clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A tray of ribs, brisket, baked beans, and mac and cheese.
A barbecue tray at Big Dave’s.
Big Dave’s All American BBQ

18 Essential Greenville, South Carolina, Restaurants

From French fine dining to big trays of barbecue, Greenville restaurants have range

View as Map
A barbecue tray at Big Dave’s.
| Big Dave’s All American BBQ

The town known for miles of Main Street is experiencing expansion beyond its picturesque downtown. Greenville is chock full of diners who meet out all week long for drinks and apps, coffee, lunch, and dinner. It’s a place steeped in sweet tea, barbecue, and seasonal produce — and four seasons of mild weather equates to patio dining nearly year-round.

Restaurants have found homes in reimagined textile mills, repurposed commercial buildings, and second-generation restaurants in Greenville’s neighborhoods. They’ve ushered in a new era of easy parking, reservations, and an independent dining spirit with quality service. Several newcomers have found their way onto this Essentials List. In not much time, they’ve become mainstays with devoted followings.

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

Maverick Biscuit

Copy Link

Cathead biscuits are the specialty at Maverick, located in Taylors in a second-generation fast-food building. The counter service concept offers square biscuits with a big loft from the addition of cake flour. They’re topped in combinations like shrimp and grits, fried chicken with candied jalapeno, as well as the expected breakfast fare. Eggs are cooked to order, and mimosa bottle service is a fun add-on. Biscuit dough is also dropped into hot oil to produce a donut-like treat offered with lemon curd.

Asada’s owners Gina Petti and Roberto Cortez focus on global ingredients at their Latin fusion cafe with offerings such as okonomiyaki, Peruvian tacos, burger arepas, and shrimp stuffed chayote, but the steak tacos with house chips are a consistent best seller. A line at Saturday brunch moves quickly, and outdoor tables supply overflow seating. Two types of sangria, hibiscus tea, craft beer, and sake round out the experience. Cortez is a notable artist; his paintings hang in the dining room.

Comal 864

Copy Link

“Bordertown food” is what chef Dayna Lee-Márquez calls the menu at Comal 864, a version of Tex-Mex she grew up on. She was a James Beard semi-finalist nominee last year for Best Chef Southeast. She produces sauces by hand, and items like birrieria ramen and torta ahogada appear as specials, but the reason to head to the former textile general store in the Water Tower District is for the stuffed burritos. An avid activist, Lee-Márquez often hosts events for local organizations and issues she supports.

Fork and Plough

Copy Link

When chef Shawn Kelly partnered with Roddy Pick of Kingbird Pastures to create Fork & Plough, it established the anchor business Historic Overbrook needed — the restaurant/market/butcher shop hums along with neighborhood vibes. Farm-fresh comfort food is its sweet spot including fried chicken, meatloaf, and daily soups. The award-winning house burger made with Kingbird Pastures beef, shitake mushrooms, Swiss, and arugula is one of the best in Greenville. Weekend brunch is a standard with its mimosas topped with orange juice ice cubes.

Sushi Go

Copy Link

Chef Max Godo is known for striking sushi, sashimi, roast pork ramen, and a sake menu that is large and varied. The wine list gets assistance from Mission Grape Co, a local distributor representing farm-made wines. New Zealand king salmon, toro, and hamachi stand out on the features menu. The brothy little neck clams appetizer is a nice starter and a roll named Tuna, Tuna, Tuna is a local favorite. At lunch, there are well-priced bento boxes.

Sushi in a bento box.
Offerings from Sushi Go.
Sushi Go

Methodical Coffee

Copy Link

The self-proclaimed coffee nerds at Methodical Coffee now have three cafes and a roasting facility, but the downtown location at the One Plaza is a place to sip and savor, offering two stories of seating including patio tables out front. Coffee arrives in blue and white cups and saucers, and there are cloth napkins and vintage spoons. Every cup is expertly constructed from espresso to pour-overs, chai to matcha, chocolate milk to steamers to cold brew. Coffee offerings are varied, interesting, and purposefully complex.

