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Dining in Spartanburg: This Small Southern City Offers a Taste of the World

Rachel Pittman Rachel Pittman
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.
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If you’re looking for a variety of international fare right here in South Carolina, Spartanburg is your city. Nestled in the Upstate, Spartanburg is home to a surprising array of cuisine—from classic Southern dishes to Caribbean tastes to the flavors of Germany.

 

Casual Cuisine

The city has a plethora of casual dining options, offering a wide range of handcrafted foods that won’t break the bank.

For Southern comforts, order a meat-and-three at Wade’s Southern Cooking, a staple in town since 1947. Menu favorites include a barbecue hash sandwich made from a treasured family recipe and pies—from peanut butter with chocolate syrup to French silk—that are whipped up fresh daily.

Charlene’s Home Cooking also specializes in comfort food, serving soul food dishes such as the Sunday special—barbecue ribs and homemade almond pound cake. Owners Charlene and Mike Davis offer their customers “down-home cooking like grandma used to make,” and pride themselves on using only ingredients that are fresh and locally grown when available.

To branch out, visit the Streatery food truck, Spartanburg’s first mobile dining option, and its accompanying brick-and-mortar restaurant, The Eatery, a cozy breakfast and lunch nook. Be sure to try the duck wings featuring Chef Stephanie Tornatore’s signature ginger garlic sauce. Venus Pie Pizzeria serves up some of Spartanburg's most famous New York-style pies with hand-tossed crusts and plenty of unique toppings. Calzones, cheesecakes and giant personal slices of pizza are tried-and-true Venus favorites.

If you crave classic American fare, try one of Spartanburg's several staple diners. Sugar-n-Spice Drive-In and Ike's Korner Grill are two Spartanburg landmarks that serve huge hamburgers, classic Southern sides and slices of homemade pie.

 

Comfortable Upscale Eating

Looking for a nice place to take the family? You’ll find several local favorites featuring comfortable dining spaces with sophisticated menus.

It’s impossible to experience Spartanburg's dining landscape without coming across the cuisine of Chef William Cribb, a 2017 South Carolina Chef Ambassador and Spartanburg native. He is the owner and head chef of Cribbs Kitchen in downtown Spartanburg, a brick-walled eatery with an industrial vibe offering options such as the Stella Blue burger with blue cheese and truffle vinaigrette and Cribb’s ribs, a smoked ribs plate served with pimento mac and cheese.

If you prefer more spicy dishes, try Willy Taco, Cribb’s taco and tequila joint. Sip a strawberry-jalapeño margarita while you munch on a Southern tide taco with shrimp, pimento cheese and chipotle ranch or Southern Living magazine’s favorite taco: crispy avocado with sweet chili sauce.

Fr8yard, the Upstate's first fully open-air restaurant, is an outdoor biergarten in downtown Spartanburg also led by Chef Cribb. The restaurant and entertainment venue is built entirely of repurposed shipping containers and features a wide selection of local beers, bonfires on chilly nights and spaces for ping-pong and bocce ball.

The Silo at RJ Rockers Brewing Company is another local beer-infused dining experience. Visitors can tour the brewery and sit down for dinner or brunch with a menu that features a country ham charcuterie platter, lobster taquitos and other creative dishes.

Le Spice's two Spartanburg locations also offer a menu with a kick, serving Thai- and French-influenced cuisine in an airy bistro setting. For breakfast, order Le Spice Grits, with Thai pulled pork and sweet chili sauce. Keep it spicy for dinner and try the Hangover Pasta, featuring linguine sauteed in Thai spices and garlic soy sauce.

Southside Smokehouse is the spot for traditional American comfort food with a twist. It features weekly specials and a rotating selection of craft beers on tap. Get your Cajun cooking fix here and order jambalaya or shrimp Creole. The Farmer’s Table is another pick for American fare. This farm-to-fork restaurant serves sustainable seasonal foods, including homemade burgers, fried green tomatoes and cheese grits.

 

Fine Dining

Enjoy an elegant dinner at one of Spartanburg's chic restaurants.

Remember Chef Cribb? His expertise isn’t only in the field of casual dining. The Kennedy is Cribb’s latest venture and is a hot spot for a sumptuous dinner. The restaurant’s art deco decor makes for an enticing dining atmosphere, and the cocktails are designed in house with incredible attention to detail. Guests can order steak, chicken fried quail or pork shoulder with Carolina Gold rice for dinner and complete the meal with a sweet corn creme brulee.

For international flair, try Gerhard’s Cafe, a fine dining establishment specializing in German cuisine. This restaurant and bar offers a large selection of creative dinner entrees, including bacon-wrapped pheasant with red cabbage and wild boar chops with mushroom sauce.

Finally, for that classic, romantic Italian dinner, look no further than Renato in Centro. Since 1991, owner and chef Renato Marmolino has specialized in creating an old world environment with a menu of family recipes passed down over generations. Order the chicken marsala and gamberi or the blackened scallop risotto and try not to drink too much of the chef’s homemade limoncello.

Rachel Pittman
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.