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Savor the Flavor of a Small Mountain Town

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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If you want to eat well in Pickens, follow the locals. The best dining spots in town may not be fancy, but the eating is pure small-town goodness.

Here are some local favorites sure to please your palate:

Pumpkintown General Store and Cafe – Some old-timers call this the heart of Pickens with its homey, country feel and friendly service. Whether you come in for breakfast or lunch, you’re sure to leave with a full belly and a smile on your face.

Pumpkintown Mountain Opry – It bills itself as a hometown coffee and ice cream shop offering a selection of locally roasted coffee, lattes and smoothies. But you owe it to yourself to try the deli-style lunch served Thursday through Monday and the smoked barbecue that’s available weekends.

Heidi’s – Chow down on some doggone good hotdogs, served plain in a hotdog bun or topped with anything and everything from chili and slaw to jalapeño relish and dill chips. For an extra-special treat, order the “Sizzler,” a deep-fried wiener wrapped in bacon.

Aunt Sue’s Country Corner – Enjoy family-style, home-cooked soups and sandwiches in a homey setting complete with checkerboards and rocking chairs. On Friday nights, Aunt Sue’s features a seafood buffet and toe-tapping, live entertainment. Sunday afternoons, they change things up with a country buffet. Ice cream and homemade fudge are always on the menu!

Soapstone Baptist Church Fish Fry – This event, held the third Saturday of the month at the historic church, is legendary around Pickens so, expect crowds. Along with the classic fried fish, Mable Clarke and her helpers serve up a mean fried chicken, pulled pork and barbecue ribs. Be sure to save room for the pies and cakes!

Coyote Coffee Cafe – If your dining tastes fall more in line with foodies, check out this trendy spot in downtown Pickens. The daily specials include protein shakes, real fruit smoothies and fresh-to-order breakfast sandwiches. You’ll also find plenty of delicious options for breakfast and lunch, and, of course, a wide array of specialty coffees.

Appalachian Ale House – Located on Main Street, this speakeasy-style taproom features a craft beverage bar, interesting snack foods, a mercantile store and regularly scheduled events, including Yoga and Pint Night, Trivia Night and live music featuring local artists.

The Rock Restaurant and Bar – The restaurant and bar for The Rock Golf Club & Resort, it’s a great spot for a really good burger and salad. On colder days, they crank up the fireplace for a cozy dining experience.

Burning Brick Tavern – This friendly, laid-back watering hole serves up flavorful burgers, sandwiches and wraps, specialty drinks, wine and ice-cold beer. If you enjoy mingling with the locals, this is the place to go in Pickens.

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.