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Dining in Florence Hits All the Right Spots

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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A romantic Italian dinner, a juicy steak with all the trimmings, fresh South Carolina seafood, street tacos, spicy curries, fried chicken with home-cooked veggies, pit-cooked barbecue and more—Florence dining delivers just the thing to satisfy your taste buds.


Coffee and Tea

Florence has three coffee houses where you can cozy up to a hot cup of joe and more. Lula’s Coffee Company is a favorite for early morning wake-ups and night-time open mics and live music.

A short walk away is Soule Café, an artsy java joint featuring all your favorite coffee concoctions and specialty drinks, including matcha and chai, as well as desserts and light snacks. Live music and open mic nights make for a lively atmosphere.

For quaint sipping and noshing, choose the Victorian-themed Top Hat Special-Teas, offering lunch or afternoon tea service complete with finger sandwiches, scones, lemon curd and all the traditional accompaniments. Coffee also co-stars at all of the area's doughnut shops, and Starbucks fans can satisfy their coffee cravings at four locations across town.


Fine Dining

Looking for a meal to impress someone special or just because you’re worth it? Florence has you deliciously covered. Make a reservation at Town Hall, the former headquarters of 2019 South Carolina Chef Ambassador Kelly Vogelheim. This downtown hotspot is known for "New Southern" dinners made from locally sourced ingredients, a comprehensive list of fine wines and a warm ambiance.

Across the street inside Hotel Florence, you will find gastronomic delights at Victors. Sit back and enjoy the creations of yet another South Carolina Chef Ambassador, Cooper Thomas, who also embraces a farm-to-table philosophy. Victors serves breakfast, lunch and a sumptuous weekend brunch. The elegant bar is a favorite local gathering place for the after-work cocktail crowd, too.

Authentic Italian dishes are the dining force at Da Massimo Ristorante Italiano, an intimate little bistro where you can linger over expertly prepared dishes like spaghetti all'Amatriciana, chicken marsala, osso bucco and more.


Quick and Casual

Enjoy Lowcountry flavors at Red Bone Alley, one of Florence's premier gathering places. Order your favorite cocktails and swoon over the shrimp and grits in a dining room that looks like a Charleston outdoor cafe.

Tubb’s is the place for seafood in Flo-Town, offering a treasure trove of fresh shrimp, oysters, crab and regionally inspired seafood dishes.

For meat-and-three lovers, try Julia Belle’s on the grounds of the Pee Dee State Farmers Market and Missy’s, a bustling little café serving up some of the tastiest soul food around.

Pulled pork, ribs, award-winning mac and cheese and expertly crafted cocktails have put Wholly Smokin’ on the downtown map of great dining. For pizza, head to Rebel Pie where the dough is freshly made before hitting the wood-burning oven, or go New York-style at Stefano’s  and its offspring eatery, Cibo, both offering an array of pizzas, calzones, sandwiches and pasta dishes.

King Jefe, San Jose Tacos and Tequila and Margaritas are among the many eateries where Florentines get their fill of tacos and other Mexican specialties.

Juicy, freshly made burgers are king at 1720 Burger Bar and Locals Grill. And you can get a little bit of everything—burgers, hot dogs, fried shrimp, fried chicken and more—at The Drive-In. Dine in or enjoy the old-fashioned convenience of carhop service at this Florence institution.


Barbecue Houses

An overview of Florence dining is not complete without a rundown of barbecue houses. These old-school hubs of smoked meat goodness are ingrained in the history of the Pee Dee region and distinctive for serving pit-cooked, whole hog barbecue and a buffet lineup of delicious accompaniments like macaroni and cheese, peas, sweet potato casserole, slaw, biscuits and the regional favorite, chicken bog—a chicken and rice concoction that’s as famous as barbecue in these parts.

You can experience this tradition at Roger's Bar-B-Que, Woodstone BBQ and Cain’s, where some nights you can eat your fill while tapping your toes to live bluegrass.


Brews and Chews

Looking for something laid-back? Florence is home to three robust breweries: Seminar Brewing, Southern Hops Brewing Company and Local Motive Brewing Company. Each proudly crafts a line of signature beers for your drinking pleasure and offers inspired eats to complement your picks. Live music and other events are mainstays at these gathering places where social time is a key part of the experience.

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.