In South Carolina, barbecue is standard fare in virtually every community from the Lowcountry to the Upstate. So, no one would be surprised to find exceptional smoked brisket, ribs and pork in the small town of Pendleton.
But this Upstate community of just 3,000-plus residents also offers a surprising array of dining options befitting a much larger city. Here are some of the great choices you’ll find in Pendleton:
The Smokin’ Pig – You’re in South Carolina, so you’re going to want to get your barbecue fix. And there’s no better place to do it than at this longtime favorite. The menu is full and flavorful with all the traditional offerings—smoked ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, chopped chicken, and of course, plenty of amazing sides. It’s the top ‘cue pick of Clemson football coach Dabo Sweeney. Need I say more?
1826 On the Green – Located in the historic Farmers Society Meeting Hall, this charming bistro features an inviting patio with umbrella-shaded tables and a sophisticated lunch and dinner menu offering seasonal dishes like yellow melon and tomato gazpacho, fig and lemon panna cotta and cashew-fried cauliflower.
Blue Heron Restaurant & Sushi Bar – Winner of multiple Wine Spectator awards, this popular restaurant offers innovative, locally sourced cuisine with a variety of selections from pizzas, pastas and sandwiches to delicious seafood, beef and pork entrees. The sushi bar features raw, cooked and tempura fried rolls and nigiri made with fresh tuna, farm-raised salmon, Hamachi, snapper and shellfish.
The Village Bakery & Cafe – Located in Pendleton Square, this hip little dining spot has become a local institution with its classic dishes and decadent pastries and cookies. Ask to sit near the open bakery to watch the culinary artists at work. Open for breakfast and lunch.
Dyar’s Diner – Enjoy delicious home-cooked Southern food at this family restaurant. We’re talking fried fish, country steak and fried chicken with classic sides like mac and cheese, turnip greens and black-eyed peas. Be sure to leave room for dessert, too.
Mama Rae’s Ice Cream Shoppe – Offering “scoops on the square,” Mama Rae’s shop is tiny but it has ample room in its courtyard, with a variety of diversions from checkers and cornhole to a race car mat and fairy garden. Along with ice cream cones and cups, you’ll find offerings like the Krispy Kreme Dream, a sundae featuring ice cream in the glazed donut’s hole.
Viva Wine Bar – White, red, rosé and sparkling—whatever your preference—you’ll enjoy it from your seat in the outdoor patio overlooking the historic downtown.
Swamp Bar Distilling – Home of Pure Corruption Rum, this distillery produces small-batch, hand-crafted aged and un-aged rums in a custom-built Alembic Pot Still. It’s open for tours and tastings as well as bottle and cocktail purchases.