It’s a town steeped in sweet tea, smoked meats and the produce of Appalachia, but Greenville’s restaurants have migrated beyond a picturesque downtown and found a foothold with avid diners in adjacent neighborhoods. From the arts district of the Village of West Greenville to reimagined buildings in Midtown and the outdoor hub of Travelers Rest, eating in Yeah That Greenville is more tapestried than ever.Read More
18 Essential Greenville, South Carolina, Restaurants
From tuna crudo to Wagyu corn dogs
1. Tandem Creperie and Coffeehouse
Bright yellow stools and matching mugs are reason enough to stop at Tandem in Travelers Rest, but expertly prepped Counter Culture Coffee (drip or pour over) and Dobra Tea make breakfast or brunch feel noteworthy. A dark chocolate waffle can distract from the made to order crepes. Consider the Grazing Goat with its blueberry compote, local greens, and vinaigrette or a traditional-leaning lemon sugar crepe. The fast casual service is friendly and well-informed; the historic building filled with Furman University students, families and cyclists just off the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
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2. Sidewall Pizza Company
The original location of Sidewall is in Travelers Rest. The pizza offers a memorable bite, the crust doughy and savory 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 roasted vegetables are large enough to share. The confit garlic dressing is ordered by locals 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.
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Owners Gina Petti and Roberto Cortez charge their menu with global ingredients. Asada’s audience is hungry for its fusion fare like okonomiyaki, choclo tacos, burger-topped arepas, and shrimp-stuffed chayote. The line at Saturday brunch moves quickly, and outdoor tables supply overflow seating. Sangria, hibiscus tea and a cooler filled with craft beer and sake round out the experience. Petti grows many of the restaurant’s peppers and herbs in a back garden plot. Cortez is a notable artist; his paintings hang in the dining room.
4. SBH BBQ
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.
5. Sushi Go
Chef Max Godo produces striking sushi, sashimi, and roast pork ramen, and also stocks a considerate sake and by-the-glass wine menu. The corner restaurant, at the top of Main Street, is an easier part of a downtown to park. New Zealand king salmon, toro offerings and fresh Hamachi stand out on the menu. Check the features board for a brothy little neck clams app. A roll named Tuna,Tuna,Tuna is a favorite. Locals lunch here for well-priced bento and miso that’s satisfyingly earthy.
6. Willy Taco Feed & Seed
The marquee location of cantina concept Willy Taco holds court in Midtown. The 1930s Feed and Seed store was reimagined into a 200-person restaurant under an original trussed ceiling. Its material reuse makes the design, by restaurant designer Sandra Cannon, notable for saving war-era buildings of commerce. A fresh juice cocktail program and farm-driven tequila list keep discerning drinkers happy. The blackened salmon taco — lettuce wrapped — is a gem on the menu; beyond tacos, the Mexi-dip Black Angus sandwich is delicious and the charred Brussels make a nice side.
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7. Trio - A Brick Oven Cafe
Open for more than 25 years, Trio wins at lunch. At the corner of Main and Coffee St, the cafe offers views of downtown and sidewalk tables; groups opt for large booths against interior brick walls. The turkey asparagus melt is what locals order and wood fired pizzas are satisfying. Owner Steve Boone, a career restaurateur, runs a tight ship and the comfortable restaurant is spotless. Two dozen wines are offered by the glass and, day-to-night, Trio teems with locals and staff that feel familiar.
8. Trappe Door
The Belgium beer bar sits below street level under Barley’s Pizza. Get a reservation for a dimly lit table or stalk the bar for a couple seats for dinner and drinks. Beers number about 100, organized by type or region including select Trappists. Cocktails pair well with mussels and frites offerings, like the white and blue with a broth of white ale, blue cheese, bacon and, dijon. A short rib with shaved creamed Brussels is also a solid order. Open seven nights a week, Trappe Door solves Greenville’s Monday problem.
9. Aryana Afghan Cuisine
English is owner Nelo Mayar’s third language; she immigrated from Afghanistan to Germany as a young fiancé and later to the US. Her small lunch eatery offers a daily plate comprised of two proteins, two starches, and two vegetables. Soft set dumplings, healthy spins on street-fare and long grain rice dishes top the seasonal-driven menu along with pressure cooked meats. 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. Weekly menus are posted on Facebook.
10. The Anchorage
Chef Greg McPhee’s resume includes Husk and Restaurant 17. At his Village of West Greenville restaurant, the Anchorage, farm-forward, acid-driven plates are designed to be ordered in combination. Seafood is broken down by hand; proteins are ethically sourced; and produce is grown by them or nearby farms. The menu is unapologetically interesting. Date night happens at the bar. It’s a place to sip herbaceous cocktails and order apps, including a board with memorable trout dip. McPhee’s newest endeavor is called Mr. Crisp, a fish and chips spot in Historic Overbrook.
11. Sully's Steamers
A steamed bagel sandwich from the original Sully’s location is a must-try and every oozy combination is available from open until close (1am on weekend nights). For a breakfast bagel, opt for the California Steamin’; at lunch try the Nacho Maximus with its half bag of Doritos shoved between ingredients. Only amateurs peel the foil away here; sandwiches are drippy and it’s best to eat them partially wrapped. Ask for the legacy menu to order the Pirate; a dressed turkey sandwich with spinach cream cheese.
12. Maestro Bistro and Dinner Club
Cuisine at Maestro’s 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. They notably offer table service lunch, something a bit scarce in Greenville.
There used to be a saying in Greenville: there’s nothing between Subway and Soby’s. Not much stood between a sandwich shop at one end of Main Street and Carl Sobocinski’s Table 301 flagship restaurant on the other. Warp speed infill occurred, but Soby’s with its warehouse interiors, remains an anchor of going out. A wetter crab cake with haricot verts and maque choux hits a savory note. Don’t discount the filet, the apt service, lively bar scene and a vegetable plate that even omnivores order. The banana cream pie maintains groupie status.
14. Camp Modern American Eatery
Greenville welcomed home chef Drew Erickson from the French Laundry. It may be a nod to the massive mixed-use development called Camperdown, but Camp offers some levity with its name, offering a wagyu corndog and a s’mores cocktail. There is also deftly prepared seafood, wood-fired lamb chops, and dressed greens with local produce and a 6-minute egg. A chef’s counter feels special with the bonus of sous chef Diego Abel Campos. Table 301 restaurants are known for smart interiors and glowing light and Camp is no exception.
15. Urban Wren
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, as well as 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.
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, but the team of chef Michael Kramer and general manager Andrea Ciavardini-Royko have a knack for making every diner feel attended to. A whipped ricotta app is notable as well as the meatballs. Though the second-floor restaurant is known for house made pasta, the fish specials stand out. This is a place to order a bottle over a glass of wine, the list is interesting, deeply Italian and thoughtfully priced.
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Seafood leaning and service driven, it’s easy to enjoy the experience at Coral. The only place busier than the dining room (where reservations are recommended) is the bar, known for its on-trend cocktails. Seating can be a bit coveted. In the dining room, bread with ocean butter is worth a second order, there’s lobster bisque, oysters, and blackened halibut. The energy is upbeat, sometimes bordering on loud, but Coral is a spot that handles large parties with aplomb.
18. O J's Diner
Open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday only, customers line up at OJ’s for 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 locals know to arrive close to 11 a.m., especially for fried chicken. Table service is warm and efficient; it’s possible to drown in the amount of tea served. A sweet potato cobbler is unearthly, and the limas, steamed cabbage and fried okra are memorable. A slice of life gathers in the dining room over biscuits. OJ’s is a gathering spot.