Willy Taco Feed & Seed

Copy Link

The marquee location of Willy Taco in Midtown now has its own stop on the Swamp Rabbit Trail extension. The 1930s Feed and Seed store was reimagined into a 200-person restaurant by restaurant designer Sandra Cannon. A fresh juice cocktail program and extensive tequila list put Willy Taco above other cantinas. The blackened salmon taco is notably good, and the Mexican smash burger offers a double patty loaded with gooey toppings. Sunday Brunch, starting at 10 a.m, includes an overstuffed chimichanga, breakfast tacos, and specialty drinks.

Scoundrel

Copy Link

Chef Joe Cash’s resume includes time in New York City at Per Se and Major Food Group, but he returned to Greenville to open his own fine dining restaurant Scoundrel in the heart of downtown. A cadre of classically built dishes fills the daily menu, including Caesar salad with shaved celery root, seasonal whole fish, glazed mussel toast, and his grandmother’s cocoa powder layer cake, which he says will never leave the menu. But the sauced duck, with its spear of lacinato kale, is not to be missed.

Society Sandwich Bar & Social Club

Copy Link

Open every day until 2 a.m., Society filled a gap in Greenville: late-night dining. Owner Jeremy Krauze and chef Chris Rosensteel set out to bring something irreverent to downtown and serve lunch items to wee hours. The restaurant offers two stories of dining, each with a dedicated bar. The menu focuses on specialty sandwiches and ramen, while offering offers twisted plates like huevos ranchero fries, Philly cheese egg rolls, and hot chicken ramen with tiki-leaning cocktails. The extensive bourbon and tequila selection here means even craft drinkers take Society seriously.

Swordfish Cocktail Club

Copy Link

The handsome cocktail bar a few blocks off Main Street is reservation-worthy for a table, but a seat at the bar allows a geek-worthy show of methods and ingredients. There are plenty of house shrubs to chat about, interesting cordials, and a deep spirits list. Appetizers and bar snacks are hefty enough to turn into a boozy supper if ordered in combination. The seasonal drink menu shifts during its quarter and can include a beautiful amaro sour, a rosa damascena fizz, or hot chocolate with chartreuse marshmallows.

Aryana Afghan Cuisine

Copy Link

Nelo Mayar’s café on Coffee Street has evolved from offering hot lunch plates to a full-service restaurant serving both lunch and dinner. Soft-set dumplings, spins on Afghan street food, and long grain rice dishes top seasonal menus along with pressure-cooked proteins. Vegans will be pleased with vegetables individually sauced. A vinegar-based condiment Mayar calls “chutney” is something to pour on, though it feels more akin to chimichurri. Locals take half-gallons of cardamon tea home with them. Mayar’s cookbook, titled The Afghan Table, is in its third printing.

The Jones Oyster Co.

Copy Link

The Jones Oyster Co. does not take reservations, and is small, but well-designed. It opened a year ago and quickly became a top spot for lunch. Chowder and chargrilled oysters stand out on the menu, and fresh oysters are exceptionally clean and cut nicely off the shell. A smoked fish dip appetizer is delicious, and the by-the-glass list is interesting, especially for white wine. In a fun nod, chef Brant Teske puts Hellmann’s mayo on the lobster roll but Duke’s mayo on his po’ boy.

Rise Bakery

Copy Link

Julian Loué launched his pandemic bread-baking hobby into a second career, opening Rise Bakery on Pendleton Street in West Greenville. The team at Rise produces bread daily for several restaurants — like a kalamata olive and polenta country loaf — but locals stop in for morning pastries and perfectly lacquered croissants. A double-twisted cardamon bun is aromatic and beautifully constructed. Hot and cold sandwiches are available at lunch and Instagram stories announce seasonal pastries made weekly.

