If finding a place to chow down is a crucial part of your travel itinerary when you come to South Carolina, you're in luck. From barbecue joints and dives to James Beard Award-winning restaurants and chefs, there is something for everyone's palate.
South Carolina is the birthplace of barbecue, so enjoying a plate of pulled pork is a must. Getting to Scott's Bar-B-Que in Hemingway involves a bit of the detour from the interstate, but for a taste of barbecue the way it ought to be done, it's well worth the drive. Scott's specializes in whole hogs slow cooked over a wood-burning pit, but their crispy fried pork skins are also a hit.
In 2016, pitmaster Rodney Scott opened his own restaurant, Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ, in Charleston, offering a more convenient location to enjoy his artisan pulled pork, along with ribs, chicken and fried catfish. Two years later, he was honored with the James Beard Best Chef: Southeast award.
Walhalla's The Steak House Cafeteria is further proof a good meal isn't hard to find off the beaten path. The cafeteria-style restaurant is the unofficial home to the best plate of fried chicken in the state. If a good, greasy burger is more your style, the Beacon Drive-In in Spartanburg is there to satisfy that need. Since 1946, the Beacon has served up burgers under piles of onion rings and fries, and claims to sell the most tea of any restaurant in the country. (Pro tip: When you go, order the chili-cheese-a-plenty).
Over in Lancaster, you'll find the Wagon Wheel Restaurant, serving a wide selection of home-cooked favorites for over 35 years. With an emphasis on domestic seafood, fresh produce and hand-cut, charbroiled steaks, a stop here will be well worth the time. And don't forget to try their famous fried squash. People come from all around to sample the thin-sliced, hand-breaded and quick-fried yellow squash.
South Carolinians love food so much that it's celebrated year round at a variety of food festivals and events. Here's a few to keep on the calendar:
South Carolina Peach Festival in Gaffney
Bluffton Boiled Peanut Festival
World Grits Festival in St. George