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DC hound moving to Clemson, SC...needs food help!

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Hi folks...I usually stick around the DC boards, but I'm moving to Clemson this summer, so I need some help finding some decent places to eat and shop. Any recommendations are welcome within an hour drive of Clemson. We love going out for everything from BBQ and burger joints to Asian/Middle Eastern/African restaurants; pricey to divey. And I need some find some good places to shop, so send along any recommendations for ethnic groceries, farmer's markets, etc. I know it's going to be a very different scene than DC, but hey, the houses are cheaper too! Thanks a bunch!

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  1. There's a goat farm called Split Creek in nearby Pendleton. Good goat cheese, interesting field trip.

    1. I'd suggest arranging a good relationship with a gourmet grocer in DC who's willing to ship to you.

      As for dining, Atlanta's only 2 1/2 hours away.

      10 Replies
      1. re: YourPalWill

        as a socar fan that was the best you could do? ":^)
        I thought you would be all over the Klem(P)sum issue.

        Actually, there was a discussion about that area on here the other day. There are a couple of places near Pendleton (about ten minutes south)--a pub on the square & the old Farmers' Hall Restaurant that are passable. There are a few B&B's in the region that have decent food but nothing outstanding. Anderson is growing but, except for Skin Thrasher's for hot dogs, there is nothing truly remarkable there unless you like chains.
        On the plus side, Atlanta & Asheville are about equidistant & relatively easy drives. Greenville has some promise on occasion & for a weekend head up to Table Rock for the buffet at the state park.
        Become very good at pairing meals w/ blue cheese b/c the university makes some of the best domestic blue cheese around. It is excellent & if you work it right you can make arrangements to ship blue cheese in exchange for other delicacies.

        1. re: Lan4Dawg

          I had to hold my tongue. Blue cheese is truly Clemson's redeeming factor from a culinary perspective (and one of the few that I will admit to generally). I still stand by my comments on the grocer.

          1. re: YourpalWill

            Hush your mouth... the peach icecream is the best in the world.

        2. re: YourPalWill

          Funny...i was going to say the same thing, but I've been thinking lately that I come across as very negative (bordering on bitter) on this board *grin*

          I do believe there is a Dean and DeLuca in D.C.

          Also, Asheville is worth the drive.

          1. re: danna

            There are a number of Dean and DeLuca stores in Charlotte, NC which is a lot closer than DC.

            1. re: Paul H

              very good point. And in defense of the region, Greenville does have some very passable restaurants. It's only 40 minutes away.

              I spent two years in Greenville a while back and found that there were some decent options there. There was a nice gourmet grocery on Augusta Road which went out of business due to lack of interest. I made friends with the owner of the Italian Market north of the city who would special order wines by the case for me.

              I always enjoyed the Cafe Europa on Main Street as well as Soby's for casual to upscale dining.

              1. re: YourPalWill

                Actually, Earth Fare, the Asheville-based organic grocery moved into the space on Augusta Road where that other market vacated. It's a lot better than the other place was, IMO.

            2. re: YourPalWill

              CLemson is a touch dry in the culinary world but has charm. Athens is only an hour and a half away though so come down to the Five and Ten!

              1. re: Hugh Acheson

                well hello Hugh! It is good to see you here & congrats to both the restaurant and to you on all the great press.
                We try to hit Five and Ten every time we get to the Classic City and have an opportunity. I am addicted to the cauliflower soup.
                If you ever feel like "slumming" on game day swing by the tailgate for at least a cocktail & to say hello.

            3. This is not giving me a good feeling...but at least I'm laughing. :)

              Goat cheese sounds good, but I don't think I can live off of it!

              1. For burgers and general grease fix, The Beacon in Spartanburg - anything ordered "A-Plenty" will be heaped up with fries and onion rings. Look at the servings before ordering to get an idea of how far you or your cholesterol level will want to go.

                For good open-faced sandwiches, there is a diner called the Twin Palmettos in Inman, just NW of Spartanburg off US 176. Nothing fancy, but big portions - 2 thick slices of bread (one on top of the other in what seems to be a southern tradition) with lots of meat and gravy heaped on top, plus lots of fries, cooked very well. It tends to get crowded at lunch time. They have a large and varied lunch menu, but I've never gotten past the open-faced beef.