Camp Modern American Eatery

Copy Link

Chef Diego Abel Campos has taken over for chef Drew Erikson at Camp, who surprised Greenville with a move to the Reserve at Lake Keowee. The chefs enjoyed a stint at Napa’s the French Laundry together, and Campos’ animated personality is a boon at the attractive restaurant, whose menu is filled with small plates. Shareables lean global, and the menu is divided between field, sea, and land. Fish specials and scallop preparations stand out. Camps’s bar spills out onto Camperdown Plaza, a pretty spot for sipping cocktails outdoors.

Dining room with blond wood and green chairs.
Dining room at Camp.
The Vannah Company

Urban Wren

Copy Link

Chef Taylor Montgomery raises Scottish Highland cattle and Valais Blacknose sheep at his farm in Western North Carolina, where he also grows heirloom produce for Urban Wren. The wine-centric bar is a place to sip and slow graze and sommelier Chris Gemmill recently joined the team. A salad with Napa cabbage, green mango, and bo kho jerky with tamarind dressing topped with crumbed rice paper is a standout. There are seasonal fish preparations, steak, lamb, and focaccia with a duck-fat candle. A separate chef’s table with intimate views of the kitchen is a fun reservation to get.

A mussels dish at Urban Wren.
Urban Wren

A table on the terrace of Jianna is a special spot in the heart of downtown — the balcony overlooks both South Main Street and Falls Park, and chef Michael Kramer and general manager Andrea Ciavardini-Royko have a knack for making every diner feel attended to. A whipped ricotta appetizer is a bestseller. Though known for its pasta dishes, Kramer employs a deft hand when preparing fish. This is a place to order a bottle over a glass of wine, the list is interesting, deeply Italian, and thoughtfully priced. 

OJ's Diner

Copy Link

Open for breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday only, OJ’s serves soul food made from scratch. Olin Johnson set out to reinvent the meat and three with whole foods. Daily specials tend to sell out, so arrive close to 11 a.m., especially for fried chicken or barbecue ribs on Friday. Table service is warm and efficient; it’s possible to drown in the amount of tea served. Cobbler is made in-house, and the stewed greens and fried okra are notable. OJ’s is a great spot for everyone to gather over biscuits.

Big Dave’s All American BBQ

Copy Link

Chef David Jones is larger than life, both in persona and stature. He was executive chef for the Dallas Cowboys and his son, D.J. Jones,  a nose tackle for the Broncos, has been known to pop in. Brisket is a best seller, along with ribs and smoked wings. The loaded fries with house sauce, pulled pork, cheese, sour cream, and chive show up on a sheet tray. Especially crisp fried South Carolina fish is available most Friday and Saturday nights. Sides include creamy mac and cheese and delectable greens.

Maverick Biscuit

Cathead biscuits are the specialty at Maverick, located in Taylors in a second-generation fast-food building. The counter service concept offers square biscuits with a big loft from the addition of cake flour. They’re topped in combinations like shrimp and grits, fried chicken with candied jalapeno, as well as the expected breakfast fare. Eggs are cooked to order, and mimosa bottle service is a fun add-on. Biscuit dough is also dropped into hot oil to produce a donut-like treat offered with lemon curd.

Asada

Asada’s owners Gina Petti and Roberto Cortez focus on global ingredients at their Latin fusion cafe with offerings such as okonomiyaki, Peruvian tacos, burger arepas, and shrimp stuffed chayote, but the steak tacos with house chips are a consistent best seller. A line at Saturday brunch moves quickly, and outdoor tables supply overflow seating. Two types of sangria, hibiscus tea, craft beer, and sake round out the experience. Cortez is a notable artist; his paintings hang in the dining room.

Comal 864

“Bordertown food” is what chef Dayna Lee-Márquez calls the menu at Comal 864, a version of Tex-Mex she grew up on. She was a James Beard semi-finalist nominee last year for Best Chef Southeast. She produces sauces by hand, and items like birrieria ramen and torta ahogada appear as specials, but the reason to head to the former textile general store in the Water Tower District is for the stuffed burritos. An avid activist, Lee-Márquez often hosts events for local organizations and issues she supports.

