It’s a town steeped in sweet tea, smoked meats, and seasonal produce, but Greenville’s restaurants have migrated beyond a picturesque downtown and found a foothold in adjacent neighborhoods. From reimagined buildings in Midtown and the outdoor hub of Travelers Rest, eating in “Yeah That Greenville” is a place built for dining out.Read More
18 Essential Greenville, South Carolina, Restaurants
From wine-friendly fare to Afghan cuisine
Sidewall Pizza Company
The original location of Sidewall is in Travelers Rest. The pizza offers memorable bite, the crust doughy with nice bubbles and some char, baked in a 900-degree oven. Toppings from gorgonzola to squash to prosciutto keep it interesting and salads tossed with local vegetables are large enough to share. Confit garlic dressing can be ordered as a pizza dip and house-made ice cream, regional beer, and a sundry by-the-glass list allow Sidewall to crest the family dining category. There are four more locations in the greater Greenville area.
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Cathead biscuits are the specialty at Maverick, located in Taylors in a second-generation fast-food building. The counter service quickly handles a line and the square biscuits with big loft (from the addition of cake flour) can be topped in many combinations, including 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.
“Bordertown food” is what chef Dayna Lee-Márquez calls the menu at Comal864, a version of Tex-Mex she grew up on in southern Texas. Breakfast tacos make a satisfying plate with hand-made sauces. Birrieria ramen, tamales, and torta ahogada make appearances as specials at lunch and dinner. Sports of all kinds play above the counter. An avid activist, Lee-Márquez often hosts supply drives for area organizations and raises money for issues she supports. She is a semi-finalist nominee for the 2022 James Beard Awards.
Fork and Plough
A partnership of Greenbrier Farms and chef Shawn Kelly created a mainstay with Fork & Plough in Historic Overbrook. The restaurant/market/butcher shop hums along for lunch and dinner with neighborhood vibes. Farm-driven comfort food is a sweet spot like fried chicken, meatloaf, and daily soups. The award-winning house burger made with local beef and topped with shitake mushrooms, Swiss, and arugula never leaves the menu. Sunday brunch is a standard in Greenville, but Fork & Plough also offers a Saturday brunch menu with mimosas topped with orange juice ice cubes.
Todd Smith pulled a hat trick when his barbecue team won the Kansas City Barbeque Society World Invitational Championship with a total score of 708. It included a perfect mark in pork and significant placements in brisket, ribs, and chicken. He’s bested every known barbecue team on the planet and his small restaurant on Greenville’s Eastside produces competition-quality barbecue every day. Tables fill up at lunch, so grab a seat at the bar or on the shaded deck through the side door. Order the melty pork medallions at dinner or the burnt ends, when available, and an only on Friday brisket burger.
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. The corner restaurant, at the north end of Main Street, is an easier part of downtown to park.
Willy Taco Feed & Seed
The marquee location of Willy Taco is about to get its own stop on the new Swamp Rabbit Trail extension in Midtown. The 1930s Feed and Seed store was reimagined into a 200-person restaurant by restaurant designer Sandra Cannon. A fresh juice cocktail program and farm-driven tequila list elevates Willy Taco above other cantina concepts. A blackened salmon taco is well-seasoned, and the new Mexican smash burger offers a double patty loaded with gooey toppings. Sunday Brunch, starting at 10 a.m., includes an overstuffed chimichanga, breakfast tacos, specialty mimosas, and rotating features.
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 hour. 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.
This Belgium beer bar sits under Barley’s Pizza, though its entrance is at street level. Reservations are highly recommended and even bar seats can go onto a waitlist. There’s 100+ beer offerings, organized by type and region including Trappists. Seasonal cocktails pair well with the mussels and frites variations, like the “White and Bleu” with a white ale and blue cheese broth. The short rib with shaved creamed Brussels is a local favorite as is the Flemish beef stew. Open seven nights a week, Trappe Door solves Greenville’s Monday problem.
Aryana Afghan Cuisine
English is owner Nelo Mayar’s third language; she immigrated from Afghanistan to Germany and later to the US. Her small lunch eatery offers a daily plate of two proteins, two starches, and two vegetables. Soft dumplings, healthy spins on street fare, and long grain rice dishes top seasonal menus along with pressure-cooked proteins. Vegans will be pleased with vegetables individually sauced. The cardamom tea is slurpable, and a vinegar-based table sauce Mayar calls “chutney” is something to pour on. Mayar recently published her first cookbook titled The Afghan Table.
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Maestro Bistro and Dinner Club
Maestro’s cuisine feels traditional and slightly French leaning with subtle updates like a green strawberry salad under white fish and duck with carrot and scorched grapes. Chef Samuel Dominguez is from Argentina and hand cuts proteins for his menu. His culinary background includes Miami restaurants and a stint in the Lowcountry; locally he was executive chef at Hall’s and Nantucket before opening Maestro’s with his wife Arielle Salley. The restaurant notably offers table service lunch — something a bit scarce in Greenville.
Carl Sobocinski’s flagship restaurant Soby’s hums along with rapt service and a super-efficient bar. Its cotton warehouse interiors with original brick walls are quintessential Greenville. The crab cake with haricot verts and maque choux is noteworthy and has never left the menu. There’s also a vegetable plate that even omnivores order. Soby’s recently finished an expansion of its subterranean wine cellar, nearly doubling its bottle count, which is available for dinner parties or tastings. Sommelier Joe Crossan has an approachable manner and geek-level knowledge about wine selection that’s refreshing.
Camp Modern American Eatery
Chef Drew Erickson and his sous chef Diego Abel Campos have settled back into the downtown dining scene after their stint at Napa’s the French Laundry. They are known for deftly prepared seafood, but the menu also offers lamb, short ribs in winter months, and dressed greens with local produce year-round. Shareables lean global with steamed buns, dumplings, and tostadas. The bar spills out onto Camperdown Plaza, a fun spot for cocktails. Table 301 restaurants are known for smart interiors and glowy light, and Camp is no exception.
Chef Taylor Montgomery drives home each night to his farm and ranch Montgomery Sky in Leicester, North Carolina, where he raises Scottish Highland cattle and Valais Blacknose sheep and grows biodynamic produce for Urban Wren. The wine-centric bar is a fun place to sip and slow snack. A salad with Napa cabbage, green mango, and bo kho jerky with tamarind dressing topped with crumbed rice paper is a standout. There’s duck bun, tuna poke, and focaccia with a duck fat candle too. The chef’s table can serve up to six to eight courses.
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 best seller. Though the second-floor restaurant is known for house-made pasta and stand-out fish specials. This is a place to order a bottle of wine, over a glass of wine, as the list is interesting, deeply Italian, and thoughtfully priced. Also, look for announcements about the ticketed Italian wine dinners.
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Seafood-leaning and service-driven, it’s easy to enjoy Coral in the West End district of downtown. The only place busier than the dining room (where reservations are recommended) is the bar, known for its martini list and separate bar menu. Appetizers are shareable and seating can be crowded, but tables turn over quickly. In the dining room, bread with ocean butter is notable; also consider the bisque, oyster service, and fish specials. The energy sometimes borders on loud, but Coral knows how to handle large parties.
O J'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.