A terrific way to sample some of downtown Greenville's best restaurants is by doing a tapas crawl. Here are my suggestions for a small-plate itinerary, which will transport you in the culinary sense from the South to South-of-the-Border and beyond. Stops are arranged conveniently along Main Street from north to south. Bring some friends to share the fun!
First Stop: Roost Restaurant
Start at the north end of
Main Street at the Hyatt Regency's farm-to-table restaurant, Roost. Flatbreads here are a must with their thin and crispy crusts and toppings such as spinach, pesto and roasted chicken, which change with the season. Inspired by Mexican street food, the open-face duck confit "street tacos" should also figure on your menu. Just roll up the soft tacos, encasing rich duck confit, mild asiago cheese, a kick of pico de gallo, silky lime crema, and fresh cilantro, and take a delicious bite.
Insider's Tip: Weather permitting, stake out a table on the outdoor terrace and enjoy the people watching. Come sit outside on Thursday or Friday nights in spring and summer to enjoy live music on NOMA Square.
Second Stop: Soby's New South Cuisine
From the Hyatt Regency,
it's a short five-block walk to Soby's New South Cuisine,
where you can grab a high-top table in the bar area (near the front window walls that open onto the street in warm weather)
to snack on an appetizer that celebrates a match made in Southern heaven: fried
green tomatoes topped with pimento cheese fondue. Soby's creamy she-crab soup is another must-try. Spiked with aged sherry
and Old Bay seasoning, this delicious soup—said to have been created by a
Charleston butler in the mid-19th century—swims with luscious lump crabmeat.
Insider's Tip: If you're in downtown Greenville earlier in the day, be sure to stop at Soby's on the Side for breakfast, lunch, or a slice of the signature white chocolate banana cream pie!
Third Stop: Halls Chophouse
Further down the street and just over the bridge, you'll arrive at Halls Chophouse, a Charleston import that opened in Greenville early in 2016. Halls' airy, newly renovated space overlooks the Reedy River through a wall of windows, while the kitchen specializes in cooking the highest grade of USDA Prime beef to order, along with irresistible signature sides like loaded mashed potatoes and lobster mac and cheese. Stake out a high-top table in the popular bar area and indulge in a refreshing Greenville Cocktail (made with vodka, iced tea, Madeira, lemonade and mint). Then dive into a plate of decadent Halls Prime Steak Nachos, scooping up layers of tomatoes, avocados, cheddar cheese sauce, and sour cream as you go.
Insider's Tip: Live music plays here seven nights a week, and Happy Hour (4-6pm daily) includes $4 beer of the week, $5 well drinks, and $6 house wines.
Fourth Stop: The Lazy Goat
Continue down the sidewalk
by the river from Halls Chophouse,
passing the artists' studios of Art
Crossing at RiverPlace along the way. Just past the kids' splashy
fountain (the Swamp Rabbit Splash Track), climb the stairs by the water wall for Mediterranean fare at
the The Lazy Goat.
The menu here includes plenty of tapas portions, ranging from harissa-spiced hummus to Moroccan lamb, braised in a tomato base spiced with paprika, coriander, cumin and cinnamon. Your favorite item on the menu just might be a meal in itself: Lazy Paella. This shareable Valencian rice dish simmers Calasparra rice together with peas, shrimp, roasted chicken, chorizo, mussels, clams, calamari, and sofrito. Pair it with a glass of Spanish tempranillo from the Mediterranean-focused wine list.
Insider's Tip: Try for a seat on the outdoor patio, where you can enjoy a view of the river and listen to the rush of water tumbling down the water wall and nearby fountains.
Last Stop: American Grocery Restaurant
To cap off your culinary experience, head down to the West End along South Main Street and sample one of the trendy libations that head mixologist Kirk Ingram shakes up at the American Grocery Restaurant. Though the cocktail menu changes frequently, one classic is Pig on the Porch, a mix of house-made bacon-infused bourbon and Blenheim's ginger ale, garnished with a pork rind. You'll get a chance to chat with Kirk if you sit at the bar, where you can wind up the evening on a sweet note with seasonal Southern-inflected confections-maybe peach shortcake or cherry hand pies crowned with vanilla mascarpone cream. Chocolate lovers, however, will look no further than the dreamy dark chocolate pôt de crème.
Insider's Tip: Keep an eye out for American Grocery's new speakeasy, Vault & Vator, opening at 655 S. Main Street in spring 2017.
THAT Something Extra:
Sip-sational Sights and Sounds
If you're in the mood for another fun stop, experience the fresh night air and enjoy a bird's eye view of Main Street at the rooftop SIP Whiskey & Wine Bar. Give their WineEmotion machine a try for a unique sampling experience and check out the new menu of plates to share!