Fork and Plough

When chef Shawn Kelly partnered with Roddy Pick of Kingbird Pastures to create Fork & Plough, it established the anchor business Historic Overbrook needed — the restaurant/market/butcher shop hums along with neighborhood vibes. Farm-fresh comfort food is its sweet spot including fried chicken, meatloaf, and daily soups. The award-winning house burger made with Kingbird Pastures beef, shitake mushrooms, Swiss, and arugula is one of the best in Greenville. Weekend brunch is a standard with its mimosas topped with orange juice ice cubes.

Sushi Go

Chef Max Godo is known for striking sushi, sashimi, roast pork ramen, and a sake menu that is large and varied. The wine list gets assistance from Mission Grape Co, a local distributor representing farm-made wines. New Zealand king salmon, toro, and hamachi stand out on the features menu. The brothy little neck clams appetizer is a nice starter and a roll named Tuna, Tuna, Tuna is a local favorite. At lunch, there are well-priced bento boxes.

Sushi in a bento box.
Offerings from Sushi Go.
Sushi Go

Methodical Coffee

The self-proclaimed coffee nerds at Methodical Coffee now have three cafes and a roasting facility, but the downtown location at the One Plaza is a place to sip and savor, offering two stories of seating including patio tables out front. Coffee arrives in blue and white cups and saucers, and there are cloth napkins and vintage spoons. Every cup is expertly constructed from espresso to pour-overs, chai to matcha, chocolate milk to steamers to cold brew. Coffee offerings are varied, interesting, and purposefully complex.

Willy Taco Feed & Seed

The marquee location of Willy Taco in Midtown now has its own stop on the Swamp Rabbit Trail extension. The 1930s Feed and Seed store was reimagined into a 200-person restaurant by restaurant designer Sandra Cannon. A fresh juice cocktail program and extensive tequila list put Willy Taco above other cantinas. The blackened salmon taco is notably good, and the Mexican smash burger offers a double patty loaded with gooey toppings. Sunday Brunch, starting at 10 a.m, includes an overstuffed chimichanga, breakfast tacos, and specialty drinks.

Scoundrel

Chef Joe Cash’s resume includes time in New York City at Per Se and Major Food Group, but he returned to Greenville to open his own fine dining restaurant Scoundrel in the heart of downtown. A cadre of classically built dishes fills the daily menu, including Caesar salad with shaved celery root, seasonal whole fish, glazed mussel toast, and his grandmother’s cocoa powder layer cake, which he says will never leave the menu. But the sauced duck, with its spear of lacinato kale, is not to be missed.

Society Sandwich Bar & Social Club

Open every day until 2 a.m., Society filled a gap in Greenville: late-night dining. Owner Jeremy Krauze and chef Chris Rosensteel set out to bring something irreverent to downtown and serve lunch items to wee hours. The restaurant offers two stories of dining, each with a dedicated bar. The menu focuses on specialty sandwiches and ramen, while offering offers twisted plates like huevos ranchero fries, Philly cheese egg rolls, and hot chicken ramen with tiki-leaning cocktails. The extensive bourbon and tequila selection here means even craft drinkers take Society seriously.

Swordfish Cocktail Club

The handsome cocktail bar a few blocks off Main Street is reservation-worthy for a table, but a seat at the bar allows a geek-worthy show of methods and ingredients. There are plenty of house shrubs to chat about, interesting cordials, and a deep spirits list. Appetizers and bar snacks are hefty enough to turn into a boozy supper if ordered in combination. The seasonal drink menu shifts during its quarter and can include a beautiful amaro sour, a rosa damascena fizz, or hot chocolate with chartreuse marshmallows.

