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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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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Wade's Restaurant

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1000 N Pine St
Spartanburg, SC 29303
(864) 582-3800
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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.

2. Willy Taco Hub City

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930 E Main St
Spartanburg, SC 29302
(864) 327-8228
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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.

3. The Lemongrass Kitchen

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121 Dunbar St
Spartanburg, SC 29306
(864) 205-6150
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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.

4. FR8yard

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125 E Main St
Spartanburg, SC 29302
(864) 310-6448
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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. 

5. Downtown Deli & Donuts

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147 E Main St
Spartanburg, SC 29307
(864) 707-5585
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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.

6. Nu-Way Lounge & Restaurant

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373 E Kennedy St
Spartanburg, SC 29302
(864) 582-9685
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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.

7. Bond Street Wines

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145 W Main St
Spartanburg, SC 29306
(864) 707-2790
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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.

8. RJ Rockers Brewing Company & Restaurant

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226-A W Main St
Spartanburg, SC 29306
(864) 804-8047
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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

9. Cribb's Kitchen On Main

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226B W Main St
Spartanburg, SC 29306
(864) 699-9669
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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.

10. The Kennedy

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221 E Kennedy St
Spartanburg, SC 29306
(864) 586-5554
Visit Website

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.

11. Flock Shop

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970 S Pine St
Spartanburg, SC 29302
(864) 707-2470
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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.

12. Monster Subs

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8039 Warren H Abernathy Hwy
Spartanburg, SC 29301
(864) 764-1510
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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.

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1. Wade's Restaurant

1000 N Pine St, Spartanburg, SC 29303

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.

1000 N Pine St
Spartanburg, SC 29303

2. Willy Taco Hub City

930 E Main St, Spartanburg, SC 29302

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.

930 E Main St
Spartanburg, SC 29302

3. The Lemongrass Kitchen

121 Dunbar St, Spartanburg, SC 29306

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.

121 Dunbar St
Spartanburg, SC 29306

4. FR8yard

125 E Main St, Spartanburg, SC 29302

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. 

125 E Main St
Spartanburg, SC 29302

5. Downtown Deli & Donuts

147 E Main St, Spartanburg, SC 29307

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.

147 E Main St
Spartanburg, SC 29307

6. Nu-Way Lounge & Restaurant

373 E Kennedy St, Spartanburg, SC 29302

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.

373 E Kennedy St
Spartanburg, SC 29302

7. Bond Street Wines

145 W Main St, Spartanburg, SC 29306

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.

145 W Main St
Spartanburg, SC 29306

8. RJ Rockers Brewing Company & Restaurant

226-A W Main St, Spartanburg, SC 29306
Various canned beers lined up.
There’s a variety of canned beers at RJ Rockers.
RJ Rockers Brewery

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.  

226-A W Main St
Spartanburg, SC 29306

9. Cribb's Kitchen On Main

226B W Main St, Spartanburg, SC 29306

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.

226B W Main St
Spartanburg, SC 29306

10. The Kennedy

221 E Kennedy St, Spartanburg, SC 29306

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.

221 E Kennedy St
Spartanburg, SC 29306

11. Flock Shop

970 S Pine St, Spartanburg, SC 29302

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.

970 S Pine St
Spartanburg, SC 29302

12. Monster Subs

8039 Warren H Abernathy Hwy, Spartanburg, SC 29301

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.

8039 Warren H Abernathy Hwy
Spartanburg, SC 29301

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