                Anderson has some fairly good restaurants, including at least one good bbq place. Do a Google search for some ideas.

                For the rest, do a search in this list back aways and you will find plenty of info on Greenville, Spartanburg, and the general area. It isn't such a wasteland, especially Greenville (which has a fair number of foreign personnel due to the German and Japanese manufacturing plants nearby), as some would have you believe. Although I've never eaten bbq in the Greenville area, I have it on good authority that there is decent bbq there.

                If you are driven to head toward Asheville, avoid Green River Barbecue in Saluda and The BBQ Shack in Etowah. Their minced bbq is very dried out and tastes much like sawdust, and their mild sauce tastes like KC Masterpiece or Bullseye. My 13-year old says that the spicy sauce is not too bad, but it was too hot for me. Of the two, Green River is at least a true bbq place, but the Bbq Shack seems to be mainly a steakhouse.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Sandy

                  We're flying into Greenville this weekend to look for a house, so maybe we'll have to do The Beacon for lunch. I read about it in Southern Belly too.

                  1. re: CalfFries

                    The Beacon is my favourite! The are not open on Sundays, unless something has changed recently. Happy Plenty... and don't forget... walk and talk!

                    1. re: loretta

                      know your order before you get to the line... it's a cultural event

                2. Highlands, NC is about 45 miles NW of Clem(p)son and has dining, shopping, water falls and nice scenery. Take US 76 west to Seneca, then 28 north, through Walhalla. The road gets a little twisty between Walhalla and Highlands. When you finish in Highlands head east on US 64 to Cashiers. If your top is down or your windows are open you will detect a pretty good BBQ place on your right just before you reach SR 107. Take 107 south back to 28.

                  Link: http://www.highlands-chamber.com/upto...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bob

                    Think that the BBQ place you knew in 2003 has closed.

                  2. Try the Rainbow in Greenville, on Poinsett Highway near Furman University..chili cheeseburgers, onion rings, and the peanutbutter chocolate milkshake....wonderful! And the folks that run it are great, too.

                    1. Try Pixie & Bill's in Clemson (there is no "P" in Clemson). It's been a while since I was there but the food was excellent.
                      Also, Greenville has a lot of good places from barbecue (Henry's Smokehouse) to upscale restaurants; no need to go to Asheville as they certainly have nothing over Greenville and Atlanta should only be a rare necessity.

                      1. Ok. just moved here (Cary, NC) from that area. Your short list should include:

                        Irishai Sushi Pub - Greenville - my favorite
                        Addy's Dutch Cafe - great little european bar & rest. downtown greenville - tell Addy I said Hi!
                        Soby's does a good job - right downtown
                        Chophouse 47 on 85 & Pelham for steaks & chops.
                        City Range Grill - heywood rd. near the mall
                        the Lemon Grass - also downtown for great Thai Curry
                        Latitude - in the west end, on main st.
                        Rene's Steakhouse downtown next to the Peace Center (where you'll find great concerts!). For Italian,you may want to try Vercite' in the Hilton - (there's also a really good little italian hideaway just off of Antrim Dr - not Vince Perrones' but a small intimate place - just cant remember the name), and the Stax Omega for breakfast near the Hilton on Peach Orchard Dr. There's a nice little bar on a sidestreet off of Augusta Rd. called "Cheers" - they have a great inexpensive steak and be sure to ask for Lynn.

                        Hope this helps - there are some really nice places in Greenville - you just have to find them. I think any of these listed are really good.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Bill Boyd

                          The great Italian restaurant is Pepino's. Two other great REAL Italian restaurants are Bergamo's and Giorgio's, both located in downtown Greenville. Both Owners are from the town Bergamo in Italy and are very precise about their food and to be honest me as a restaurant owner and from Europe and been many times in Italy they guys are as closed as Italian food as you can get and use only the REAL ingrediants.