Aryana Afghan Cuisine

Nelo Mayar’s café on Coffee Street has evolved from offering hot lunch plates to a full-service restaurant serving both lunch and dinner. Soft-set dumplings, spins on Afghan street food, and long grain rice dishes top seasonal menus along with pressure-cooked proteins. Vegans will be pleased with vegetables individually sauced. A vinegar-based condiment Mayar calls “chutney” is something to pour on, though it feels more akin to chimichurri. Locals take half-gallons of cardamon tea home with them. Mayar’s cookbook, titled The Afghan Table, is in its third printing.

The Jones Oyster Co.

The Jones Oyster Co. does not take reservations, and is small, but well-designed. It opened a year ago and quickly became a top spot for lunch. Chowder and chargrilled oysters stand out on the menu, and fresh oysters are exceptionally clean and cut nicely off the shell. A smoked fish dip appetizer is delicious, and the by-the-glass list is interesting, especially for white wine. In a fun nod, chef Brant Teske puts Hellmann’s mayo on the lobster roll but Duke’s mayo on his po’ boy.

Rise Bakery

Julian Loué launched his pandemic bread-baking hobby into a second career, opening Rise Bakery on Pendleton Street in West Greenville. The team at Rise produces bread daily for several restaurants — like a kalamata olive and polenta country loaf — but locals stop in for morning pastries and perfectly lacquered croissants. A double-twisted cardamon bun is aromatic and beautifully constructed. Hot and cold sandwiches are available at lunch and Instagram stories announce seasonal pastries made weekly.

Camp Modern American Eatery

Chef Diego Abel Campos has taken over for chef Drew Erikson at Camp, who surprised Greenville with a move to the Reserve at Lake Keowee. The chefs enjoyed a stint at Napa’s the French Laundry together, and Campos’ animated personality is a boon at the attractive restaurant, whose menu is filled with small plates. Shareables lean global, and the menu is divided between field, sea, and land. Fish specials and scallop preparations stand out. Camps’s bar spills out onto Camperdown Plaza, a pretty spot for sipping cocktails outdoors.

Dining room with blond wood and green chairs.
Dining room at Camp.
The Vannah Company

Urban Wren

Chef Taylor Montgomery raises Scottish Highland cattle and Valais Blacknose sheep at his farm in Western North Carolina, where he also grows heirloom produce for Urban Wren. The wine-centric bar is a place to sip and slow graze and sommelier Chris Gemmill recently joined the team. A salad with Napa cabbage, green mango, and bo kho jerky with tamarind dressing topped with crumbed rice paper is a standout. There are seasonal fish preparations, steak, lamb, and focaccia with a duck-fat candle. A separate chef’s table with intimate views of the kitchen is a fun reservation to get.

A mussels dish at Urban Wren.
Urban Wren

Related Maps

Jianna

A table on the terrace of Jianna is a special spot in the heart of downtown — the balcony overlooks both South Main Street and Falls Park, and chef Michael Kramer and general manager Andrea Ciavardini-Royko have a knack for making every diner feel attended to. A whipped ricotta appetizer is a bestseller. Though known for its pasta dishes, Kramer employs a deft hand when preparing fish. This is a place to order a bottle over a glass of wine, the list is interesting, deeply Italian, and thoughtfully priced. 

OJ's Diner

Open for breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday only, OJ’s serves soul food made from scratch. Olin Johnson set out to reinvent the meat and three with whole foods. Daily specials tend to sell out, so arrive close to 11 a.m., especially for fried chicken or barbecue ribs on Friday. Table service is warm and efficient; it’s possible to drown in the amount of tea served. Cobbler is made in-house, and the stewed greens and fried okra are notable. OJ’s is a great spot for everyone to gather over biscuits.

Big Dave’s All American BBQ

Chef David Jones is larger than life, both in persona and stature. He was executive chef for the Dallas Cowboys and his son, D.J. Jones,  a nose tackle for the Broncos, has been known to pop in. Brisket is a best seller, along with ribs and smoked wings. The loaded fries with house sauce, pulled pork, cheese, sour cream, and chive show up on a sheet tray. Especially crisp fried South Carolina fish is available most Friday and Saturday nights. Sides include creamy mac and cheese and delectable greens.

Related Maps