The town of Newberry is northwest of Columbia and sits on the edge of Sumter National Forest. It was one of the largest cotton markets in the state after the railroad came through in the mid-1800s.
Many old buildings in the historic downtown area have been preserved, including the French-Gothic Newberry Opera House. Built in 1881, the facility brought in traveling shows from New York and other big cities and then became a movie theater before nearly being torn down.
Completely renovated in the 1990s to its former luster, the opera house hosts acts from folk music to country artists to swing bands. It is the reason many folks visit this lovely area, which is also home to Newberry College.
Here are five great downtown restaurants to check out on your next visit to Newberry:
Cabana Café: Steak, seafood and coconut cream pie are the favorites at this restaurant that also features a downstairs bar called the Storm Cellar Wine and Cigar Bar. Owner and chef Star Chappell has been in the restaurant business for more than 30 years. She opened in the Cabana in 1996. Entrees start at $25.
1215 Boyce St., 803.405.0030.
Figaro: Located just a few doors down from the Newberry Opera House in an old bank building, Figaro is a relatively new addition to the Newberry dining scene. Chef Sheila Veach prepares a range of menu options but specializes in seafood and steaks. Prices run from $10 for breakfast and dinner entrees start at $20.
1117 Boyce St., 803.276.0101.
Steven W's Downtown Bistro: Owners Steve and Renee Foulis opened the restaurant in 1996 across the street from the Opera House in a historic building that started life as a drugstore in 1909. Steven’s is famous for its grilled pork porterhouse and its pecan-crusted chicken. Entrees are about $25, and Steven W’s offers little plate options for smaller appetites. 1100 Main St., 803.276.7700.
The Flying Pie: Newberry native (and son of a former mayor) Clarke Kyzer and his wife, Kathy, opened the Flying Pie in 2008, offering a mix of sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, steaks and other entrees. The Pie has a decidedly Italian flair, with nods to local cuisine, such as Charleston she-crab soup and crab cakes. Paninis and burgers go for $8-10, pizzas are from $6-16 and entrees are all under $25. 1506 Main St., 803.276.1501.
The Palms Grill & Bar: The Palms offers something for everyone, from blackened ahi tuna to quesadillas to a BLT to a 13-ounce rib-eye, with a healthy dose of chicken wings, ribs and burgers in the mix. Prices range from $8 to $25. The weekday blue-plate lunch special is $8.25 for meat, two sides, bread and drink. 612 Wilson Road, 803.276.4688.
Half Full Coffee and Wine: Located in the old Red Door Antiques, Half Full Coffee and Wine has been open since 2012 and features coffee and tea in the mornings and wine in the evenings. The menu includes pastries to go with your coffee and saltier fare for your wine or beer, such as a cheese and meat or cheese and olive platter. It’s not enough for a meal, but definitely a nice snack before or after dinner. 1402 Main St., 803.321.2090.