The Daily Gamecock

Restaurant Week is just around the corner. Here's what to expect

<p>Staff members work behind the bar at Smoked, located at 1643 Main St. in Columbia, South Carolina on Jan. 8, 2024. Smoked offers a variety of signature cocktails, in-house brewed beer and fine wines.</p>
Staff members work behind the bar at Smoked, located at 1643 Main St. in Columbia, South Carolina on Jan. 8, 2024. Smoked offers a variety of signature cocktails, in-house brewed beer and fine wines.

Chefs will try their hand at new, creative dishes as food-lovers of the Midlands will head to local restaurants to take advantage of a week dedicated to eating out.

Midlands Restaurant Week, an event hosted by the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, looks to help pull help pull customers back into the restaurant-scene after the slow, holiday season with promises of deals on favorite menu items, said Lenza Jolley, the vice president of membership and development at the association.

“People are kind of getting back into the swing of things after the holidays," Jolley said. "(People are) not going out to eat, and so we want to push visitors and locals into the restaurants."

Restaurant Week will take place from Jan. 11 to 21 and will have a variety of locally owned Columbia restaurants particpating in the event. During this time, restaurants feature uniquely crafted foods and introduce new items at more accessible price points menus, Jolley said.

For members of the industry, Restaurant Week is seen as an opportunity to grow their community, said Michael Duganier, the owner of Boku Kicthen + Saloon and Publico Kitchen & Tap.


Publico Kitchen & Tap sits at 2013 Greene St., Columbia, South Carolina, on Jan. 8, 2024. Publico is one of more than 40 restaurants particpating in the Midlands Restaurant Week.

“(The restaurants are) almost like a family helping each other out and recommending each other," Duganier said. "I just think it makes everything, it makes the world a better place in a way. It makes the community tighter, it makes people’s experiences more enjoyable."

David Turner, the executive director of events at Smoked, does marketing for several local restaurants in Columbia. Participating in Restaurant Week can also help encourage creativity in and across kitchens, he said.

“(Everyone is) going to see the absolute best of what the restaurants in the midlands have to offer and truly, one of their most creative moments in culinary creation,” Turner said.

These unique culinary experiences will be featured in local restaurants for customers to enjoy for the next 10 days. Here are just a few of the places that will be participating in Restaurant Week.

Boku Kitchen + Saloon

Boku is a pan-Asian restaurant located in the Vista. It offers dim sum brunches, including various cocktails, appetizers and brunch specials, as well as late night deals, including $1 dumplings and $5 appetizers.

Boku will be featuring a three-course dinner menu for $26. This includes a first course choice of Thai cucumber salad or wonton soup, a second course choice of general bob's chicken, vegetarian noodles or osso buco and a third course of dragon fruit cheesecake, made especially for Restaurant Week.

Good Life Cafe

Good Life Cafe is a health-focused restaurant located on Taylor Street that creates its dishes from plant-based foods. Good Life Cafe is featuring a lunch specially crafted for this week that includes a side salad with choice of dressing, a buffalo cauliflower quesadilla and a small smoothie of choice for $21. Additionally, it is offering half-off dinners from 4-8 p.m. 

Hanabi Hibachi & Sushi

Hanabi is a hibachi and sushi restaurant located on Main Street in downtown Columbia. Hanabi is offering half-off select lunch items and a four-course dinner for $30.

Its regular menu includes hibachi lunch and dinner options as well as a variety of sushi rolls.

Publico Kitchen & Tap

Publico is a Latin-Asian restaurant with locations in Five Points and at Bull Street. Publico is featuring a three-course lunch and dinner menu for $20. Year round, they offer meals like $12 taco platters, nacho plates for $12 to $14 and $9 to $10 quesadillas.

Robinson Room

Robinson Room, located on Main Street, serves cocktails, charcuterie boards, brunches, fondue, dessert and tapas. Robinson Room is offering a two-person dinner for $39.


Smoked is a high-end seafood and cocktails restaurant located on Main Street. Smoked is offering half-off select lunch options as well as a three-course dinner for $55.

The Grand

The Grand combines an upscale, casual dining experience with a high-end bowling alley. The Grand’s restaurant serves a variety of American foods and tacos as well as a Tiki Bar and is offering half-off lunch offerings and a three-course dinner for $55.

Restaurant Week features more than 40 locally-owned restaurants. For more information about each of their deals, visit the City of Columbia's website.