A Foodie's Paradise
Savor classic southern flavors, from authentic Carolina barbeque to modern takes on old favorites like the fried green tomato. Experience the depth of Upstate SC’s international food scene with flavors from Afghanistan to Germany to Japan. Acclaimed craft beer, wine, and moonshine made in Upstate SC? Yes. Yes. And, yes.
Greenville continues to top national food destination lists, including Tasting Table’s “America’s Most Underrated Foodie Cities”—but it’s not the only Upstate community making culinary waves. Spartanburg, for one, is making a major play in the farm-to-table and craft beverage world.
Upstate SC is where acclaimed chefs and sustainable, locally driven ingredients, like those found at Anchorage, meet classic Meat ‘n’ Three joints like Wade’s Restaurant. A variety of farmers markets across nearly every community in the Upstate make it easy to cook fresh and eat local—all part of our healthy, active lifestyle. That’s not to mention our growing brewery scene, which serves up new and unexpected brews like the fruit-forward “Son of a Peach” from RJ Rockers Brewing Company in Spartanburg. Read on to learn more about Upstate SC’s diverse and growing food scene.
- Southern Fare
- International Cuisine
- Brews + Booze
Taste the Farm-Fresh Difference
Upstate South Carolina combines a deep history of agricultural excellence, Southern comfort and a new wave of active, conscious consumers to form a truly unique farm-to-table dining scene. As a result, Upstate SC has attracted the attention of some of America’s leading chefs who specialize in creating mouthwatering dishes from locally sourced, seasonally driven ingredients. Award-winning Husk has a location in Greenville, while the Anchorage is a homegrown James Beard Semi-Finalist, focused on small plates, craft cocktails and beer, and sustainable wine. Other local-forward restaurants in the Upstate include Kitchen Sync, Sunny Side Cafe and Grits & Groceries.
Beyond its farm-to-table restaurant scene, Upstate SC has an active agricultural community and a penchant for shopping and eating local—because there’s nothing quite like purchasing lettuce that was picked fresh this morning or sampling strawberries that were in the ground yesterday. Farmers’ markets run the gamut from larger markets like Spartanburg’s Hub City Market, Greenville’s Saturday Market and the Travelers Rest Farmers Market to those in to the smaller venues in Laurens, Union and Gaffney.
Peaches, berries, apples, and a full bounty of summer vegetables are harvested in the Upstate. Local cheeses, meats, and dairy are also a plenty. Notable farms and producers include District 6 Farm, a farm-to-school initiative with Spartanburg’s School District 6 that produces cabbage, broccoli, watermelons and more; Full Circle Farm, which grows kohlrabi, arrowhead spinach and heirloom summer squash; Greyrock Farms, a family-run dairy farm; Due West Strawberries, a certified SC-grown “U-Pick” strawberry farm; and Hughley Farms, run by 20-something farmer Tyler Hughey.
A Taste of the New South
Local Upstate South Carolina chefs and restauranteurs are changing the way we view southern food with twists on old classics and international influences.
Carl Sobocinski, president of Table 301 Restaurant Group, has brought a number of institutions to the Upstate’s food scene with an enticing mix of new, old and exotic flavors. The restaurant group includes Soby’s New South Cuisine, one of the Upstate’s most iconic and beloved restaurants and recipient of Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence since 2003, and Southern Pressed Juicery, a cold-pressed juice and plant-based food company—plus Mediterranean The Lazy Goat and Italian Jianna.
William Cribb is another culinary heavyweight in the Upstate as the owner of Cribb’s Kitchen, Cribb’s Catering, Willy Taco, FR8 Yard and the Kennedy, where simplicity and clean, balanced flavors are the name of the game. South Carolina-born chef Sarah McClure makes classic comfort food with a twist at Southside Smokehouse and Grille in Landrum, while Liz Blanchard of Cakehead Bakeshop in Spartanburg, whips up sweets that remind her of her childhood.
Not to discount classic Southern comfort food, Upstate SC is home to many Meat ‘n’ Three joints and diners steeped in tradition, like Wade’s Restaurant and Auntie Ann’s Kitchen. And, where every community has at least one prized barbeque establishment, from Black’s Smokehouse to Daddy’s Joes, the fun lies in finding your favorite.
Flavors from Around the Globe
Upstate South Carolina’s presence of international companies extends to its culinary scene to offer flavors from all around the globe—from 25 different ethnic cuisines to be exact. From fresh pasta at the modern Italian Jianna to Belgian beer and hearty bites at The Trappe Door to the exquisite sushi at Miyako, Upstate SC restaurants will satisfy your culinary wanderlust. Want to try something new? Stop by Aryana Afghan Cuisine, where you’ll walk in, pay, and be served the meal of the day—typically a unique blend of rice, protein and spices.
As interesting as the spices featured in Upstate cuisine is the stories behind these international restaurants. One example comes from husband-and-wife chef team Nick and Ae Dhers, who blend the flavors of French and Thai cuisine at Le Spice in Spartanburg. Try the Thai steak sandwich, topped with mushroom soy sauce and a sunny egg.
In addition to these diverse staples, you’ll find a wide variety of global dishes at more than 60 food trucks throughout the Upstate—from ahi tuna poke to barbeque tacos. Greenville’s euphoria food, wine and music festival is one highlight featuring food trucks, plus exclusive tasting events and intimate musical experiences.
Craft Brews + Booze
A thirst for craft beer, wine and spirits has grown an impressive roster of beverage producers and bars focused on artisan cocktails throughout Upstate South Carolina. Birds Fly South Ale Project, for one, made the cover of Beer Advocate in 2017 as one of the 34 Best New Breweries in the U.S.
Housed in a century-old cotton warehouse in Greenville’s Water Tower District, Birds Fly South is just one of many breweries that inject energy into the Upstate SC community with a variety of events and, of course, quality beer. RJ Rockers Brewing Company in Spartanburg hosts a popular, music-filled “Hoppy Hour” on Friday afternoons. Quest Brewing Co. offers indoor-outdoor space, a tasting room and events like trivia and Vinyl Night, while Swamp Rabbit Brewery in Travelers Rest offers direct access to the famous Swamp Rabbit Trail along the Reedy River. Shoeless Brewing Co., run out of the popular Grapes & Grains, offers personalized brewing classes for those looking to try their hand as a brewmaster.
Popular local distilleries and wineries include Six & Twenty, Palmetto Moonshine, City Scape Winery, Victoria Valley Vineyard and Chattooga Belle Farm. Upstate staples for creative, hand-crafted cocktails include Vault & Vator, UP On The Roof and Restaurant 17.
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