City Portrait

Greenville: Where to Eat & Drink

Indoors and out, by foot or by bike, Greenville is full of surprises

Photo: Andrew Stephen Cebulka

Rabbit at American Grocery.

Where to Eat

American Grocery Restaurant
Ditching big-city careers in Hollywood and the Big Apple, Joe and Darlene Clarke returned home to South Carolina to open this cozy restaurant, where Joe helms the kitchen and Darlene runs the wine program. The menu changes weekly (even daily), depending on what the Clarkes’ army of farmers bring in, but rabbit and maple-glazed pork belly are sure bets and nearly always on hand. Don’t miss the Pig on the Porch, a craft cocktail made with house-infused bacon bourbon and Blenheim ginger ale and garnished with a homemade pork rind. 732 S. Main St.;

The Bohemian
After a Saturday night on the town, the Bohemian, in Greenville’s hip North Main neighborhood, is a favorite for its leisurely Sunday brunch. The food is hearty, from hand-battered French toast made with fresh ciabatta to the greasy-good Trucker’s Special (with made-from-scratch biscuits and gravy). The build-your-own Bloody Mary bar is the best hangover balm in town. 2B W. Stone Ave.;

The Lazy Goat
Weather permitting, it’s a good bet the riverfront patio at this Mediterranean-style eatery will be packed. But not to worry: Chef Vicky Moore’s tapas are just as enjoyable inside. House specialties include Moroccan lamb, pistachio-dusted fried goat cheese, truffled pommes frites with chipotle ketchup, and superb sangria. 170 River Place;

OJ’s Diner
The lunch line of regulars clues you in that this soul-food institution isn’t your average meat-and-three. The fried chicken is hard to top, but diners in the know save room for sweet potato cobbler. The only downside? It’s closed on weekends.907 Pendleton St.; 864-235-2539

Photo: Andrew Stephen Cebulka

Barbecue and sides at Smokin’ Stokes.

Smokin’ Stokes
As at any self-respecting barbecue joint, there are no paper menus here, just chalkboards above the cash register. Though the original owners sold the place a few years back, the legendary Cheerwine BBQ sauce remains. You can’t go wrong with the pork platter, but the barbecue-smothered spuds are like a whole new food group. 1622 Augusta St.;

Photo: Andrew Stephen Cebulka

The well-stocked bar at Soby’s.

When Carl Sobocinski opened his eatery in 1997 in a onetime shoe store, nobody gave it much of a shot. Main Street was still more drive-through than destination. But residents have since learned not to underestimate Sobocinski, who now has a stake in five area restaurants, and Soby’s has become the nexus of Greenville’s burgeoning food scene. Chef Shaun Garcia serves contemporary Southern cuisine, such as his spicy New Orleans–meets–Charleston version of shrimp and grits, and the buttermilk drop biscuits are downright addictive. 207 S. Main St.; 

Where to Drink

Addy’s Dutch Café
If you’re after a quiet spot to enjoy drinks with friends, you can’t do better than Addy’s. Amsterdam native Addy Sulley serves stout foreign brews and flavorful Dutch fare at his laid-back bar and restaurant off Main. House specials include Wed-nesday-night schnitzel and way-better-than-it-sounds mustard soup. 17 E. Coffee St; 864-232-2339

Smiley’s Acoustic Café
At this West End watering hole, you can find everyone from college students to the doctor-lawyer set enjoying nightly live shows, which offer plenty of good bluegrass, jazz, and blues. Stop in on a Thursday night for one of Smiley’s parking-lot pig pickin’s. 111 Augusta St.;

Trappe Door
Australian snowboarder turned Greenville restaurateur Josh Beeby opened this Belgian-inspired pub in the basement under his first venture, Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria. Exposed-wood ceilings, warm red walls, and comfortable booths invite patrons to linger over classic moules frites and a pint (or two) of roughly 160 different Belgian brews. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a sour lambic from the Brussels-based brewery Cantillon. 23 W. Washington St.;