The Daily Gamecock

A taste of local restaurants

Ready for something different than ramen and microwaveable mac-and-cheese? Here are our suggestions for local restaurants with meals your parents will love (and hopefully pay for). This Parents Weekend, consider heading to one of these local gems. 

1801 Grille

Scrambling last minute to find a worthwhile place for lunch, we decided on 1801 Grille, across the street from Colonial Life Arena. 

With the servers’ blue and white checkered shirts, old-timey music and black-and-white pictures on the walls, 1801 Grille immediately imposed a sense of nostalgia that is “fashioned after a classic American tavern,” according to its website. 

A few dishes that stood out to me that I didn’t get to try are the house made duck sausage pizza, brick oven smoked chicken and oyster po’ boy. 

1801 Grille is Harper’s Restaurant Group’s effort to provide a new-American tavern themed around the history of USC. From traditional tavern fare — burgers, pub chips, house-made fries — to more sophisticated entrees, any diner can find something they will be excited to order here. 

Being one of three families in the restaurant, we were seated and greeted by our server promptly. She was both personable and knowledgeable about the menu, able to give recommendations and make suggestions ensuring the best meal possible. 

I ordered the grilled spicy chicken sandwich with a side of house chips and ranch dressing. The dish was presented enticingly, and I was more than excited to face the expected spiciness of a spicy chicken sandwich. However, I was disappointed with a chile sauce that had much more sweetness than heat. The kale slaw and pickles that came on the sandwich did a great job of adding bitter and acidic components to balance out the sweetness. 

The house chips were tasty, not over-salted and had a perfect balance between chewy and crunchy. The ranch was homemade and also delicious. 

The bar offers an assortment of local craft beers, signature cocktails, and international wines.

Offering locally-sourced ingredients and unique dishes alongside the traditional TV-and-a-burger experience, 1801 Grille is a tavern for everyone. This restaurant is great if you’re looking for American food from a newer restaurant that respects and acknowledges the history and future of USC and Columbia.

1801 Grille is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The War Mouth

Hidden on Franklin Street next to an auto repair shop, its small, all-white front accented by a large red garage door surprises guess with the restaurant’s unexpected spaciousness. White-washed bricks continue the theme of the outside, but with high, vaulted ceilings and wooden everything. 

The War Mouth, offering only a small selection of soups, salads and sandwiches, does everything exquisitely well. I could hear numerous guests raving over the meal placed in front of them before I even had the chance to order.

Even though I'm not a huge fan of coleslaw or duck, I took a risk and went with the duck confit sandwich with a side of slaw. All sandwiches come with a house-made pickle.

After hearing “runner” yelled out of the kitchen window that connects directly into the dining room, I knew my food was coming before I even saw it. 

The sandwich was full of flavor, and my only complaint would be the bread’s inability to hold it all together. I surprised myself with a completely empty side bowl of slaw. The house-made “pickle” was not a pickled cucumber but a bright yellow pickled tomato that tasted just like a traditional pickle with less acidity. 

If you’re afraid to try something new, there definitely are safer options, such as the pimento cheese grilled cheese and griddle burger. 

The restaurant is open for dinner, but prices tend to be higher and the menu is equally as small. However, based on my experience at lunch, I’d be happy to pay what’s required for a guaranteed mind-blowing dinner. 

The War Mouth is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner. Sundays, it is open from 12 a.m. to 3 p.m. The bar stays open between lunch and dinner.


Publico's foliage-covered exterior and brightly lit sign are the perfect attractor for hungry Five Points wanderers. Walking in, immediately greeted by welcoming hostesses and loud conversations, don’t be surprised if you’re put on a fast-moving waitlist.   

Publico is a Latin-Asian fusion restaurant with a large assortment of craft beers on tap from everywhere across the country. Almost any food within the Latin and Asian spectrums can be found here, from burritos to ramen and everything in between.

Looking forward to an open-air meal on a cooler-than-normal Friday night, I was disappointed that the garage doors were left closed. However, both the hostess’s and server’s allowance to let us move tables made for a comfortable meal. 

One of the first things I noticed while sitting down was the assortment of five homemade hot sauces, ranging from “Caribbean Lime” to “Ghost Chile.” My favorite was the smoky and spicy “Red Habanero.”

We started off with the homemade guacamole and homemade queso. The guacamole left much to be desired. Oversalted, its texture mirrored that of a store-bought kind. The queso was light, fluffy and fortunately not like others that have been so heavy to ruin my appetite. 

Publico offers a great deal of two tacos with one side for $10. This can be extended to five tacos and two sides for $20 or ten tacos and five side for $31.50 — great for a group of friends. As for myself, I went with the two-taco deal.

I chose the carnitas and pork belly fillings for my tacos. The pork belly, an already rich meat, didn’t need to be fried, but I enjoyed the complementing sweet potato spread. The pork in the carnitas-filled taco had a great, barbecue-like flavor. My side was a mediocre, cheese-smothered Mexican street corn.

Our server was friendly, attentive and accommodating to food allergies and dietary preferences. She was willing to help make any dish vegetarian and double-checked with the kitchen on all allergies. 

Overall, I feel Publico has potential to serve a satisfying meal if you order the right things; the tacos were fresh and had excellent flavor. I feel that the “fusion” aspect of the restaurant distracts from what it does best: Latin cuisine. Save the burgers, sashimi and bulgogi beef for another time. 

Publico is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday through Saturday 11 a.m.  to 12 a.m. and Sunday 10:30 am- to 11 p.m.