From the upcountry to the midlands to the coast, you’ll find all your favorite hamburger and pizza joints. They may be your usual, but you’ve come so far, why not go local when in South Carolina?
When your games are on the edge of the continent, you should probably enjoy the fresh catch of the day before you leave. From North Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head Island, you’ll find no shortage of seafood restaurants from award-winning white tablecloth spots to delicious fish shacks. The all-you-can-eat seafood buffets are also a favorite of visiting families. Every local has a favorite, but visitors cannot go wrong checking their destination’s website and TripAdvisor. One caution is in order: Do not be fooled into believing the 170-item is better than the 140- item buffet. After all, how many types of coleslaw can you eat?
A true southern classic and a favorite lunch or dinner option with many South Carolinians is the Meat and Three. Either off the menu, or on a small buffet, you’ll have a choice of a meat entrée, most likely, fried chicken, pork chops, fried fish, beef stew, or sausage. Next, you’ll add three vegetables from a wide selection that’s offered for the day, including greens, green beans, butter beans, okra, corn, succotash, fries, mashed potatoes or mac and cheese. Yes, macaroni and cheese counts
as a vegetable. The Meat and Three and its big brother, the country buffet, are for many southerners reminiscent of the type of cooking they experienced Sunday at grandmother’s house.
When it comes to South Carolina food, barbecue has a special place in many hearts. The birthplace of barbecue is also the home of the official four sauces – mustard, vinegar and pepper, light tomato and heavy tomato. Here, the pit masters still carry on the time-honored tradition of cooking pulled pork slow and low, the slower the better. Many of the barbecue restaurants in South Carolina have always been a family affair with the pit master methods passed from generation to generation. So, how does a visitor identify a good barbecue joint? One restaurant owner states he needs to see smoke, smell smoke and see a wood pile before he stops. To hear what barbecue experts recommend and to download a complete guide to the South Carolina Barbecue Trail visit online (discoversouthcarolina.com/barbecue).
Being a mostly rural state with an agricultural heritage and culture, the farm to fork movement of using fresh local ingredients has come naturally to the Palmetto State’s chefs and restaurant owners. It’s the rule rather then the exception to see a restaurant’s menu alive with local ingredients. That’s the foundation of farm freshness and South Carolina’s finest eateries are onboard. The Fresh on the Menu program includes participating restaurants that agree to prepare menus that dedicate a minimum of 25 percent of their ingredients as certified South Carolinagrown products. A complete list of restaurants is online. (freshonthemenu.com)
As you travel through South Carolina, take a few minutes to look for the certified roadside market signs and stop to see what’s fresh. Here are a few of our favorites that travel well. Pecans make wonderful holiday pies and South Carolina is second only to California in peaches grown. Local farmed tomatoes make a great sandwich and if you haven’t eaten boiled peanuts, try a few out of the kettle. Pimento cheese is known as the caviar of the south and locally ground grits, corn meal and flour will only enhance your wonderful South Carolina visit.