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Greenville SC to Charleston with perhaps stop at Columbia? Looking for eats along the way

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Taking a drive on a Sunday after a wedding in Greenville south to Charleston. I see Columbia is along the way.

We plan to leave late morning, so will have likely had breakfast in Greenville at the Westing (unless CH's have a Sunday breakfast spot that is yummy and scenic?)

So it looks like a 3 hour drive - and we are planning our day now - so taking the I26 into Charleston - are there MUST EAT stops we have to consider?

We are going to Charleston and staying with friends for a few days - is there any SPECIAL foodie treats to find along the route to bring to them?

Don't fail me CH'rs!

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  1. Hate to bring you down, but I wouldn't waste my time eating between Greenville and Charleston. (unless i really wanted some off-the-path bbq) Whenever I make that drive (your time is about right unless you drive really fast) I never stop for anything more than a Gatorade. If you really want to eat ASAP, consider EVO pizza in North Charleston, you might get there 20 minutes or so before you could get downtown and park.

    What is Westing in Greenvile? Do you mean the Westin hotel?

    10 Replies
    1. re: danna

      @Danna - yeah ,typo - I meant the WESTIN.... 8-) !

      What a bummer.......a wasteland??!!!

      so maybe I should plan on a solid breakfast in Greenville.....

      1. re: few

        I would not say a wasteland by any means, Columbia is underrated imo. But it is Sunday, and things will be closed all along the way to Charleston most likely that would have been of interest.. Greenville's downtown is a fine place to find some early brunch before heading to the Holy City.

        1. re: few

          If your breakfast is free at the hotel, I would just go for that. After a few days in Charleston you're going to wish for more stomach room. If you want to branch out/pig out, you could try Tupelo Honey downtown, but waits are long and food is heavy and reviews vary.

          My favorite baked goods in Greenville come from the Swamp Rabbit Café, a few miles going the wrong direction, and not scenic. They have fabulous stecca bread, a killer berry/oatmeal breakfast bar, nice coffee drinks, etc. The only pastry they make that disappoints me are the scones. Also, you could do a gift basket of local specialties there. My attorneys just sent over a fantastic gift of local goodies from there last week. Everything from ginger ale to okra pickles to chocolate to a mango sports bar.

            1. re: Kris in Beijing

              I think you mistook me. I said the Swamp Rabbit Cafe was not scenic. (as much as I LOVE the place, and go there twice a week, and also love the Swamp Rabbit Trail, that little building beside the 4 lane hwy is not my idea of scenic. Except for the pastry case...THAT's scenic!)

              As for "north of Greenville"...It's absolutely scenic, that's why I drive 30 minutes to work every day so I can live up there.

                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                  There is no screened in porch at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe. Are you thinking about Williams Hardware? That would explain all the links about TR.

                  That is a really nice set up they have there, too bad about the food, which i find varies between average and poor. Better food, and also fairly cute building is Upcountry Provisions (red building). Have you tried that?

                  1. re: danna

                    oh my. yes. so sorry.
                    Williams HW-- they did a good Reuben/Rachel when I went last.

                    I haven't been since 2012 Christmas, though the 'rents still live in rural TR and my daughters still visit them each summer.

                    What about the "gourmet/ upscale"place on 11? Did it [re]open?

                    1. re: Kris in Beijing

                      I can't think of what you might be remembering on Hwy 11, but if you're thinking of Restaurant 17 on Old Hwy 25 (used to be La Bastide)...it's really good. i went there last night for my anniversary. The setting is fantastic and the food is excellent. since I live about 10 minutes from there, I wish it were a little bit more casual...casual as to the food, that is...more substantial portions, less money would be good for me.

                      1. re: danna

                        One of the best views from a bar stool around!

                        Apparently one of the co-owners is quite a legend in the bike world.

      2. The answers are no, and no.Have a not too late breakfast in Greenville, empty your bladders, and get the heck to Charleston for lunch.

