Funnel cakes. Need I say more? These sweet doughy treats have been a favorite at festivals, theme parks, carnivals and sporting events for years. And thanks to Mike and Melinda Pennington, owners of Funnelicious, a restaurant that specializes in deep fried foods, you no longer have to wait for the next game or carnival to get your funnel cake fix.
Funnelicious has been open for a little less than a year and a half, and it’s barely large enough to be considered a restaurant. In fact, its slogan, “Working hard to be Greenville’s smallest restaurant,” is quite fitting.
“It’s not that we want to be small,” Melinda Pennington said. “It’s just what we have to work with while we continue to grow.”
Mike Pennington has been in the concessions business for more than 25 years. He and his wife started Funnelicious because they realized how popular fried concession foods had become. “We just figured funnel cakes would be a good place to start,” Pennington said.
Located near Mellow Mushroom on Augusta Street in downtown Greenville, Funnelicious is a small brick building painted in bright colors. At night, the all-glass front helps the restaurant stand out like a beacon of fried happiness.
The interior is reminiscent of a seasonal ice cream shop. Two giant whiteboards are mounted to the wall with all the offerings carefully written out. Funnel cake toppings are visible behind a glass counter and two girls in aprons, who double as servers and cooks, make their way around the equipment in the back. Seating is a little crowded, but there is always room on the front patio.
Funnelicious has more than 150 choices on its menu. From deli sandwiches to corn dogs to fried cheesecake to fried red velvet cake balls, the restaurant has it all. But its specialty is funnel cakes. Out of about 30 topping choices, strawberry is the bestseller. But you can add double whipped cream to that, or honey or even bacon. Basically, you can make any kind of funnel cake you’d like.
“You can’t find this stuff anywhere else in Greenville,” Pennington said. “I mean, fried Kool-Aid balls? Those are unique.” That’s right—fried Kool-Aid. And fried mashed potato balls, fried macaroni and cheese balls, fried Oreo balls and fried watermelon. “Even though I am a low-carb eater, I love the foughnuts (fried donuts),” he said. “They’re pretty good.” And so is almost everything else on the menu.