Greenville is known for its burgeoning dining scene and flourishing farm-to-table movement. It is also home to the vibrant Euphoria food festival, an event that draws the foodie crowd and puts the city squarely on the map of worthy culinary destinations. Beneath all that energy lies a thread of local flavor—foods that have found strong enough favor among Greenvillians to become menu icons.
Before a food can be considered iconic, it should be distinguished by both staying power and a solid, unwavering fan base. While these locally favored eats are sometimes the stuff of fine dining, more often than not, they are down-home and simple, offered up in establishments with a long history of serving the Greenville community. If you want to truly eat like the locals eat, you’ll get a good start at these 10 establishments.
Bacon Bros Public House
Iconic dish: Devil’s Dust Eggs
Open since 2013, this bastion of bacon, barbecue and brisket might be, comparatively, the newbie on this list. But that just speaks to how well they do everything, from the mains to the details. In this case, one such detail—deviled eggs—has found a solid following of worshipers who can’t get enough of these zippy, hand-held treats. Devil's Dust Eggs get their wickedness from a dusting of ghost pepper powder. Mustard seed and salty tasso ham enhance the bite.
Brick Street Café
Iconic dish: Sweet Potato Cake
This upbeat outpost of live music and casual eats is known for its decadent cakes. Of those, the Sweet Potato Cake has overwhelmingly won the hearts and palates of diners. Moist, spiced just right and slicked with cream cheese icing, it’s everything your sweet tooth ever dreamed of.
Iconic dish: Sweet Potato Crunch
Longtime sweetheart of the pit-cooked pulled pork crowd, Bucky’s is a barbecue institution in Greenville. While the smoked meats get plenty of attention, diners can’t get enough of the Sweet Potato Crunch—a satisfying, savory-sweet baked casserole featuring South Carolina’s favorite root tuber with a crunchy, nutty topping.
Iconic dish: Chili Cheeseburger
The formula isn’t complicated: a beef burger with cheese and a generous ladle of homemade chili. The Clock has been doing it the same way since the 1950s, which makes this a burger local folks can depend upon—and they do.
Duke Sandwich Company
Iconic dish: Homestyle sandwiches
A little more than a century ago, Eugenia Duke (whose recipe for Duke’s Mayonnaise made it the South’s favorite condiment) sold sandwiches to the hungry of downtown Greenville. In the spirit of her enterprise, Duke Sandwich Company proudly carries on the tradition, serving up homestyle sandwiches using Duke’s most popular spreads, like pimento cheese, chicken salad, ham, pepper and onion, and egg salad. Though not affiliated with the mayo operation, this beloved little sandwich shop makes and packages sandwiches like your mama put in your lunchbox. Grab them ready-made or enjoy one prepared to order.
Iconic dish: Fried chicken
Crispy, moist, perfectly seasoned fried chicken is the signature dish at both of OJ’s family-run diners. Lovingly made from a secret recipe, this is the fried bird of choice for local lovers of home cooking. The mac-and-cheese and collards make worthy companions.
Iconic dish: Pan-seared trout
This charming downtown eatery, on the banks of the picturesque Reedy River, is known for serving classic bistro fare with a French touch. While you can’t get a bad dish here, the pan-seared mountain trout has garnered a massive, well-established fan base. Join the crowd.
Poppington’s Gourmet Popcorn
Iconic dish: Greenville Mint Chocolate Caramel Popcorn
Not a restaurant, but a major player on the foodie scene, nevertheless, Poppington’s brings the nostalgic smells and tastes of popcorn to downtown Greenville, along with some super surprising twists. The signature Greenville Mint Chocolate Caramel Popcorn flies off the shelf faster than you can say "Poppington's popped a peck of pickle popcorn" (another great flavor, by the way). Order online or visit the charming little shop for your share.
Iconic dish: White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
Go for the on-point Southern comfort foods, but stay for the dessert. In this case, it’s Soby’s signature White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie, the hottest sweet on the menu. Accolades for this cookie-crust pie, filled with house-made custard and fresh bananas, never cease. Add your voice to the masses.
Tommy’s Country Ham House
Iconic dish: Sausage
The country ham is tasty, but Tommy’s house-made breakfast sausage has been the favorite meat in this homey cafe for more than 30 years. Made from hand-ground meats and seasoned just right, this sausage, which is made daily, has enough spice to wake up the ol’ taste buds and satisfy your early morning hunger. Goes great on a biscuit.