No matter where you travel in South Carolina, there's a hidden gem of a restaurant nearby. Chefs here have so much high quality, local foods to choose from, and the partnerships with farmers keep menus tasty all year long.
Here's some of the places not to miss when you're in small-town SC:
What it's known for: Juniper is known for making each dish just as good as it can be. Every ingredient is maximized. They serve great sandwiches and entrees, and don't miss the daily lunch specials. Weekend dinners also offer a five course prix fixe that is just terrific.
What it's known for: This beautiful, friendly place combines the best of the Atlantic with what's growing locally in the SC Upstate. It's a Southern seafood house near the mountains, and you won't find anything better. Everything is house-made, and many weeks feature a new handcrafted cocktail that celebrates something in season.
What it's known for: Set in a white clapboard old country store, this is one of South Carolina's finest restaurants. The chef/owners have a great back story and have created a welcoming, wonderful destination. No matter what's on the menu when you visit, you can know that each ingredient will be elevated to its very best. Don't miss dessert for sure. Pick up their cookbook while you're there. Open for lunch and Thursday night dinner.
What it's known for: Take a short drive off US 17 through ancient live oaks and order the shrimp. It's caught locally and no matter how you want it prepared, it's great. If you're lucky enough to be there when soft shell crabs are in season, get some of those too. Fresh and right out of the ocean. Nothing better.
What it's known for: This commanding structure on the banks of the Catawba River elevates the dining experience in Rock Hill. Locally sourced fish, meats and produce shine, as does the exquisite service and beautiful views from the rooftop bar. If you're there for lunch, try the fried sweet tea chicken sandwich. Lots of Southern goodness here.
Style: Southern, farm-to-table, rooftop bar, fine dining, waterfront, lunch, dinner, brunch
What it's known for: This cozy Seneca eatery is known for its hospitality and unexpected ingredients that come together to form delicious dishes that leave guests feeling both happy and healthy. Chef Angela Bell has gained many fans through dishes like her wild boar stuffed with asparagus and chocolate pot de crème. And don't even get them started on the homemade bread!
What it's known for: This is where tradition meets the plate in the barbecue world. Scott's is considered the gold standard of SC barbecue. It's whole-hog smoked, mopped down with peppery vinegar sauce and served up with white bread from the same small shack for decades. Every food writer worth his fork has written about Scott's, and it's all deserved. Open Wednesday-Saturday until they run out. Like it should be. And if you can't make it to Hemingway, Rodney Scott's Bar-B-Que will be opening in Charleston in late 2016 or early 2017.
What it's known for: No matter what the name says, this is the place to get fried chicken - really, really great fried chicken. Traditional Southern sides round out the experience, along with homemade dessert. No way to go wrong here.
What it's known for: You haven't really tasted South Carolina until you have a shrimp burger from this little roadside spot. It's local shrimp made into a patty, deep fried and served on a bun. Get the sweet potato fries as a side and take a seat at the picnic tables outside for the whole experience. Cash only.
Style: Casual, lunch, weekend dinner
Address: 1925 Sea Island Parkway, St. Helena Island
What it's known for: Slow-cooked meats, shrimp boils, crawfish, oysters, ribs - this truck is known for having a good time and eating very, very well. It's not unusual to find something new on the menu each time you stop by, depending on what's in season. It smells as good as it tastes. Almost.
What it's known for: At The Flipside Restaurant, South Carolina Chef Ambassador Amy Fortes has made it her passion to bring delicious food to the great people of Rock Hill. Serving locally inspired comfort food in an upscale environment, The Flipside Restaurant is the perfect place to grab a bite with friends and family!
What it's known for: Stationed in beautiful downtown Fort Mill, The Flipside Cafe brings the community together with locally inspired fare from breakfast to dinner. Led by South Carolina Chef Ambassador Amy Fortes, this small-town cafe is the perfect place to stop in for coffee or enjoy brunch with friends.
What it's known for: Housed in a beautiful country bed and breakfast, the dining room at Abingdon Manor serves a six course prix fixe dinner. Dishes change nightly depending on what's in season and available locally. It's civilized fine dining you'll talk about for years to come.
What it's known for: Headed by South Carolina Chef Ambassador William Cribb, Cribbs Kitchen is known for its diverse menu and family-friendly atmosphere. Enjoy everything from gourmet burgers and toasted wraps to handcrafted cocktails and delicious wines at this Hub City gem.
What it's known for: Placing an emphasis on fresh ingredients and Day of the Dead decor, Willy Taco separates itself from other restaurants in Sparkle City. South Carolina Chef Ambassador William Cribb heads the kitchen at Willy Taco and keeps the menu fresh with delicious creations. Get your fiesta on and be sure to try the tacos, tortas and tequila!