If you're looking to combine history, a top-rated show and a great dinner, it's time to plan a trip to Newberry.
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:
Figaro: Located just a few doors down from the Newberry Opera House in an old bank building, Figaro is a great addition to the Newberry dining scene. Chef Sheila Veach prepares a range of menu options but specializes in seafood and steaks.
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.
1100 Main St., 803.276.7700
Laila's Place: This popular spot features salads, sandwiches and specialities sides like pasta salad, potato salad and broccoli salad. But it's the desserts that made owner Tia Devette a legend in Newberry. Offerings include cupcakes, cookies, cakes and donuts.
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 the Cabana in 1996.
1215 Boyce St., 803.405.0030
1300 Main St., 803.276.3172
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.
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.