Gwen Fowler



Greenville home to vibrant dining scene

Posted 7/11/2010 8:45:00 PM

Have you visited Greenville lately? If not, you might be surprised by the city’s vibrant downtown dining scene. Main Street is lined with places to eat – from sub shops to ice cream or coffee shops to fine dining.

The newest downtown restaurant is Nantucket Seafood Grill at 40 W. Broad St., which opened in April at Courtyard by Marriott. The menu features a variety of seafood, including live lobster. The restaurant is owned by Rick Erwin, who opened Rick Erwin’s West End Grille at 648 S. Main St. five years ago. West End offers seafood, chicken and pasta, but the specialty appears to certified and prime Angus steaks.

"The dining and culinary scene in downtown Greenville, and in Greenvile as a whole, has some of the best offerings in the state," Erwin said.

Table 301, a Greenville restaurant group owned by Carl Sobocinski, was one of the first major players in the downtown dining scene when it opened Soby’s at 207 S. Main St. 13 years ago.

Downtown wasn’t exactly thriving then, but the Peace Center had opened just across the street in late 1990. Gina Gatti Boulware, director of marketing and public relations, said the Table 301 team figured that meant at least 100 nights of the year, there would be people downtown.

Soby’s clearly has thrived, as Table 301 has opened Soby’s on the Side next door, Devereaux’s at 25 E. Court St., and the Lazy Goat at 170 River Place.

Boulware said the downtown has become a destination, with folks stopping at one restaurant for dinner before a show and going to another for dessert afterward.

Here are a few other special downtown places that I hope to visit and write more about soon:

American Grocery Restaurant, 732 S. Main St., puts emphasis on locally grown foods. The menu features a long list of foods and where American Grocery gets them: vegetables from four South Carolina farms, milk and butter from Happy Cow Creamery in Pelzer, pork from Caw Caw Creek in St. Mathews, and so on.

High Cotton, at 550 S. Main St., brings the great Lowcountry foods that Maverick restaurants -- Slightly North of Broad, High Cotton and the Old Village Post Office in the Charleston area and High Hammock in Pawleys Island – are known for. But here there is a distinctive upstate twist, with a view of the Reedy River. 

Larkin’s on the River, 318 S. Main St., is right on the Reedy River and has a great reputation for its steaks.

And finally, Mary’s Restaurant at Falls Cottage is in a beautiful old home that is now on the Historic Register. At 615 S. Main St., it has a beautiful outdoor dining area overlooking Falls Park on the Reedy River. I walked through this area on a recent trip to Greenville, and even on a sizzling hot day, diners seemed very comfortable in this shady spot with the sound of the waterfall in the background. 

For more information about lots of other great dining choices in Greenville, visit