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Try Judy’s at the Market's Tasty, Local Fare

Gwen Fowler Gwen Fowler
Enjoy the scents and flavors of Judy's at the Market as you shop for locally grown groceries and goods.

If you haven't made it to the new South Carolina Farmer's Market in Columbia yet, make plans to go at lunchtime.

The market has a restaurant now that serves up southern staples while using ingredients from the market and fresh, not frozen, local meats.

S.C. Insiders Editor Chrysti Shain stopped by Sunday to check it out, and here's what she found:

Judy's at the Market is nicely appointed, with high-back booths, comfortable, leather chairs, granite tables and flat-screen televisions on the walls, turned to a recap of the latest Gamecock baseball triumph, of course.

It's been open for lunch and dinner about a month, and proprietor Judy Brown plans to open for breakfast soon, hopefully in July, she said. The menu is still being tweaked, but the philosophy "fresh, health, local," is constant. The restaurant uses as many ingredients from the market as possible, in addition to local, high-quality meats.

Highlights of our lunch included the chicken and dumplings, nicely seasoned sauteed mixed vegetables and okra soup, which was full of vegetables, okra, sausage and chicken.

And that delicious carrot cake cupcake? Made with carrots from the market, of course.

Some other popular menu items include meatloaf, fried chicken livers, hand-breaded fried okra and burgers made from prime, grass-fed beef.

Judy's has a real diner feel, with the traditional dessert cases up front and a counter with single seats. And just like a diner, Judy was buzzing about, chatting with patrons, clearing tables and directing the kitchen. It was nice to see.

Our only regret? We didn't try the macaroni and cheese, hand-cut french fries or hand-battered fried chicken, which looked terrific. That sounds like a recipe for another trip!

Gwen Fowler
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