Gwen Fowler



New restaurants open in famously hot Columbia

Posted 12/17/2012 10:49:00 AM

Famously Hot Columbia is getting a little hotter, with the addition of some new downtown restaurants and more on the way.

The Oak Table opened in the fall, and Cola’s opened in the summer.

The Oak Table is on Main Street with a view of the State House. It is a part of the Indigo Road restaurant group, which includes well-known Charleston restaurants Oak Steakhouse, O-Ku, The Cocktail Club and The Macintosh. Those restaurants have racked up numerous awards over the years. The Macintosh was a 2012 semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation award for Best New Restaurant and was named one of the 50 best new restaurants by Bon Appetit in 2012.

Executive chef Joseph Jacobson comes to Columbia from the Oak Steakhouse, where he was sous chef.

One thing on the menu that grabbed my attention was that the dinner menu offers lobster fixed three ways: a small plate of lobster with house-made ricotta dumplings; deep-fried whole lobster; and whole grilled lobster.

Just reading the description of Oak Table’s Seven Cheese Oak Table Smoky Mac is enough to make a mac and cheese lover drool. Yep, seven cheeses: gorgonzola, sharp cheddar, fontina, mascarpone, smoked gouda, goat cheese and crescenza.

Cola’s is just one street over, on Assembly Street, in a 1930s building once home to an RC Cola bottling plant. So the name pays tribute to what once happened in the building as well as the shorthand name for the city.

Dining Group South owns and operates Cola’s as well as Garibaldi’s in Columbia and Savannah, Ga., and Anson Restaurant in Charleston.

Among the entrees are lamb meatballs penne, shrimp succotash, potato-encrusted tilapia and filet mignon of beef.

With Cola’s on the edge of The Vista district and The Oak Table one street over on Main, the two restaurants have brought the two areas a bit closer together.

East of downtown, a new shopping center called Cross Hill Market, where Whole Foods and Charleston Cooks have already opened, will be the home of three new restaurants. 

Taziki's Mediterranean Café, Basil Thai Cuisine and American Roadside will be opening. Nearby, SmashBurger opened last week.