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Clemson Offers Much More Than College-Town Eats

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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You would expect to find plenty of places to chow down on burgers and pizzas in a college town like Clemson. And on that score, Clemson delivers.

But the city also offers an array of upscale dining and foodie-inspired restaurants. Here are just a few:

Skin’s – This South Carolina institution is all about hot dogs. They’ve been a hit in the Upstate for more than 70 years by serving really good wieners made from pork and beef and a kickin’ homemade chili.

Pixie and Bill’s – Clemson’s original fine dining restaurant, it opened in 1971 serving classic prime rib, steak and seafood. The plush dining rooms feature antique furniture and fireplaces, creating an intimate setting for an elegant dinner.

’55 Exchange – A student-run enterprise, the Exchange dishes up ice cream made on campus using the original Clemson ice cream formula dating back to the 1920s.

Esso Club –  Another Clemson tradition, the Esso Club has been a post-game student hangout since 1933. The former gas station-turned-sports bar offers burgers, wings, salads, sandwiches and beer, of course.

Mac’s Drive In – Check out the Clemson memorabilia covering the walls of Mac’s Drive In and you’ll understand why this fast-food burger joint has been a part of the Clemson experience since 1965.

Pot Belly Deli – A local favorite, it’s not unusual to see patrons lined up to order heaping deli sandwiches at PBD, as it’s affectionately called. Ask for a grilled muffin and you’ll feel like one of the regulars.

Calhoun Corners – Built in 1893 with local, handmade brick, the building served as the original site of Fort Hill Presbyterian Church. The menu features Angus beef, fresh seafood, fish, duck, lamb, chicken, pork, trout and vegetarian dishes.

Palmetto Smokehouse and Oyster Bar – Housed in one of the oldest buildings in downtown Clemson, it features a cozy dining room with a raw oyster bar where fresh oysters from the Gulf Coast, Atlantic and North Atlantic are shucked right in front of you.

Rick Erwin’s – With its extensive wine list, casual bar and reputation for delicious steaks and seafood, it’s no wonder this Patrick’s Square newcomer has quickly become a local favorite for fine dining.

All In Coffee – The extensive beverage menu at this coffee house includes fresh joe, tea and smoothies as well as sandwiches, cheesecakes and lots of tasty baked goods.

SunnySide Cafe – This self-described “farmhouse chic” restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients, including sausage, chorizo and ground beef from McCall’s and Walker Century Farm, to create its tasty breakfast and lunch dishes.

BGR – Burgers Grilled Right specializes in, you guessed it, big, juicy burgers. Build your own burger or choose from one of the house specialties. Either way, you won’t go wrong.

Amici – We had to include a pizza place—it’s a college town, after all. This one is located on the ground level of Plaza One 89 student apartments, giving you a fun taste of college life.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.