The Daily Gamecock

Parents Weekend: Good eats in Columbia


Nestled in the heart of South Carolina, USC is booming with on- and off-campus restaurant options for students and parents. Whether you’re looking for a speedy snack or an elegant family dinner, Columbia won’t disappoint.

For a casual and quick fix, check out Cool Beans Coffee Company or Tio's Mexican Cafe, both located near the Horseshoe. Cool Beans offers a variety of breakfast sandwiches, coffees and lunch specials for dining in or taking out, and you’ll want the bowls of queso at Tio's to keep on coming. Groucho’s Deli, located in Five Points, also features gourmet sandwiches and specialty sauces.

If you’re looking for an international flair to your food, try TakoSushi on Assembly Street. As hinted at by its name, tacos and other Mexican dishes as well as sushi and other Japanese dishes can be found on the menu, making it quite the crowd-pleaser. Menkoi Ramen House, located in The Vista, also serves a much-upgraded version of what we all know as every college student’s go-to food: ramen. If European food is more your style, Il Giorgione at 2406 Devine St. offers a variety of authentic pizzas and pastas, like the Rigatoni al Dorato (rigatoni in a slightly spicy Bolognese sauce) and, if you’re over by the Columbiana Centre, The British Bulldog Pub features uniquely British cuisine and even mustard mashed potatoes for adventurous eaters.

Columbia also features a variety of American restaurants. You won’t find a more traditionally southern menu than at Lizard’s Thicket with its fried chicken, fried okra and banana pudding. For those who enjoy a good burger, Burger Tavern 77’s name, believe it or not, comes from its selection of 77 toppings. So in case you were ever disappointed that you couldn’t put creole remoulade or pineapple salsa on your burger at McDonald's or Five Guys Burgers and Fries, look no further than Burger Tavern 77 at 2631 Devine St.

For a fancier American meal, seafood restaurants are often the way to go in the city. Pearlz Oyster Bar in The Vista serves a large variety of fresh shellfish dishes, such as Baked Oysters Rockefeller and shrimp and grits, as well as tacos, steaks and sandwiches. Nearby, Blue Marlin is another spot to hit for seafood inspired by dishes from the Lowcountry. 

But not all of Columbia’s more formal restaurants are devoted to seafood. Yesterdays Restaurant & Tavern, often recognized as the restaurant with the bathtub on the roof, and Liberty Tap Room have very diverse menus and friendly atmospheres.

And, to finish off the weekend the right way with a Sunday brunch, parents and students will find that Columbia is packed with possibilities. Cafe Strudel and @116 Espresso & Wine Bar are a quick drive away from the city. If one is too crowded, the other is just a short walk down the road. Eggs Up Grill is another favorite, located past Five Points, which features a variety of omelets, as well as other traditional breakfast plates.