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Greenville SC family recs, por favor?

lynnlato Nov 11, 2007 04:38 PM

Hey, we're off on another family soccer tournament wknd.... this stop: Greenville SC. The families we travel w/ are notoriously crappy eaters. Papa Johns, Dominoes (shudder), etc. I like to explore the local eats when we are out and about. So chowhounders, tell me, what is a great place that will accomodate kids but still have interesting food in a casual atmosphere and offer up adult beverages???? We're staying at the Greenville Courtyard Marriott on 1 Parkway East. Also, if you could recommend some good locally owned places that offer takeout that would be great too. It could be anything, pizza, thai, chinese, deli, etc. But I'd really like to sample a local favorite. Thanks y'all!

  1. danna Nov 12, 2007 05:49 AM

    Sounds like the families you travel with will love Greenville.

    From the Marriott, you are close to Doc Chey's. It's part of a pan Asian regional chain that is very good in Asheville, not nearly as good in Greenville. Still, it's one of Greenville's better choices. They have beer and wine. Next door is Whole Foods, which has G'ville's best pizza. I would definitely get my takeout from WF, either pizza or hot bar/salad bar stuff.

    Other than WF, downtown has Barley's, the 2nd best pizza, IMO. I'm not sure what the situation is on children in there. I assume it's OK, you might call. They have pool tables upstairs.

    I'm not aware of anything locally owned and decent near the Mariott. Are you interested in hearing more about downtown?

    8 Replies
    1. re: danna
      lynnlato Nov 12, 2007 11:24 AM

      Wow, I'm pleasantly surprised by the WF... yeah! Great suggestion. Yes, please give me the low down on downtown. It's my 1st time to Grnville and I've heard it's a great town. Oh, and thanks so much for your help!

      (side note: saw your post on Bogle Phantom... did you try it yet and if so, your thoughts? I bought 6 btls at The Fresh Market b/f ever tasting it b/c of the ravings on CH and when I tried it I wasn't overly impressed. BUT I didn't decant for 2 hrs)

      1. re: lynnlato
        Suzy Q Nov 12, 2007 01:08 PM

        If you're in the mood for BBQ, there are two places in Greenville that I would say are kid-friendly and not too bad: Sticky Fingers, which is at Woodruff Road and I-85, and Mutt's. Can't remember the Mutt's address - I left Greenville several years ago. Also, if you're interested in going downtown, check out the Wild Wing Cafe - it's got a wide variety of food (wings, sandwiches, salads, burgers, etc.) and is definitely kid-friendly.

        Good luck with the soccer tourney!

        1. re: lynnlato
          danna Nov 13, 2007 03:57 AM

          Phantom: no, still waiting for a friend to come share it..and some time when we have 2 hours to decant. My wine store (WF) chick said the 2 hours made ALL the difference. That's mainly why I bought it...I'm fascinated to taste and then see if it changes.

          Anyhow, downtown Greenville is really worth the stop if you have time. The new suspension bridge and the park surrounding it is fantastic. Downtown has a good number of mildly interesting shops now, and it's just generally attractive with the river, waterfall, etc. Now, unfortuantely, the food is not great, especially the "fancy" places. Since you want casual, though, you could try Island Blend...it's Jamaican and pretty tasty (slightly greasy, but not bad). Tsunami is very casual sushi, but good quality fish usually, if your kids eat that. Coffee Underground has adult bevs, but also just some basic wraps and salads and a coffee shop atmosphere (duh). I personally like Chicora Alley (caribbean-ish) in the Westend...but my husband thinks I'm insane, so not a strong rec there. Finally , Spill the beans is one of those "swirl your own flavors" ice cream and yogurt joints underneath Chicora Alley and right across from the bridge. Fun for kids (and me) AFAIK, it's not a chain. Again, Barleys is an idea.

