A beautiful Main Street, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, outdoor plazas, and tons of locally owned shops and eateries add up to an energetic people magnet in South Carolina’s Upcountry. For good measure, Greenville has thrown in a system of 35-seat trolleys (all wheelchair-accessible and outfitted with bike racks), and even rentable “BikeLids,” personal bike lockers in town. Capping it all off is Falls Park, a stunner of a downtown green space featuring Reedy River Falls and an award-winning, cantilevered bridge. What do people like to do in this lovely, laid-back city? Lately . . . eat! And sip cold libations. The food scene here is a-buzzin’, with more than 120 locally owned restaurants dotting 10 city blocks. Here are five reasons why you should head there now:
The Palmetto State is covered with great barbecue joints. In fact, the South Carolina BBQ Association maintains a list of “100-mile bbq,” where the smoky delights have been judged worthy of a 100-mile drive. Two of those 100-milers, Henry’s Smokehouse and Bucky’s Bar-B-Q, are in Greenville.
Some places never go off the bucket lists of travelers who believe a great trip is not about the destination—it’s about the journey . . . to their favorite restaurants once they reach their destination. Carnivores love the premium steaks at Rick Erwin’s, while Soby’s New South Cuisine is known for Southern classics like fried green tomatoes and she-crab soup. Go for the Confit of Local Rabbit at farm-to-table American Grocery or Duck Confit Street Tacos at another locally sourced eatery and bar called Roost. Check out Greenville’s “sophisticated burger joint,” Grill Marks, for creations like The Juan & Only burger, a Certified Angus patty with lettuce, bacon, black-bean-and-corn salsa, guacamole, queso fresco, and sour cream—oh, and a Chocolate Chili Bacon Milkshake.
New Kids in Town
Among the most recent additions to the food scene are Biscuit Head, calling you to “Put some South in your mouth.” Now Greenville has its own branch of Charleston stalwart Halls Chophouse, offering white-tablecloth dining with live music and a Sunday brunch, as well as a new Brazwell’s Premium Pub, where you can sample a humongous food and drink menu. Have lunch, dinner, and “boozy brunch” at Ink n Ivy or serious craft cocktails at a lounge called (you guessed it) Crafted, on the mezzanine level of the popular gastropub Nose Dive. Coming soon to the area: a Greenville location for Charleston-based Caviar & Bananas gourmet market and cafe; Sean Brock’s Husk restaurant; and Wolfgang Puck’s The Kitchen.
Cold Ones & Legal ’Shine
Greenville has 6 craft breweries—Thomas Creek, Brewery 85, Quest, Upstate Craft Beer Co., Swamp Rabbit Brewery, and Blue Ridge Brewing Co.—with four more in the works, plus specialty taprooms like The Community Tap and Pour. Meanwhile, The Dark Corner Distillery on Main Street is committed to fine ’shine. Get moonshine in such flavors as butterscotch or Appalachian apple, as well as limited edition bourbon and whiskey.
You can hit two Greenville food festivals this fall. Euphoria (September 22-25) has exclusive tasting events, demos, and seminars, along with multi-course dinners and live music. Fall for Greenville (October 14-16) presents an affordable selection from 40 local restaurants, plus live music and other entertainment.
Plan Your Trip: VisitGreenvilleSC.com