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Aug 9, 2001 10:31 AM

Columbia, South Carolina

  • l

I am going to be staying in Columbia during Labor Day weekend due to Nascar racing at Darlington....any good food joints?

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  1. A very good friend of mine who lives in Columbia recommends Millinder's BBQ. It's an authentic SC pig pickin' join, opened only on the weekends.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Bob W.

      Maurices BBQ is always good. Get hash & chicken bog for your side items. YUM!

      Red Bone Alley is a fairly new & ecclectic steak & fish joint you may want to check out.

      1. re: Me

        There is a small local chain in Columbia called Lizard's Thicket and they have good food--esp. breakfast. Maurice's BBQ is good, but there is a lot of controversy over his business practices and beliefs. There are lots of messages about the situation on this board somewhere. Yesterday's in 5 Points is great--very established place. Just ate there a couple weeks ago and it's still good.

        1. re: Jenn

          Yeah I know about Maurice's rants because my brother is a USC graduate.We always go out to Lake Murray to eat at a seafood place and it is super but I thought I would see what everyone else thought and have some other ideas for the rest of the meals.

          1. re: Laura

            I teach at USC once a year and end up dining out every night. My favorites: Yesterday's (in 5 Points-not fancy but good. The largest painting in the room is of Robert E Lee.) For a step up I like the Blue Marlin (it's in the old train station and has super seafood.) Mr Friendly's is good. I used to adore Maurice's but will not go back while the boycott is in effect. (I can't hgelp a great deal with Italian and French places. When I go to the south I try to eat local.)

            1. re: Bob Foster

              You go to maurices for BBQ, not for politics. That's silly to boycott them!

              1. re: Moi

                Agreed. If we selectivly patronized only businesses whose owners we agree with, our choices and experiences would be limited. Boycotting Maurice's probably is doing him no harm. The most direct impact is likely felt by his employees. Barbecue has traditionally brought folks together in the South. Boycotts such as is being waged against Maurice is as divisive as his rhetoric. Ignore him and eat more pig.


                1. re: Jim

                  By Location, then by Cost:
                  Columbia has two main areas for restaurants/bars/nightlife: The Vista, which generally caters to the Late 20/30’s crowd and up, and 5 Points, which is in general more of a hangout for the USC college students. In the Vista, the main street is Gervais and most restaurants are on Gervais or right off. My favorite is Mangia Mangia, which is actually across the river from the Vista proper, but always has inspired Italian fare. Others to note in the kinda upscale category (nothing in Columbia is that fancy) are Ristorante Divino (classic Italian, the most formal on my list), and Motor Supply Company, which gained rave reviews for its American eclectic fare in Food & Wine several years ago. There is a quaint gathering of bars and restaurants in the old train station in the heart of the Vista, which would include Blue Marlin, which is a great place for South Carolina lowcountry seafood. However they experienced a kitchen fire about 2 months ago and are still repairing. Try it later definitely. There is also a seafood place in the Vista called Steamer’s, but it is rather pedestrian.
                  The 5 points area is filled with college bars, but also quite a number of other interesting choices. The most upscale is saluda’s (American) which has a nice atmosphere overlooking our downtown fountain. The best in 5 Points however is Mr Friendly’s “New Southern” Café which means they have taken grits and turned them into an art form side-dish. One of their co-owner’s Christian also stock the Gervais and Vine wine shop, so the selection at Mr Friendly’s for both beer and wine is typically the best and most eclectic in town. The only good ethnic in town is here in 5 Points, and it is the thai Bann Sawaan – highly recommended. Otherwise, avoid all Mexican, Chinese or Indian in Columbia- it’s not what we do best. One step below these choices price wise are the already mentioned Yesterday’s, Harper’s (kind of an upscale Applebee’s but way better), Hannah Jane’s and Goat Feather’s. These last three choices are also my picks for Sunday brunch overall for Columbia. They are close, so if one doesn’t suit your tastes, walk to another. Going on the cheap in 5 Points includes Za’s Brick oven Pizza (several blocks north of 5 points on Devine St) and El Burrito, which is modeled after Athens, Ga’s famous Taco Stand. Burrito’s for $4 and cold Pabst Blue Ribbon’s for $1. Maybe just what you will need after NASCAR.
                  Downtown, there are two good restaurants, Hennessee’s and the Aqua Grill (formerly LaVechhia’s – overpriced, but good seafood), but downtown is usually dead on the weekends, so I recommend the other areas of town.
                  Finally, let me weigh in on my choice for Columbia’s best BBQ, and it is not mustard-based, but typical tomato based Little Pigs. They have a buffet that is open Wed-Sunday, 4927 Alpine Rd, just off exit 16 off of I-77. 788-8238.
                  The most important part of visiting any of these restaurants over Labor Day is to call first! It is astounding the number of places here that close for the entire weekend, and the town may seem dead outside of the race. Have fun!

                  1. re: Max Angell

                    What race? I didn't know that Columbia had a NASCAR race!

                    1. re: Wha?

                      as I stated in my original post...we stay there because my brother is a USC grad. Thanks all for the wonderful suggestions.

                  2. re: Jim

                    Where the heck did this thread come from?

        2. re: Bob W.

          Millinder's does not use wood. This is a prerequsite for authentic barbecue. Anything else constitutes roast pork. (Still delicious...) A better bet would be John D. Hite and Sons in West Columbia. It is also open only on Friday and Saturday. If I recall correctly, it is more of a meat market than a restaurant. Pretty good stuff for mustard-based sauce. Don't forget the hash and rice !

        3. I grew up in Columbia SC and only moved away about 6 years ago, but as a USC grad and with family still there... I find myself in town all the time.

          One great restaurant that no one seems to know about... but that in my opinion has the *best* Thai food in Columbia is called "Bangkok" and is located on Garner's Ferry Road (take Devine Street off of Harden St in 5-points and go out the southeast side of the city past Dreher High School and heading towards the Veteran's Administration Hospital). You will pass the hospital (on your right) and then eventually come to a Wal-Mart shopping center on your right. The Bangkok is actually in the strip mall with the Wal-mart. I know it sounds sketchy but you won't be disappointed. They are either completely closed or close very early on Sundays.

          Top tips: The Beef Massaman, Pad Thai, and the Fried Tofu Appetizer (but get it with the sweet Thai chili sauce instead of the peanut sauce!) and of course, the Tom Kha Gai (or chicken coconut) soup!! Enjoy! :-)


          1. For great barbecue try Shealy's in Batesburg-Leesville which is located approximately 30 miles from Columbia
            on United States Highway 1. The restuarant has a wonderful buffet of local favorites. For barbecue in Columbia, I recommend Big T's which is located in the same shopping complex as the Thai restaurant which has been mentioned in a previous post.

            1. Try Terra in West Columbia. Neat atmosphere and great food! You can't go wrong with Mr. Friendly's or Garibaldi's in Fiive Points. . .

              1 Reply
              1. re: capitalguy

                Hey, this thread is 8 years old. I hope the OP has eaten by now!