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Athens, GA and Columbia, SC

Hey. My family and I are going to be spending a few of days in Columbia SC and Athens GA. Can anyone help with food suggestions, Price is unimportant. Dives, upscale, food trucks, ethnic... it all sounds great as long as the food warrants the visit. All meals.

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  1. Do a search and you will find several threads on both cities with suggestions. In Athens, I like Farm 255, Mama's Boy, Weaver D's (if its still open; there are rumors of its imminent demise), The National, Five and Ten and Butt Hutt to name a few.

    6 Replies
    1. re: carolinadawg

      Thanks Carolinadawg. I had done a search on Athens and all I found was a post on BBQ and one from 2010. I get plenty of good BBQ here in NC and things may have changed since 2010, so i thought I would ask. I have only been to 5 and 10. I will check out the others you suggest. I appreciate the suggestions.

      1. re: Rufus Dog

        The CH search feature defaults to the last 12 months, but you can afjust the search dates to pick up slightly older threads. I could have sworn there were more recent ones, but you are right, there are only a couple of threads in the past year. Here are a few slightly older threads that will be of help:


        Another good source of info is a weekly independent newspaper, Flagpole:


      2. re: carolinadawg

        Butt Hutt closed.

        Went to the Branded Butcher the other week and liked their charcuterie options.

        1. re: Dax

          Butt Hutt relocated to Macon Highway about a year ago...are you saying that location has closed?

          1. re: carolinadawg

            I was not aware of Butt Hutt moving. I think the two owners actually split up with one moving the Hutt to Macon Hwy and the other opening under a new name at the old Butt Hutt location on Baxter but I could be wrong. I also thought that I heard that bbq place on Baxter recently closed but again, I could be mistaken in my old age.

            1. re: Dax

              Just to clarify for the sake of anyone who Googles through...

              At the time of writing, Butt Hutt has two locations, one on Macon Rd in Athens, and one in Elberton. Their former location on Baxter was briefly the home of a different BBQ joint that did not last.

      3. I worked in Cloumbia for a few months. I enjoyed Mr. Friendly's. I wish it had a different name, lol! But the food and service were great, and I went once a week for 3 months.

        1. For Columbia, SC:

          For breakfast, Cafe Strudel is a nice location on State St. which offers a decent breakfast including some tasty hangover hashbrowns. Drip has become a local staple too for their french pressed coffee and baked goods. Crepes and Croissants in downtown offers just that and is an option for lunch as well.

          Lunch-wise, if Bone-In Artisan Barbecue is out about town, they are top food truck in Columbia and have some good creations including a chicken and waffle club, tasty bone chips (chips covered in hoisin sriracha barbecue and pimento cheese with peppers and other things) and a great mac and cheese when it's offered. In the Vista, there's Menkoi, a ramen house that hits the spot on a cold day. If you like spicy, their spicy ramen bowl is pretty tasty. Next door is also Mojitos, a Cuban joint that's worth diving into as well. The Gourmet Shop in the Five Points area offers some nice cafe food in a lovely storefront with outdoor seating if you are looking to be outside. If you are a bit out of the ways going towards the shopping area known as Harbison, there's a dive called Delhi Palace that serves up good Indian food.

          For dinner, Hunter Gatherer is the people's regular goto. The only local brewery, with pretty tasty food. Black bean dip is a staple. Cellar on Greene (slightly tricky to find, located on the side of an inn in Five Points) has a fantastic three course deal for 19 a person and is well worth a dinner. Motor Supply Bistro with their upscale American flair is another fine choice, tucked away in the Vista. Terra sources mostly local ingredients for their food and is also a great option (check their website for rotating menus). For some amazing schnitzel, you can dig around near the new Whole Foods for Julia's German Stammistch. She's been open for years and years and years and has terrific deserts if you can somehow manage after the giant dinner.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ForagingFoodie

            COMPLETELY agree with ForagingFoodie's reviews. Bone-In Artisan BBQ is great, as is Motor Supply. I've not been yet, but I've heard great things about Oak Table. It's successful in Charleston and they've just recently opened one here in Columbia. Thirsty Fellow is another go-to for me, especially if I'm up for a casual night of pizza and beer. I've heard good things about The Kraken gastropub on Rosewood, but haven't been there yet either. Columbia isn't the best, but we're getting better and better!

            1. re: ForagingFoodie

              Great advice, all solid from you and sethacke and Gheph.

              Second on Kraken - a little harder to get into the parking lot, but Joe Turkley and Alan have a winner there. Huge turnout on Friday/Sat. nights so we go M,Tues, Wed. Or go as early as you can (^ is not too early).

