At first glance, the restaurant landscape in Greenville, South Carolina may appear familiar to those who set off for Charleston’s Rainbow Row during its’ recent travel surge. It doesn’t take long to find the upstate city is brimming with modernized southern cuisine and a commitment to local sources. But, let’s face it: the South is more than mac ‘n cheese and barbecue. Foodies passing through and locals alike can find updated staple dishes amid the signature cuisine along with globally-influenced fare in Greenville.
Kickback on a rooftop bar for skyline views, chow down in a converted fire station or order tapas by the river to fulfill your dining vision— be it romantic or casual catching up— in the growing city. With more than 15 new restaurants and bars open or slated to open this year, anyone with a big appetite can eat their way through Greenville.
From downtown mainstays to the posh and trendy in the Village of West Greenville, Paste Travel takes you to the best bites in the city.
Top image by Mike Burton/Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0
Molly Harris is Paste Design’s assistant editor.
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Mark and Larkin Hammond of Greenville's Larkin's On The River felt the need for a quality burger joint in the city. In late 2012 the original Grill Marks appeared downtown across from the courthouse before the duo opened a second location in Columbia, South Carolina. With later hours on Friday and Saturday– closing at 11 p.m.– and a downtown location, there's no better place for a little grease half-way through a bender.
Stop into the former fire station for a brew and white truffle parmesan fries during happy hour, or take a seat for a late lunch. The restaurant serves up boozy milkshakes and an impressive list of burgers. Herbivores (and those not asking, "where's the beef?") can try an "unburger" which includes everything from bison and salmon to mushrooms and veggie patties. Watching your carbs? Try it naked– or wrapped in lettuce.
Photo courtesy of Grill Marks' Facebook
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Ink N Ivy
Okay, Ink N Ivy may also be in Charleston, but this restaurant has an aesthetic we can't pass up. At this location just off of Main street, a former pawn shop now has the look and feel of a tattoo parlor with black and green leather seats, wrought iron chandeliers and inked brick walls. To tie in the "ivy," head to the rooftop to relax at the garden bar.
The restaurant makes for an easy choice for a decadent brunch of southern classics like chicken and waffles or shrimp and grits. Order a bloody mary at the bar while you wait. If eggs Benedict are your go-to, we'll go ahead and tell you one option features crab cakes.
Photo courtesy of Ink N Ivy
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Chef Sean Brock's restaurant, Husk, is undoubtedly well known having been featured on NPR. To experience something different– and equally delicious– visit The Anchorage , run by Greg McPhee, Sean Brock's sous chef. In an airy space at the center of West Greenville, the locally sourced southern dishes demand a crowd.
This trendy bistro is always full, so expect a wait. Bring a friend, and order a cocktail or glass of wine to sip while the table is prepared. Opt to share and try several dishes including the trout spread and Brussel sprouts– believe us, you will want to taste it all. End dinner with a French press for two and churros served on pottery made nearby just for the restaurant.
Photo courtesy of Will Crooks / The Anchorage
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The Lazy Goat
The Lazy Goat is ideal for a sunny lunch or intermezzo on the patio overlooking the Reedy River just north of Falls Park. The central location off the Swamp Rabbit Trail makes for a clandestine break along a walk or ride.
Serving Mediterranean and Middle Eastern tapas along with an extensive wine list, the eatery is the perfect pick for light bites and wine to feed an afternoon of conversation with good company. Try the Harissa spiced hummus or the Mediterranean chopped salad for a break from southern favorites.
Photo by Timothy J / Flickr