                        2. Welcome to the Upstate! I've lived in Greenville for 10 years (originally from Orangeburg, SC -- be sure to stop by Duke's BBQ [next to the Fire Station just off US 601] on your next trip to Charleston!) and will share some of my favorite eating spots here in town:

                          Vietnamese: Pho '99 on Wade Hapton Blvd (near Bob Jones U) for great Vietnamese noodle soup - I eat there at least once a week. Great food, great prices, waitresses who speak no English! I like to take ppl there just to see the looks in their faces when I tell 'em they have to eat soup w/ chopsticks (LOL)... Saigon Market is next door, for your oriental food needs.

                          Thai: Lemongrass downtown is OK, but a bit pricey. They got a new chef some yeas ago and I don't go there much anymore -- it's been awhile tho, maybe I should give 'em another try

                          Bankok Thai (on Pelham near I- 85): great food, reasonable prices, friendly staff. Be sure and order the fresh rolls - Yum!

                          Thaicoon: horrible name, wonderful food! Located on East North St. about 2 miles from Haywood Mall. Best Thai food in town, hands down. Try the fish - it's great!

                          Thai Taste (also in Spartanburg): Pelham rd. just down from E. North St. Good food, resonable prices. Try the Pad Kee Meow...

                          Sushi: I tend to eat sushi at Tsunami's (formerly Hiro Sushi) downtown, but there are a lot of sushi resturants here - there is one just off Wade Hampton behind the K-Mart that is supposedly excellent, but I've never been there. Mimi's Japanses Steak House off Woodruff Rd. has good sushi. Try 'em all...

                          Indian: India Palace at Laurens Rd and Pleasantburg Dr. has good Indian food. For an experience, try "Swad" off Laurens Rd. Combination resturant and food store, it's run by a loquacious little Hindu and his totaly non-English speaking wife. I like that you come in and oder the special, having no idea what it is (unless you can read or speak Hindi) and always get a good meal. Good vegetarian fare.

                          Soby's downtown is excellent "new south" cusine, i.e. local ingrediants w/ French techniques. I've never had a bad anything at Sobys, or even a mediocre anything. My all-around favorite resturant. The same folks recently opened "Resturant O" across the street that a co- worker spoke very highly of.

                          While you're downtown, don't miss Barley's Pizzaria and Taproom, just off Main street. Great pizza and calzones, plus 26-odd beers on tap (Brutal Bitter - Yum!). (Why do hippies make the best pizza??)

                          Henry's Smokehouse on Wade Hampton has great chopped BBQ - cooked over wood on-site, smokey, tender, juicy and sauce on the side. I don't care for their ribs, tho -- good flavor but a bit too tough and not "falling off the bone" tender. I can't remember the name of it but there is a BBQ place in Powdersville (in between Clemson & G'ville) that has excellent BBQ and ribs as well -- worth seeking out, as I recall (haven't been there in a while).

                          For late-night or breakfast-anytime, Stax' Omega behind on Orchard Park Rd. near Haywood mall can't be beat. Awesome breakfasts (try the Charleston Benedict -- eggs benedict w/jalapeno-shrimp cream sauce)

                          I don't eat much Chinese (addicted to Thai) but when I do The Happy China (in Verdai Marketplace off Laurens Rd.) is where I go -- for the Orange Peel chicken, extra spicy. The Dragon's Den (several locations) are pretty good as well. For lunch buffett and good cheap chinese, Joy Food at Perlan and E North is good as well.

                          For upscale food, try The Fresh Market, a small chain of upscale markets. Excellent produce and a full-service meat counter. Located at the corner of Pleasantbug Dr. and E. North st. next to the Bi-Lo. There also lots of specialty markets (Asian, Indian, etc.) around.

                          Again, welcome, and I hope this is of use to you...

                          1. It's been a while since I set foot on the old campus. When to folks came to visit we would end up at Clemson Corners (memory serves) for dinner. It is a nice small restaurant with good food (it has a small problem burning down, so I'm not sure it is still there). For lunch/sandwiches, you gotta go to the Pot Belly Deli. As for BBQ, I'm fairly picky, and none of them really did it for me. In a pinch, Three Pigs.

                            The town has really grown up in the past few years, give it a try and be sure to stick around for game day, it is an experience.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: c.u.shoeless

                              I think you are referring to Calhoun Corners as well as Pixie and Bill's - also try Liberty Hall Inn... fav!