              Love Julia's potato pancakes of my dreams. Don't bother with Huller's. They moved location off I-26 but food is so m
              mediocre. thank god for the beer.
              Anybody get up to Ellie's in Prosperity lately?


            2. Haven't been to Columbia in a long time, but remembered seeing some restaurant reports on Carolina Epicurean. They might help. Here's the link ~ http://carolinaepicurean.com/category...

              1. When i was a seminary student in columbia in the late 80's; we used to hit Lizard's Thicket at least once a week... good southern combos; first time i had fried chicken on a green salad. could get a main with sides for reasonable prices; many locations

                1. Terra (just over the bridge in W. Columbia) is also terrific. If you're out on the northeast side of town (or willing to be), Solstice is fantastic. I love Hunter-Gatherer, too, but I learned in my last visit a few weeks ago that the inspired menu was created by the chef who left there for Kraken Gastropub; the execution on that menu, now that he's gone, was a bit of a letdown. Beer's still great, though!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Gheph

                    Oh, that explains Kraken so much now! I was wondering about that, their food reminded me very much of Hunter Gatherer. I had their poutine and the shrimp and grits, quite tasty.

                  2. what part of Columbia will you be in most times? Driving? Familiar w/town or with someone who is?

                    Check out www.Free-Times.com. click on Dining and then on Bites. Its a guide to restaurants and neighborhoods around town.

                    I'm dedicated to old-fashioned breakfast at Compton's Kitchen across the river in West Columbia or Crust Bakery just opened (weekdays only) in Rosewood.

                    Or a messy, fabulous chili-cheeseburger at Mac's across from the fire station near downtown.
                    Or the sandwiches @ NoName Deli on Elmwood.

                    Or BBQ @Palmetto Pig.
                    Or fried chicken @ Docs on SHop Road.
                    Or a fine dining/white tablecloth, Northern Italian major dinner @ Ristorante Divino (Fulvio Vecchio is a wonderful chef.
                    Or amazing Thai @ Baan Sawan on Devine near 5 pts.
                    Or free-form Korean @ Blue Cactus on Greene St. also near 5 Pts.
                    Or home-style Korean @ O-Bok on Decker Blvd.
                    Or anything Korean, Malaysian, Mexican anywhere along Decker Blvd. (the Buford Hwy of Columbia).

                    anyway - where yall gonna be?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kariin

                      Wow: This all sounds awesome. We will be in the Vista i think. where ever the Hilton is. We have a car and are planning on driving around. We may be moving to either Athens or Columbia and this trip is one for exploring, Cannot thank enough for the help.

                    2. I just want to say the Cola love in this thread is very nice. It used to be tough times in town, but there's a lot of love and growth going on here for sure.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ForagingFoodie

                        I totally agree, FF! I think we in Columbia are having a hard time getting over our inferiority complex, only some of which is self-inflicted. My brother visited from NYC last week and he does not gush about food. We had a very nice lunch at Blue Marlin (his friend had never been to SC before so we wanted something kind of indigenous), then dinner that night at The Oak Table. They spent 3 days in Charleston visiting another brother and hit several high spots - Cypress, Hall's Chop House, Husk. Our meal at The Oak Table was the highlight of their trip. On previous visits he's also been very impressed with Rosso, Terra, Mr. Friendly's and Mojito's. We'll never be Charleston (and what town could?) but Columbia has a lot to offer in all price ranges. The Monday night burger and a beer special with live music at Tombo is as good as it gets.

                      2. Hite's BBQ in West Columbia is pretty good.

                        1. If I had one meal in Columbia it would be at Terra...make a reservation..request Donna as your server..let the valet park your car..enjoy..

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Cpt Wafer

                            Thank you all! Columbia was great. Terra was a hit. Service and food and setting all worked well. Quail were delicious. Flounder was perfect. Someone had tge Lam-Mac, something I never would have ordered, but wish I had, brilliant. Oak Table was great. Perfectly cooked flounder. Bone marrow was a treat that I have noticed popping up on menus recently. The Frisbee salad was fantastic. The smoked panna cotta with honey was inspired. Cafe Strudel was fine, not great. The signature has browns were fine, not great. Crispiness would have moved them into the stellar category. Thanks to all. We are headed to Charleston now. Any suggestions for Sunday lunch?

                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                At the last minute our plans changed and we did not end up going to Athens, just Columbia and Charleston. I hope to get down there soon and will report in afterward. Thanks for all your great help!

                          2. For a great lunch we go to DiPratos-a deli at 342 Pickens Street in Columbia. Phillys, poboys, all kinds of deli sandwiches and salads. Huge portions and also great homemade pita chips and yummy pimiento cheese dip. Desserts look spectacular but never made it that far yet!