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Chicken Parmesan sandwich with chips on a plate.
Chicken Parmesan sandwich at the Kennedy.
The Kennedy

Where to Eat and Drink in Spartanburg, South Carolina

Hub City earns its sparkle with homegrown food and bev

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Chicken Parmesan sandwich at the Kennedy.
| The Kennedy

Spartanburg has fostered its own picturesque downtown, replete with sidewalks, lampposts and flower boxes. It’s also 30 minutes closer to Charlotte than Greenville. With a mix of casual dining and higher-end restaurants, all independently owned, Sparkle City makes a pert trip. But don’t dismiss its watering holes, there are iconic stops for a memorable drink too.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Wade's Restaurant

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There are meat-and-three spots, and then there’s Wade’s, open since 1947, where dozens of dishes are made from scratch. It’s nearly impossible not to choose the lunch line to pig out on it all. Baked beans are stuffed with meat, fried chicken parts are crisp, yeast rolls are ideally squishy, and mashed potatoes are whipped and fluffy. Eat at Wade’s and check out the latest t-shirt designs with the tagline.

Willy Taco Hub City

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The original Willy Taco is here in Spartanburg on East Main. The bar is smaller than its sibling locations but memorable for its devoted staff and all juice margs. Willy Taco Hub City is the incubator for specials and it is fun to try them all. For an old school order, the giant Dang Chimichanga is a stand out. It’s massive.

The Lemongrass Kitchen

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Dunbar is a quieter street in downtown Spartanburg, tree-lined with easy parking and The Lemongrass Kitchen is a homegrown delight. The Vietnamese menu includes especially good glass noodles, rice noodles, seven to eight types of pho (order the meatball) and rice dishes. Daily specials, topped with fresh herbs, show off the breadth of the kitchen. If banana leaf wrapped dumplings are available, order them.

FR8yard

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Bar-restaurant-music venue Fr8Yard is wholly outdoors and feels like a park nestling between two buildings. There’re yard games and fire pits and projected sports and movie nights.  The menu is playful but chef driven with house-made brats, pretzels, yard dogs, street meats, Angus smash burgers and funnel cakes, paired with canned craft beer and kegged cocktails. 

Downtown Deli & Donuts

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Eat like a local and have breakfast at DDD. Vegan cinnamon rolls, gluten-free donuts, breakfast sandwiches stuffed with herbed egg frittata on focaccia are all winners. A self-service coffee station is piled with hilarious mugs including quips like: I see the assassins have failed. Lunch is stacked with salads, soups, sandwiches and thoughtful vegetarian offerings.

Nu-Way Lounge & Restaurant

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Though Nu-Way produces a solid patty melt and crisp fried fries, this is a straight up dive bar with a greasy griddle and strong inelegant drinks, pool tables, and bands that play well into the night. If the band has more than three members, it sets up in front of the door and guests walk through upon entry. There’s always a fun mix of people, happy to hang at Nu-Way. It’s a bucket list bar, for sure.

Bond Street Wines

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This second location of the popular Charlotte wine shop has hit its stride in a historic Spartanburg corner building. Knowledgeable staff will offer interesting labels  by the glass or half-glass and a focused selection of wines, much of it grower-wine or small production, is available to buy retail. The bar is a lively place and there’s charcuterie to snack on and tables out front. It’s prime location in the heart of downtown makes it a top happy hour spot.

RJ Rockers Brewing Company & Restaurant

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One of the oldest breweries in the state, RJ Rockers is an iconic stop for craft beer in the Upstate. With the recent addition of The Deli Korner to the taproom, Rockers is a place to drink local, eat local and listen to area bands onsite. Though Son of a Peach is a popular order, The Brown Eyed Squirrel is a nicely balanced ale with notes of black malt and a little chocolate. Rockers sits just behind Cribbs Kitchen, so wander between the two. There will be plenty of locals to hang out with.  

Various canned beers lined up.
There’s a variety of canned beers at RJ Rockers.
RJ Rockers Brewery

Cribb's Kitchen On Main

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William Cribb’s first restaurant was Cribb’s Kitchen, and it remains a cornerstone of dining and service in Spartanburg. With a lovely cocktail list and a ton of local beer, customers may be tempted to hang at the bar, but they should stay and eat. There’s pear salad and blue-cheese-crusted ribeye, giant sandwiches, and a market white fish seasonally prepped. The deviled eggs with chimichurri and crispy pork hit the mark.

The Kennedy

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Chef William Cribb and his partner Raj Patel opened the Kennedy after Cribb served as SC Chef Ambassador, and it’s a top dining experience in the Upstate. The modern brasserie’s interiors lean Deco — the best seat is at chef’s counter with serious access to the kitchen. The menu is freshly seasonal; if available, the oyster service, the corn gnocchi and the pork shank are standouts. The Kennedy also serves lunch and notably brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Flock Shop

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More than a hot chicken concept, Flock Shop is a place to hang with its full bar and screened porch along with a casual dining room. There’s a fantastic chicken sandwich that should be ordered with hot honey drizzle. A crispy tempeh over grits and greens is noteworthy and consider the chicken-fried ribs, and flash-fried green beans with crunchy garlic. Rotating frozen cocktails are nicely balanced. It’s not downtown but worth the drive.

