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Great Dining Spots in Gamecock Country

Gwen Fowler Gwen Fowler
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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Hey, Gamecock parents: You're likely to work up an appetite walking around the University of South Carolina campus or seeing all the hot spots when visiting your students in Columbia.

Fortunately for you, there are a number of great restaurants near the USC campus. Treat yourself and your students to a fine meal at one of these spots, which are all open for lunch and dinner:

Mr. Friendly's is a longtime favorite near Five Points, and it specializes in creative Southern dishes. And yes, it is a friendly place.

Mediterranean Tea Room is a great choice for fresh Middle Eastern and Greek cuisine.

@116 Espresso and Wine Bar is a combination of a coffee shop, wine bar and gourmet restaurant offering some unique small plates.

Motor Supply Co. Bistro in the Vista emphasizes local foods. In fact, they have special events during the year to honor the farmers who supply them with fresh produce and meats. Artisan cocktails are a specialty here, and the wine selection is great. The name comes from the building's former life as Motor Supply Co., a warehouse selling auto parts from the 1930s through the 1960s.

California Dreaming is just off the USC campus, in a beautiful old train station. A big favorite here are the huge salads, served with croissants coated with honey butter.

Blue Marlin specializes in Lowcountry fare, such as shrimp and grits, and fried green tomatoes.

Tin Roof is a more laid back choice than some of the others, offering live entertainment and tasty food choices like pizzadillas, sandwiches and salads.

Hunter-Gatherer is a brewpub with sandwiches, salads, pizzas and entrees.

Halls Chophouse specializes in wet and dry-aged USDA prime and choice beef, but its extensive menu also includes locally sourced fish, poultry, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Like the much-acclaimed original in Charleston, the downtown Columbia restaurant promises an elegant dining experience. 

Hendrix opened in 2019 in the historic Hennesey's building on Main Street, drawing foodies with its creative, chef-inspired menu, stylish decor and hip rooftop bar.

Gwen Fowler
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.