David Phillips, owner of Joy Drive-In in Gaffney, South Carolina, traces the upstate hash tradition to two sources: farmers who supplemented their income by selling hash on the weekends and the practice of cooking hash in hash houses made available to workers on the grounds of textile mills. Early in the 20th century, textile mill owners promised potential workers that they could continue making hash on special occasions, such as Fourth of July celebrations, at the mill hash houses. Such celebrations became large events that served generous amounts of hash made in iron pots. Different hash houses competed with one another for the best recipe. Today, at Joy Drive-In, David Phillips’ recipe is all-beef and is often served with white coleslaw on a bun.
Joy Drive-In is a good example of how deeply rooted the local community’s taste for hash can become. This popular taste for “local” hash in Gaffney enables the tradition of hash preparation to adapt and change with the times. Joy Drive-In is an example of how the traditional iron pot hash that started on the farms and moved into the textile mills adapted to the demands of a changing culture. “Fast-food” eateries were an inevitable change in custom resulting from increased affluence and mobility and the increased pace of life. Phillips made sure that the long-standing hash tradition would be fully blended into the “drive-in” culture, satisfying the public’s local taste for this regional specialty.