Monster Subs

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For a Jersey-style sub go to Monster Sub. It’s located by West Gate Mall and the strip center has ample parking. Giant subs are stuffed with fresh meats and cheese and piled into ideal French bread with the right chew. The hot subs are satisfying, but specialty deli subs like the Don with its combination of prosciutto, capicola, salami, fresh mozzarella, sweet peppers, and balsamic glaze, feel well-defined.

Wade's Restaurant

There are meat-and-three spots, and then there’s Wade’s, open since 1947, where dozens of dishes are made from scratch. It’s nearly impossible not to choose the lunch line to pig out on it all. Baked beans are stuffed with meat, fried chicken parts are crisp, yeast rolls are ideally squishy, and mashed potatoes are whipped and fluffy. Eat at Wade’s and check out the latest t-shirt designs with the tagline.

Willy Taco Hub City

The original Willy Taco is here in Spartanburg on East Main. The bar is smaller than its sibling locations but memorable for its devoted staff and all juice margs. Willy Taco Hub City is the incubator for specials and it is fun to try them all. For an old school order, the giant Dang Chimichanga is a stand out. It’s massive.

The Lemongrass Kitchen

Dunbar is a quieter street in downtown Spartanburg, tree-lined with easy parking and The Lemongrass Kitchen is a homegrown delight. The Vietnamese menu includes especially good glass noodles, rice noodles, seven to eight types of pho (order the meatball) and rice dishes. Daily specials, topped with fresh herbs, show off the breadth of the kitchen. If banana leaf wrapped dumplings are available, order them.

FR8yard

Bar-restaurant-music venue Fr8Yard is wholly outdoors and feels like a park nestling between two buildings. There’re yard games and fire pits and projected sports and movie nights.  The menu is playful but chef driven with house-made brats, pretzels, yard dogs, street meats, Angus smash burgers and funnel cakes, paired with canned craft beer and kegged cocktails. 

Downtown Deli & Donuts

Eat like a local and have breakfast at DDD. Vegan cinnamon rolls, gluten-free donuts, breakfast sandwiches stuffed with herbed egg frittata on focaccia are all winners. A self-service coffee station is piled with hilarious mugs including quips like: I see the assassins have failed. Lunch is stacked with salads, soups, sandwiches and thoughtful vegetarian offerings.

Nu-Way Lounge & Restaurant

Though Nu-Way produces a solid patty melt and crisp fried fries, this is a straight up dive bar with a greasy griddle and strong inelegant drinks, pool tables, and bands that play well into the night. If the band has more than three members, it sets up in front of the door and guests walk through upon entry. There’s always a fun mix of people, happy to hang at Nu-Way. It’s a bucket list bar, for sure.

Bond Street Wines

This second location of the popular Charlotte wine shop has hit its stride in a historic Spartanburg corner building. Knowledgeable staff will offer interesting labels  by the glass or half-glass and a focused selection of wines, much of it grower-wine or small production, is available to buy retail. The bar is a lively place and there’s charcuterie to snack on and tables out front. It’s prime location in the heart of downtown makes it a top happy hour spot.

RJ Rockers Brewing Company & Restaurant

One of the oldest breweries in the state, RJ Rockers is an iconic stop for craft beer in the Upstate. With the recent addition of The Deli Korner to the taproom, Rockers is a place to drink local, eat local and listen to area bands onsite. Though Son of a Peach is a popular order, The Brown Eyed Squirrel is a nicely balanced ale with notes of black malt and a little chocolate. Rockers sits just behind Cribbs Kitchen, so wander between the two. There will be plenty of locals to hang out with.  

Various canned beers lined up.
There’s a variety of canned beers at RJ Rockers.
RJ Rockers Brewery

Cribb's Kitchen On Main

William Cribb’s first restaurant was Cribb’s Kitchen, and it remains a cornerstone of dining and service in Spartanburg. With a lovely cocktail list and a ton of local beer, customers may be tempted to hang at the bar, but they should stay and eat. There’s pear salad and blue-cheese-crusted ribeye, giant sandwiches, and a market white fish seasonally prepped. The deviled eggs with chimichurri and crispy pork hit the mark.

The Kennedy

Chef William Cribb and his partner Raj Patel opened the Kennedy after Cribb served as SC Chef Ambassador, and it’s a top dining experience in the Upstate. The modern brasserie’s interiors lean Deco — the best seat is at chef’s counter with serious access to the kitchen. The menu is freshly seasonal; if available, the oyster service, the corn gnocchi and the pork shank are standouts. The Kennedy also serves lunch and notably brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Flock Shop

More than a hot chicken concept, Flock Shop is a place to hang with its full bar and screened porch along with a casual dining room. There’s a fantastic chicken sandwich that should be ordered with hot honey drizzle. A crispy tempeh over grits and greens is noteworthy and consider the chicken-fried ribs, and flash-fried green beans with crunchy garlic. Rotating frozen cocktails are nicely balanced. It’s not downtown but worth the drive.

Monster Subs

For a Jersey-style sub go to Monster Sub. It’s located by West Gate Mall and the strip center has ample parking. Giant subs are stuffed with fresh meats and cheese and piled into ideal French bread with the right chew. The hot subs are satisfying, but specialty deli subs like the Don with its combination of prosciutto, capicola, salami, fresh mozzarella, sweet peppers, and balsamic glaze, feel well-defined.

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