Best Southern Food near Columbia SC
January 28, 2011 6:00 AM   Subscribe

What are the best southern restaurants (barbecue, fried chicken, etc.) in and around Columbia, S.C.? Willing to take a day trip if it's worth it.
posted by bigboggle to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Savannah, GA has Mrs. Wilkes, which served the President of the United recently, Paula Deen's Lady & Sons and my personal local favorite for barbecue, Wiley's Champhionship BBQ.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:07 AM on January 28, 2011

Maurice's barbeque. Hands down. Stop what you're doing and go there right now.

Warning: they are not shy about loving the confederate flag. If you're willing to take a day trip to charleston, you can get the same BBQ minus the racism at Melvin's (two brothers, one sauce recipe).
posted by Mrs.Spiffy at 6:32 AM on January 28, 2011

You do not need to go to Savannah to find awesome food. But do you want BBQ/Fried Chicken served fancy with ambiance, or do you just want awesome down-home cooking (and the place can be a dive or only open for lunch)?

PS Most Famous Food in Cola (IMO) is the pimento cheese burger. Yum.
posted by Kronur at 6:34 AM on January 28, 2011

I grew up in Sumter, SC. This is my neck of the woods. Our church took yearly trips to Schoolhouse BBQ located in Scranton, SC. It's in an old schoolhouse so it's an experience in and of itself especially the drive through rural SC.

Sumter has a few places, but mostly chains. Most notably being Ward's BBQ. I think they cater everybody's wedding rehearsal. You could give them a try.
posted by bobber at 6:39 AM on January 28, 2011

For fried chicken: Zesto's in West Columbia, Rosewood Dairy Bar on Rosewood, Doc's on Shop Road.

Meat and three: Compton's Kitchen in West Columbia, the Back Porch in Prosperity, Miller's Bread Basket in Blackville, SC. And grudgingly: Yesterday's in Five Points. To stretch the definition: Mr Friendly's on Green St.

BBQ (now you're opening a can of worms): Again, Doc's on Shop Road, Hite's in West Columbia, Sweatman's in Holly Hill, Shealy's in Leesville.

Burgers: Rush's, all over the place, Hunter-Gatherer on Main, Edna's on River Drive, Rockaways on Rosewood, Goatfeathers in Five Point on Devine.

Bonus: Jasmine bakery on 12th street in West Columbia (next to the printing plant), is the best kept secret on the west side of the Congaree River for fresh baked goods.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:44 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am not the biggest fan of mustard based BBQ, I prefer the vinegar based varieties. I go to the Pee Dee for my BBQ. The Schoolhouse Restaurant in Scranton, SC is pretty good (on preview, like bobber said). As is Jakie's in Florence, SC.

The state is pretty divided about it's BBQ (see a map here). Choose your allegiance carefully!
posted by Kronur at 6:45 AM on January 28, 2011

I had awesome fried everything (including okra, my personal favorite) at Page's Okra Grill in Mt. Pleasant, outside of Charleston.
posted by honeybee413 at 6:49 AM on January 28, 2011

Okay don't go to Maurice's. They are a chain, they are racists and they don't have very good barbecue. The problem with eating good barbecue or fried chicken in Columbia or Savannah is they are cities and barbecue and fried chicken are food best cooked and eaten out in the country. The best barbecue in South Carolina (and you can get good fried chicken there too) is Shealy's in Batesburg-Leesville. It is about 45 minutes outside of Columbia and is more than worth the trip.
posted by ND¢ at 6:50 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Little Pigs BBQ has the best buffet in town - on Saturday night they have a big hunk of whole smoked pig you can pull the meat right off - THE BEST. They also have pulled pork cooked in vinegar and mustard so you can try the different kinds.

Someone upthread mentioned Doc's which is also good. My GF likes their fried chicken the most in town.

If you want to take a trip, Bessinger's in Charleston is probably the best all-around buffet I've had in the state.
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:56 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

(To add to ND's rec, I've also heard from Columbia locals that Shealy's is really good. But Little Pigs isn't a chain and is on the outskirts of Columbia - it's the most 'country' atmosphere I've found in the area.
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:00 AM on January 28, 2011

Oh Hudson's Smokehouse in Lexington (maybe 10 minutes outside of downtown Columbia) is pretty good too. You can tell they are good because they have a tractor on the front page of their website.
posted by ND¢ at 7:10 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're looking for a little less "meat and three" and a little more "nouveau Southern" food - more gourmet versions of BBQ/fried chicken/other Southern delicacies, check out Solstice Kitchen off of Clemson Rd. Ext. Their lunch menu is a particularly good value for great Southern treats: pimento cheese burgers, fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, shrimp and grits, fried oysters, bread pudding, etc.
posted by hefeweizen at 8:03 AM on January 28, 2011

Nthing Shealy's and Mr. Friendly's for a creative Southern splurge. I also liked the liver pudding served at breakfast at Lizard's Thicket.

This Yankee prefers mustard bbq over vinegar. :-)
posted by brujita at 9:12 AM on January 28, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions! I think Shealy's might be my #1 destination, based on popularity, location, and offerings. No matter what happens, I can tell I'm in for a finger-lickin' weekend.
posted by bigboggle at 9:49 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Little Pigs BBQ just past Fort Jackson is great (for BBQ and sides, less so chicken, but banana pudding FTW), but it's very much a formica and linoleum "country family restaurant" -- at least, it was before the fire, and reports say that nothing's changed. But ND¢ has the right idea -- if you're going to make a day of it, go into the country.
posted by holgate at 11:13 AM on January 28, 2011

I almost hate to admit it, but I really like Lizard's Thicket.

I haven't lived in Columbia for more than 10 years, but my favorite was Devine Foods (Greek. Their spanikopeta is to die for!)
posted by wwartorff at 1:24 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry that I missed this before now. My favorite place for chicken since Toomer's (around Walterboro) closed is the Biddie Banquet in Orangeburg. For BBQ, the drive out to Batesburg-Leesville is worth it for Shealy's. If you're heading over towards Langley, SC, Bobby's Bar-B-Q has pretty good BBQ.
posted by crataegus at 1:28 AM on July 1, 2011

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