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Savor Rock Hill’s Gastronomic Diversity

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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Play hard. Eat heartily. In Rock Hill, the two go hand-in-hand.

With all of Rock Hill’s many recreational offerings, it’s no wonder the historic city boasts a vibrant dining scene, offering visitors lots of options to refuel, relax and revel in their day’s adventures.

From comfort food to fine dining to fun bars and breweries, Rock Hill has you covered, whatever your mood or budget.

Who would think an old industrial pump house for a chemical plant could be converted into a refined tablecloth restaurant offering Southern-inspired American cuisine? The Pump House is all the proof you’ll need to be sold on the concept.

Overlooking the Catawba River, this innovative five-story restaurant features a covered balcony, rooftop bar and a 14-foot, temperature-controlled wine cellar housing more than 900 bottles of wine. The menu showcases products from the Carolinas and includes such favorites as the two-day brined pork chop served with pimento cheese Anson Mills grits, bacon Brussels sprouts and bourbon pork jus.

Another incredibly successful transformation, Legal Remedy Brewery was created out of a vacant auto dealership. The hip custom craft brewery features indoor and outdoor seating, along with 24 house taps that rotate weekly and an equally diverse menu of appetizing dishes. Their specialty is house-smoked meats. If you really want to go hog wild, order the Pint O’Bacon. It’s not on the menu, but it’s a house favorite.

In Old Town Rock Hill, you’ll find several other fun dining spots, including Flipside Cafe, offering locally sourced cuisine created by owners and chefs John and Amy Fortes. In 2017, Amy Fortes was selected as one of South Carolina’s Chef Ambassadors for promoting the state’s culinary heritage and local food culture. Among her signature dishes is “Amy’s Pimento Cheese,” served as an appetizer with crispy fried pretzels and on burgers, sandwiches and charcuterie boards.

As the name implies, Burgers & Barley is known for its burgers and beer, but the menu also features signature salads and several awesome mac and cheese sides. The casual setting includes a bar, booths and patio seating.

Despite its laid-back island-style ambiance, Michael’s Rock Hill Grille has an impressive menu of seafood, pasta, beef and chops, along with classic burgers and sandwiches. Whatever you choose, you’ll find just the right tropical drink to complement your meal.

For pizza, try Millstone Pizza + Taproom, offering the perfect combination of Neapolitan pizzas and craft beer. The pies are made with Antimo Caputo 00 flour from Italy and topped with farm-to-table cheeses and freshly made pizza sauce. The menu includes a dozen varieties of pizza from the Meatball Pie to Sausage and Goat.

As local favorites go, the White Horse is one not to miss. Along with the usual menu items, this family-friendly tavern serves up quiche, casseroles and a variety of loaded spuds.

Rock Hill also offers plenty of international cuisines.

In the tradition of the Emerald Isle’s neighborhood taverns, McHale’s Irish Pub on Main Street offers a relaxed, friendly atmosphere to enjoy classic Irish dishes like corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, fish and chips and, of course, pints of Guinness. The menu also includes American standards like burgers, wings, sandwiches and wraps.

If you have a hankering for Asian cuisine, try the family-run Thi’s Place on Main, known for its authentic Vietnamese cuisine. The pork vermicelli noodle bowl is amazing. In the same vein, NC Noodle Bar specializes in curry and noodle dishes from the classic Pad Thai to green, red and yellow curry.

South of the border options include Los Cantaritos, named for a traditional Mexican cocktail served in a handmade clay jug. The menu features modernized Mexican cuisine, from steak, pork and chicken to seafood dishes authentic to Nayarit along the western Mexican coast.

For Greek food, Nishie G’s Café is a great choice. It offers 16 different pita sandwiches or wraps, including Souvlaki and the ever-popular gyro, along with subs, sandwiches, burgers and salads.

If your plans take you to Riverwalk for a cycling event, a paddle on the Catawba River or a walk on the Piedmont Medical Center Trail, stop by the Grapevine for a glass of wine or a cold craft beer. Open to the outdoors, the wine bar hosts weekly events, including game nights, wine tastings and Mutts & Mimosas from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays.

So, get out there and work up an appetite. Then reward yourself with a great meal in Rock Hill.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.