Reconnecting people to the food they eat by using locally grown ingredients—this drives the farm-to-table movement embraced by so many of South Carolina’s most-lauded restaurants. In Greenville, that goal goes just a little deeper at a growing number of dining destinations. When you sit down to a thoughtfully prepared meal made with seasonal produce from nearby farms, you are getting the finest locavore experience to be had anywhere.
At some area restaurants, however, dishes boast a hyperlocal vibe thanks to ingredients sourced from on-site or restaurant-operated gardens and farms. The chefs at these establishments take things a bit deeper by embracing a seed-to-table aesthetic, often sinking their own hands into the soil to cultivate fruits, vegetables and herbs to either fill in the gaps not covered by local farms or, in some cases, to serve as the sole source of produce for their operations.
This commitment to sustainability is as delicious as it is inspirational. Here are four Greenville area restaurants where the food on your plate is often grown and handpicked right on the premises.
Topsoil Kitchen & Market, Travelers Rest
The joint project of three friends with a passion for meaningful dining, Topsoil Kitchen pivots on what issues from its own farm as well as those in the vicinity. Cucumbers, radishes, turnips, beets, corn, tomatoes, carrots and more are grown at Topsoil Farm, which burgeons just 2.5 miles down the road from the restaurant. Housed in a historic building that was once a hardware store, guests of Topsoil are always in for a plant-forward treat and top-notch, creative dishes from Chef Adam Cooke, semifinalist for the 2020 James Beard award for Best Chef in the Southeast.
Oak Hill Café and Farm, Greenville
Fresh and sustainable foods direct from its farm—that’s the calling card of Oak Hill Café. Behind the restaurant, which operates in a renovated farmhouse, is 2.4 acres of land on which permaculture techniques are applied resulting in prolific crops of fresh produce. A 2020 James Beard semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, Oak Hill’s organic, no-till farm produces ginger, turmeric, finger limes, lettuces, beets, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, kale, cucumbers and much more. They also grow a dozen varieties of mushrooms using logs cut from the property. Chef David Porras and owner Lori Nelsen are constantly envisioning new dishes and uses for the farm’s beautiful bounty.
The Anchorage, West Greenville
Another local semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant in 2018, The Anchorage is a hotspot for small plates expertly crafted by Executive Chef Gregory MacPhee. Much of its produce is grown just minutes away in a unique partnership with Horseshoe Farm. The restaurant works hand-in-hand with the grower to keep the Anchorage kitchen well stocked with a steady flow of produce. Organic practices and the latest farming techniques are in full force to ensure each dish is not just local, but exceptional.
Move over kangaroo, elk, buffalo, antelope, alligator and ostrich. This field-to-table restaurant now has a farm-to-table dynamic as well thanks to the establishment of its on-site gardens. A longtime vision of owner Edmund Woo, growing vegetables could not come to fruition until the restaurant was relocated to a plot of land big enough for tilling the earth and sowing some seeds. Sustainability is job one here, and growing herbs and produce is an essential component of that concept. Radishes, turnips, lettuces and greens, beans and more are grown in plots surrounding the restaurant. The gardens are always burgeoning with seasonal things, including flowers and colorful foliage, which enhances the overall Saskatoon experience.