Most people warn freshmen about the iconic “freshman 15,” but what many incoming freshmen aren't prepared for is the impending eventual monotony of the dining hall. There are only so many times a week you can eat Chick-Fil-A nuggets or a bagel from Einstein’s. To break this routine, below are three different restaurants in Columbia at three different price points.
Option 1: Original Pancake House - $
Where: 4840 Forest Drive
Hours: Monday – Friday 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday/Sunday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Located in Trenholm Plaza, the Original Pancake House is only a 15 minute drive from campus. It offers traditional breakfast comfort foods — think IHOP, but better. It’s the perfect spot for a quaint brunch date or for a late night breakfast-for-dinner rendezvous. Obviously, the pancakes are the star of the menu, but OPH also has stellar scrambled eggs. Items range in price between $3.95 to $9.25. Additionally, there are lots of options for those with small stomachs that enjoy smaller plates. If you’re going on a weekend, plan to get there early because the place gets busy, but tables are seated very quickly — usually with a short wait.
Option 2: Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Ale House - $$
Where: 900 Main Street
Hours: Monday - Thursday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday/Saturday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Hunter-Gatherer is a great casual eatery within walking distance of campus. Located near the corner of Main and College streets, this restaurant/brewery is great for a first date or for hanging out with friends in a slightly more upscale setting. It offers everything from delicious and creative pizzas, sandwiches and burgers to more eclectic options including pan-seared duck breast and prince edward mussels. Hunter-Gatherer also offers a beautiful aesthetic for Instagram-worthy food pictures, and a laid back environment whether you chose to dine inside or outside. No reservations are needed, and a typical meal will cost around $10 to $20.
Option 3: Pearlz Oyster Bar - $$$
Where: 936 Gervais Street
Hours: Monday - Thursday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday noon to 11 p.m., Sunday noon to 10 p.m.
Located in the Vista, Pearlz is definitely the place to go if you’re down to spend a little bit more for an upscale dining experience. As the name suggests, Pearlz excels in all things seafood — from raw shellfish to Lowcountry recipe favorites like shrimp and grits. The restaurant has a full service raw bar and offers group seating. Meals typically cost between $16 to $25, but check their daily specials for deals on entrees. Bonus: Pearlz is attached to Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe, which is a great late night spot for milkshakes, cakes and espresso.