          I hate to disagree w/ Suzy, but I think Sticky Fingers is as bad as a chain needs to be, and Wild Wings I have never eaten at, because I don't like wings, but it's the place the radio stations around here have their drunken after sports parties, so I'm not sure if that's how a kid-friendly place is defined or not. (not that Barley's is not home to a few drunken parties, of course) Also, avoid Smoke on the Water. Out of towners always seem to wind up there, but it's awful.

          Downtown: From your hotel, take 85 South. Take the next exit , 385 toward downtown. You'll be on that a 3-ish miles. You COULD turn left on Main street and just enjoy looking around as you sit in traffic all the way down to the river and attempt to park on the street, which could be hard or easy depending on the day. Or from 385 turn left on Church, right on Coffee, left on Spring, and then go a few blocks to where you see the "Free Nights and Weekends" parking garage. Go out the back of the garage and you'll find sidewalks down tot he bridge. Cross the bridge and you're on Main Street. All the downtown restaurants I mentioned are either on or less than a block off Main.

          1. re: danna
            b
            buckeye.mary Nov 13, 2007 08:28 AM

            My husband & I really like Chicora Alley too. We love the nachos (topped with loads of stuff including funky fruit salsas) and I personally love the shrimp & goat cheese tacos.

            When I went to Barley's recently, it was crawling with families with kids. So it seems like the whole gang would enjoy it there.

            1. re: danna
              Suzy Q Nov 13, 2007 06:26 PM

              danna, as long as you're not taking your kids there at 11 o'clock at night, I've never had a problem at Wild Wing, especially eating downstairs. But then I generally don't take kids out late at night anyway.

              Why don't you like Sticky Fingers? It's serviceable food. Not gourmet, but I'd say it meets the kid-friendly with adult bevs criteria.

              1. re: Suzy Q
                lynnlato Nov 14, 2007 03:34 AM

                Although it's certainly a good recommendation given my criteria, I have to admit I'm not a big fan of Sticky Fingers either. I generally try and avoid any chain establishment. It seems like everytime a place goes corporate they tend to ruin what was special about the place b/f the money-makers got involved. I really make a concerted effort to go to privately owned places (not franchises)... particularly when visiting a city I've never been to. That way I get to know the town better... it's more intimate.

                That said, my husband has a Sticky Fingers across the st. from his office and he says it's a decent place. I really appreciate all the suggestions!

                1. re: Suzy Q
                  danna Nov 14, 2007 05:38 AM

                  Well, I'm sure you're right about the kid-friendly and the bevs, I just don't think much of the food. It's a chain w/ so-so ribs. It smells good, though, walking by.

                  BTW, Pita House is a local favorite, but not on the beaten track and no bevs, either.

                  If you go to Barley's, I LOVE the Brown Bear Ale.

                2. re: danna
                  l
                  Lan4Dawg Nov 19, 2007 03:10 PM

                  I will second the suggestion to avoid Smoke on the Water. We made the mistake of hitting the place b/c it was the only thing we could find open. (I think it was a Sunday). The a/c was not working properly so they propped the doors open which just let the little bit of cool air out and the very hot air in. Some how or another that meant the cooler that had most of their beers was not working. Instead of putting beers on ice they had the waiters walk back and forth to the bar asking if brand "X" was cold or not. Finally I just told him to bring some thing to me as I was tired of the parade.
                  He raved about the beer can chicken but I found it very bland and the sides were standard issue PYA/Monarch/Aramark/US Foodservice/pick your supplier fare. I tend to be picky but the rest of our crowd was not very happy w/ their food either and w/ all of the problems one would think an apology or recognition of the issues would be made but we got the "ho hum.....the a/c is not working, the beers are not cold, the service is horrible, oh well.....another typical day at this restaurant....." attitude.
                  My suggestion is to grab some thing at WF or similar and take it down to the park to enjoy. Let the kids play in the river and enjoy the day--hopefully it will not be too cold to do so. We also like Barley's just b/c they have a gazillion beers on tap and it is kind of a dive (which does appeal to us).
                  Sorry as I just realized I am so late posting to be of any benefit.