        1. here's a place fairly close to I-26..they open at noon on Sunday..a nice option for small pizzas..

          http://www.noahspizzeria.com

          1. Wow. Very harsh appraisals of Columbia.
            No, Cola is not foodie haven like Asheville, but there are some solid choices. Motor Supply in the Vista is open on Sunday and does a great job of sourcing locally. Moreover there bartenders do an awesome job of using fresh berries, herb and small batch mixers for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Oak Table downtown is open during the day on Sunday and also serves delicious food. I am a devout omnivore, but The Good Life is a raw food vegan restaurant downtown that I think is extremely tasty, though the service can be spotty. It also is open on Sunday. There are probably other great options farther from downtown, but these are all worth a visit. Making BBQ suggestions in this area is likely to bring harsh criticism down on one's head, but I really like Southern Belly. Pulled pork is all they do, but they do it well. Many may scream at the unconventional nature of some of their pulled pork sandwich offerings, but they are tasty! The place has an appealing roadhouse-like feel. Its location under a railroad trestle adds to the ambiance. Columbia has other great spots like Gio's and Cellar on Greene, but many of Columbia's good places are closed on Sunday.

            21 Replies
            1. re: Rufus Dog

              Also:
              I can certainly second the recommendation of Noah's Pizza.
              Also, please forgive the several misspellings in my earlier post. It will not longer let me edit it to fix them

              1. re: Rufus Dog

                I didn't mean to imply there was nothing worth eating in Columbia, I just think that if you are on your way to Charleston anyway, Charleston has better choices. Charleston is a remarkably great food city and to me it would be silly to have good food when you can have great food a short while later.

                1. re: danna

                  Danna
                  I must agree with you that Charleston has some tremendous places and we love to go there. I love McCrady's, Fig, MacIntosh, Butcher and Bee, The Grocery, Cru Cafe. Nevertheless, I must still respectfully argue that while Columbia cannot match Charleston for the number and variety of great places, it has a community of chefs who are doing great work. I neglected to mention it, earlier, but I have had meals at Terra which rival my best meals in Charleston.
                  What are some of your favorites there? I am always glad to go on dining expedition regardless of where.

                  1. re: Rufus Dog

                    "I have had meals at Terra which rival my best meals in Charleston."

                    Agreed..

                    1. re: Cpt Wafer

                      Hey Cpt Wafer.
                      I must thank you very much!
                      We made the trek out to Noahs Pizza based on your mention of it in this conversation. Delicious! We love the pizza at Gio's and at Cafe Caturra. Both are quite tasty, but the pizza at Noah's may be even better, The styles are so different that it is hard to compare, but we thought that the pizza at Noah's is damn close to what one gets in Naples.
                      I just wish it were near my house downtown!
                      Thanks again!

                      1. re: Rufus Dog

                        very happy to have been of some small help..so glad you enjoyed it..

                  2. re: Rufus Dog

                    so @RUFUS - is Southern Belly a go on Sundays - cannot tell from their website?

                    1. re: few

                      Hey Few
                      Yeah, I know it seems very strange not to put their hours on their website, but then, that does not really strike me as all that odd for this place.
                      I have eaten there on Sundays.
                      Their Facebook page lists their hours on Sunday as 11:30 to 3:30.
                      That said, It never hurts to give them a call to make sure.
                      Happy eating, and thanks for starting a thread here!

                      1. re: few

                        Hey Few.
                        I have confirmed with Southern Belly that they are open on Sunday as Facebook indicates. It was a tremendous personal sacrifice to force myself to go there for lunch and choke down one of their sandwiches, but I did it. Sometimes you just have to take one for the team.

                      2. re: Rufus Dog

                        Rufus,
                        I have tried many of the BBQ places that are open during the week and have not found one that is halfway decent. Last time I was there I drove a 1/2 hour for what ended up being flavorless buffet (I'm looking at you little pigs BBQ). Having been to Bourbon recently and some other restaurants (Terra and I think Blue Marlin?) I know there is good food in Columbia. May have to try Southern Belly tonight...