                            2. The Blue Herron in Clemson is all around good food! Their Sushi is very good and reasonable. Have been disapointed a couple of times, but generally have had excellent food there. Chef's Special in Easley has excellent Thai food, and Greenville has some excellent restaurants. Brick Street Cafe in Greenville has outstanding fried oysters, and just about anything there is great! In Pendleton, DO NOT miss the Village Baker on the square! In Highlands we love Paoletti's and Cyprus! (They are definately worth the drive!!!) We don't "do" chain restaurants as a rule, but there are a few around that aren't bad. I just prefer to support local business. Hope this helps.

                              1. Okay if you are looking for some really good food. Try Grits and Groceries. It is in Belton, SC. Maybe a 30minute drive from Clemson. Everything is made from scratch even the ice cream. If you do go besure you order off the specials of the day menu. If you go on the weekend expect a bit of a wait. gritsandgroceries.com

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: nsagr

                                  You really should point out that this place is only open for b'fast and lunch, Tuesday - Saturday.

                                2. if you haven't moved yet you'll soon find out how far of a drive it can be to greenville or spartanburg and various other towns just for dinner. I'm a newby myself and here's what i've found in a year:
                                  peasano's in Seneca (9miles) for italian -not the best, but the best in a 30 mile radius
                                  athens restaraunt in Seneca- greek/italian combo
                                  rudy's on ramcat downtown seneca- fancy atmospher food ok
                                  calhoun corners in Clemson
                                  blue herron in clemson- a personal favorite mostly for the combo of great sushi and
                                  steaks along with unique sides
                                  the spot in Seneca on ramcat alley has great bar food and burgers
                                  Big johns in Seneca has excellent sandwiches and appetizers that are out of the norm
                                  pot belly deli in clemson gets great reviews but i wasn't real impressed
                                  there is a decent homemade pasta place downtown by school as well as another sushi bar that is decent. As for mexican places, i cannot advise due to the fact that nothing compares to el torrero's back home. Ranbow Garden in between clemson and seneca has good takeout asian. You will probably be dissapointed in what there is to offer, I know i miss my fine dinning restaraunts back home, but you soon learn to appreaciate what is available in the area. Best of luck to you, hope i was of help.

                                  1. OK - I'm orginally from Leesburg, VA, but split my time in Charleston (great food locale) and Pendleton... check out the Blue Heron (our fav in Clemson), Just More BBQ in Pendleton is a local favourite as well as the Sandwich Shoppe on the Square. Pot Belly Deli is great. Sullivan's in Anderson has been featured in Southern Living and Sullivan's Cafe is great. I'm hearing good things about Halfway to Havana in Anderson and look forward to checking it out this week. Welcome to Tigertown! BTW... MAC's is an institution and Columbo's is slow but the cheeseburger pizza rocks (to go). There are lots of farmers markets... check out Kathy's Produce on 76 and a farmers market (orangic Clemson Farmers Market on-campus on Wednesdays as well as a farmers' markert on the town square in Pendleton on Saturdays from 9-1) near the old stone church. Ethic grocery stores... yeah... you'll need to go to Greenville for that or learn to order stuff online. Other farmers markest include the Jockey Lot (google it- it's a cultural experience and always has fresh produce) Trust me... Tigertown is great - you'll love it... I do - be there Friday!

                                    1. Greenville has some pretty good food and a Whole Foods right on Woodruff Rd (exit off 85) and across from that is Total Wines for wine. My favorites in Greenville are American Grocery (very expensive but FAB food!), Lazy Goat (tappas and GREAT view), Sobys, High Cotton, Liberty Tap (for wide variety and casual), LemonGrass.
                                      As to closer to Clemson/Seneca, there are some decent places (nothing GREAT) that for most part were mentioned..Blue Herron, the Coronotzes restaurants (Calhoun Corners probably the best, Rudy's, Pixie and Bills). Also Friends cafe doesn't look like much but we had lunch there and meditaranean food (kabobs, etc.) was pretty good, it was reasonable and the owner was very attentive.
                                      Big Johns is good casual food for a whole in the wall but you have to put up with SMOKE. It is slowly getting better..