            2. c
              crazyboutdogs Nov 13, 2007 05:00 AM

              Liberty Taproom and Grill near West End Field on South Main, Blue Ridge Brewing Company on Main St. As far as kid friendly, we take our 5 year old girl and 3 year old boy pretty much everywhere and I can't think of a single time the restaurants didn't accomodate us. Greenville, I am proud to say, is a very friendly town. We have a TON of restaurants. Have fun.

              2 Replies
              1. re: crazyboutdogs
                lynnlato Nov 13, 2007 11:09 AM

                Thanks everyone! I can't wait to explore. I'll report back on how we made out. Thanks again.

                1. re: lynnlato
                  p
                  pak1789 Nov 18, 2007 03:12 AM

                  I don't know if it's too late for your trip, but here are a few local suggestions that are very close to your hotel.

                  Since this other family likes pizza, you could try Bertolo's, which some say is Greenville's best pizza. From the Courtyard hotel, turn right on the Parkway, then turn right on Pelham Road. Bertolo's is in the same shopping plaza as the Bi-Lo supermarket just down the road. The place doesn't look like much, but they do serve some good pizza.

                  The Acropolis is in the Earth Fare shopping plaza, which is opposite the Bi-Lo plaza. Good Greek and Italian food. They have mini pizzas for the less adventurous eaters. I believe they serve alcoholic beverages too.

                  Stax' is another Greenville institution. They serve breakfast all day but serve other dishes too. Their menu is quite extensive and there is truly something for everyone. It's located off of Pelham Road, nestled among chain restaurants such as Macaroni Grill, Joe's Crab Shack, and On the Border. The entrance to this "restaurant row" is just before the Earth Fare plaza.

                  And of course, you can get some healthful takeout options at the Earth Fare, and there are even tables if you want to eat inside.

                  Hope this helps.

              2. lynnlato Nov 19, 2007 07:52 AM

                Hey All-
                Back from out wknd in G'ville SC. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL TOWN! My husband and I agreed we will be returning soon sans the kids to stay @ the Westin downtown and to enjoy the many upscale restaurants and boutiques.

                Danna, you are my hero. After a full day of soccer on Sat., we did not feel like venturing out far in search of restaurants and pizza was not an option for us. So we, along w/ two other families, headed over to Whole Foods and hit the food jackpot! Man, options abound there! We loaded up on cheeses, soups, hot bar stuff, steamed shrimp, wine... you name it.

                Sunday, we had an early morning game and then headed downtown where we fell in love w/ the park and bridge and main st. Unfortunately, many of the restaurants were closed. We tried Wild Wings just b/c we were growing tired of walking. They had a long wait downstairs and upstairs there was a horrid smell. The mgr. informed us that they had just cleaned their grease traps and that was the reason for the smell. They were burning candles in an attempt to mask the odor and it only made it worse. We left and headed over to Sticky Fingers. Their, again, we had issues. It took three attempts w/ our kids drinks before they got it right (here, there soda lines were crossed). The service was very friendly but snail's pace sloooowwww.

                All in all, though, it was a very pleasant trip. Your directions to the parking garage were spot on and we're so grateful.

                p.s. The girl's team took 2nd place... championship game was 0-0 after double overtime so we went into penalty kicks. Lost 3-2. Great soccer!

                1 Reply
                1. re: lynnlato
                  danna Nov 19, 2007 11:50 AM

                  YEA!!! I'm so glad things went well, and Congrats on the soccer successes!

                  Whole Foods has been a the best thing that ever happened me. I went to a party Saturday night where most of the food was bought from WF, cheeses, olives, sweet peppers, wine, and $50 worth of Calebaut chocolate (that the hostess managed to scortch and/or curdle trying to make fondue.) I'll probably have dinner there tonight!

                  Glad you liked G'ville, come back soon.

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