                        1. re: Tzonis

                          Hey Tzonis
                          Let us know how you find it. As I said it is not absolutely traditional BBQ. I must admit that I cringe at some if the menu items which feature cheese on the pork, but Ijust get the plain neat on a bun. I have found the meat to be very good. How did you find Bourbon? I went once when they had just opened, so I need to get back now that they have been open a while.

                          1. re: Rufus Dog

                            Rufus,
                            Bourbon was tasty (was also there very early) and am not finalized on BBQ for tonight. Is there any decent ethnic food in Columbia? I get down every now and then (like my 1 night tonight) an always am looking for new places... Looks like a handful of sushi so may give that a spin if I don't feel like BBQ.

                            -Tz

                            1. re: Tzonis

                              I generally go to Inakaya Watanabe for sushi.
                              I really need to do some more searching for good ethnic food. I imagine that it is out that it is out there, but I have had a hard time finding awesome ethnic.Perhaps another hounder has some fresh suggestions.

                              1. re: Rufus Dog

                                Rufus,

                                Don't beat yourself up ;-) the people I see down there have the same issues with great ethnic food... Can't seem to find it.

                                -Tz

                                    1. re: Tzonis

                                      Ok. I was hoping you were going to clue us I'm on great ethnic choices in some city relatively close.

                                      1. re: Rufus Dog

                                        Sadly it is many hours of flying though I may just drive to Charleston for dinner as it is nice out tonight.

                                        1. re: Rufus Dog

                                          i went to your sushi recommendation last night. Had Omakase and it was solid. Thanks for the tip!

                                          1. re: Tzonis

                                            Glad to hear it. Did you eat in Charleston night before? If so, where?

                                1. re: Tzonis

                                  By category:

                                  Southern/soul:
                                  Compton's Kitchen (W.cola)
                                  Anthony's Dairy Bar (Two Notch Rd, get the livers
                                  and gizzards)
                                  Food Gallery and Soul Food (former gas station
                                  across from Edna's Hot Dogs on River Drive and
                                  Sunset) ox-tails and turkey wings

                                  Carribbean:
                                  Mama Js Jamaican (inside the Inter. Market on
                                  Decker Blvd)
                                  Taste of Jamaica (Beltline)
                                  MoBay (Parklane Rd)
                                  Skyaa's (Holland Ave Cayce)

                                  Ethiopian:
                                  Salina (Main St, Cola)
                                  Harambe (off Harden St, on right next to Food Lion, set back from the road)

                                  German:
                                  Wurst Wagon (mobile food truck, follow on
                                  Twitter)
                                  Julia's Stammtisch (Ft Jackson Blvd, just
                                  past Whole Foods)
                                  Eli's Gasthause (Prosperity)

                                  Korean:
                                  O'Bok (Decker Blvd just off I-77)
                                  Arirang (Decker)
                                  Seoul (Decker)
                                  Korea Garden (Decker)
                                  notice a trend? :->
                                  Hero (Two Notch Rd.)
                                  Blue Cactus (Greene St. near USC)
                                  Korean-Mexican, takes a while but worth it.
                                  Hyundi (Asian market run by 2 ladies, homemade
                                  Kimchee and other great stuff plus massive
                                  choice of produce, ingredients, utensils and
                                  stuff you didn't know you needed).

                                  More later

                          2. We like a little country diner called Bill & Fran's at the Newberry/Route 34 exit. Never had a bad meal there, and the place is always busy at lunch time.

                            It's a "roadfood" kind of place. Not gourmet, just good, genuine country cooking and real nice people.

                            Don't go in there with any highfalutin expectations; just enjoy the food.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Tiger66

                              we go up to the 'berry where friends live, love the place.