One night in Columbia
HI I will be in Columbia one night (Ft Jackson area) and would like to go somewhere local and good. We will have children with us so something fancy is out of the question. I would appreciate any suggestions for a place that is both unique to Columbia and has creative food.
Columbia isn't that big, so don't be dissuaded from heading downtown or elsewhere. Keeping in mind that you are looking for casual and kid friendly, here are some suggestions:
Cock N' Bull - http://cnbpub.net/ - great burgers, including a delicious shrimp burger.
Hunter Gatherer - http://huntergathererbrewery.com/ - surprisingly good food, house-brewed beer.
I agree that Little Pigs - http://www.littlepigs.biz/ - is a good choice for bbq.
Another decent bbq place in the area is Doc's - http://www.docsbarbeque.com/. (For the BBQ places, check to make sure they're open on the night you are planning on dining. I don't think either place is open every night.) While we're talking BBQ, you may want to check on FB or twitter to see if the Bone-In Artisan BBQ Truck will be out and about during your visit -- very delicious and interesting and local -- http://twitter.com/artisanbbqtruck/ .
Baan Sawan - http://baansawan.blogspot.com/ - interesting Thai, with an exceedingly well-curated beverage list. Make sure you hear the specials -- I was there recently and they were offering bison short ribs in northern green curry sauce, as well as antelope (!) in red curry.
As someone already mentioned, Fort Jackson is really big, so "Fort Jackson area" isn't specific enough. Right outside the one of the gates on Percival Road there is Decker Bvld which has a large number of ethnic restaurants including several very good Korean restaurants.
If you stay on Decker away from Ft Jackson, you'll come to Two Notch Road (also US 1) right across from Columbia mall.
There are restaurants surrounding the mall. Some are local.
If you make a right onto Two Notch, you'll be heading towards NorthEast Columbia.
There are a bunch of suburban restaurants in strip malls out this way.
There are several local restaurants in a strip mall behind a doughnut shop to your left (I think it's Dunkin but it might be Mr Donut) including an Indian restaurant and a Puerto Rican restaurant. There was a pretty decent Italian place also but I'm not sure it's still there.
I go to Columbia because I have family there.
We always eat Korean because it's the best we've had without going to NY or CA.
Not much else to recommend in Columbia compared to other places.
Ft. Jackson area is a bit of a mixed bag, and can very since it's expansive and stretches into a few areas. Here's a few that may be near one of the places you are staying:
For the Typical Ft. Jackson area people refer to:
The Diner: http://www.facebook.com/TheDinerColumbiaSC
They are quite new, serve Southern fare with a few twists here and there. They have a nice lemon berry marscapone cake and have a good brunch if you are there on a Sunday, which includes Chicken and Waffles.
Julia's German Stammitsch: http://julias.vpweb.com/ (warning, music ahead.
)A little pricey during dinner, but right next to The Diner in a U-shaped strip mall with a bakery on the side, Julia's a small, but good German place with GIANT schnitzel and also great baked goods when Julia's got something in the back. Can get very busy in the evening since it is small, may be a wait.
For the Forest Acres Area which also has a Ft Jackson Entrance:
Little Pigs: http://www.littlepigs.biz/
This is a bit of a drive down the street, but searchable, especially with GPS. For my money, favorite South Carolina barbecue buffet in the Columbia area. Tasty mustard barbecue and good sides. It's in a slightly out there area, but doable.
If you are willing to go more into the downtown/USC campus area, many more options including:
Mr Friendly's: Arguably best Southern sit down in Columbia. Uses plenty of local produce. Pricey though, and more elegant.
Yesterday's: Nearby Mr Friendly's, possibly more kid-friendly and some decent bites including the meatloaf and chicken fried chicken.
Mojitos Tropical Cafe: In the Vista area, near downtown. Cuban/Latin fare.
Columbia's food scene has been getting better, but it's perhaps not as family friendly at the moment.
Welcome to Chowhound! There aren't a lot of active posters for Columbia, so I thought I'd pass on this previous post that may be of interest to you:
It contains several recent suggestions for Columbia. You can access all previous posts by typing "Columbia" into the search box at the top right hand corner of the page.