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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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Spartanburg restaurants offers an array of international cuisine along with Southern favorites.

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

Steak, seafood and coconut cream pie are the favorites at Cabana Café, which features a downstairs cigar bar.

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.

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

Enjoy unique taco offerings created by Chef William Cribb at Willy Taco.

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.

RJ Rockers Brewing Company offers 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.

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

Chef William Cribb's fining dining offering is The Kennedy.

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.

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.