Hound Pub has been a staple in downtown Landrum for about 27 years, and for 20 of those, it has belonged to Patty Otto. When walking through the ornate doors of the handsome brick building, built in 1913, the warm atmosphere and friendly staff are a comforting welcome.
It all boils down to Otto, who is passionate about the food that Hare and Hound pub prepares for the community and the people around her. She always makes sure her customers feel like family.
On December 2, those at the Hare and Hound Pub—an Irish-themed restaurant with a variety of food options––celebrated their 20th anniversary under the ownership of Otto.
“To celebrate, we did a lot of the original recipes from the restaurant that were here when I first bought the pub, recreating some dishes that we did when we first started twenty years ago,” Otto said. “We just celebrated the fact that we got through another year.”
December 2 also happened to be Otto’s birthday.
The story of the Hare and Hound Pub began many years ago when Otto moved to the Landrum area in 1997 with her husband.
“We were aware of the restaurant being there, and we knew the owners because they were part of the local horse community,” she said. “When I found out they were interested in selling, I told my husband that I might consider going back into the restaurant business again.”
Prior to moving to the Foothills, Otto had owned a restaurant on Hilton Head Island. There she featured many recipes of her own, which she carried on to Landrum’s beloved Hare and Hound. The restaurant now serves delicious dishes that include Guinness beef pie, chicken pot pie, and one of their most popular plates, the honey child chicken salad on a croissant.
“Clam chowder is one recipe I brought with me from Hilton Head. The Pilgrim Sandwich was also a favorite I did there, but a lot of our current recipes are from our chefs,” she said.
Every chef at the pub has been working there for between eight and 15 years–each very passionate about preparing Landrum’s most popular dishes. Otto’s right-hand-woman is Sandra Lawson, whom Otto has leaned on for support for the past 20 years. Lawson has been working at the Hare and Hound for all of its 27 years.
Owning a restaurant wasn’t exactly Otto’s plan when she moved to the area. She did know, however, that the pub was meant to serve as a cornerstone of Landrum.
“I don’t know that I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. I just knew it was location, location, location,” she said. “I loved the old building. I mean, it was built in 1913. I knew it was situated to be exactly what it is––a big part of the community.”
The day Otto officially opened the doors of her Hare and Hound Pub on December 2, 2002, the town of Landrum was experiencing less-than-desirable weather.
“It was an icy, snowy, horrible day. No one was on the roads. Power was off for the next five days around the community, so I opened the restaurant and let it be known that anyone who needed to could come here and get coffee, take showers, or whatever they needed to do. Some of those people are my best customers to this day,” she said.
Serving the community is Otto’s way of showing love for where she lives, and she’s been doing so since the day the Hare and Hound opened under her ownership.
She said, “I’m still very hands-on here. I’m here seven days a week.” However, Otto explains that help from her family is a big part of the pub’s success.
“My family is in the business. My granddaughter works with me, and my grandson is my accountant,” Otto said. “As far as passing it on, I hope whatever happens with the restaurant, it will always continue with the same vision that I have–being a good restaurant with good prices and consistency, but never forgetting that we’re part of this wonderful community.”
Though Otto didn’t give the restaurant its iconic name, the name still encompasses just as much sentiment as if she had.
“My husband and I traveled a lot, and I always loved old pub signs and I would buy them in Europe. We always loved the pubs in England and Ireland, so we’d always gravitate to a great pub,” she said. “I had bought a pub sign before I owned this restaurant from a pub called ‘The Hare and Hounds.’ That sign hangs outside the building now.”
While the sign is now faded due to years of sun, rain, and everything in between, it still welcomes new faces through the double doors every day for a fresh lunch or dinner. Those faces, she said, are her favorite part of owning the restaurant.
“It’s the people,” she said. “It’s the people that I’ve met here and have become friends with. They’re friends and extended family.”
One of Otto’s favorite memories over her two decades in business is from a certain April day several years ago. “The memory that sticks out the most is being able to bring the Clydesdales here in 2015,” she remembers.
About seven years ago, Otto was able to accomplish the creation of a parade centered around the famous Clydesdale horses. The well-known Clydesdales strolled through downtown Landrum and brought people from all over the area together for one magical evening.
Each year, the restaurant makes celebratory shirts for its anniversary. This year, the tee shirts included a logo with “20 years” on the corner of the word “community.”
“To me, that summed up exactly who I am and what this restaurant is, because this restaurant has helped build the community, and we’re so much part of the community as a whole,” she said.
As Patty Otto buckles up for the next couple of decades, she is destined to experience many more moments worth celebrating.