At the Chef’s Table, a Greenville Food Tour {Greenville, SC}

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Looking back over the past two posts, I’m just baffled by how much food and fun I crammed into my short weekend in Greenville!  Nichole of Gap Creek Gourmet sure knows how to show a gal a good time!  I’ve got one last post to share with y’all, and it’s food-filled doozy.

Greenville History Tours

Nearly every Tuesday night and Saturday afternoon, John Nolan, owner of Greenville History Tours, leads a group of food lovers around downtown Greenville to check out some of the area’s most popular restaurants.  He has two food tours–the At the Chef’s Table Tour and the Tastes of the South Tour–both of which cost $45 and last for 2.5 to 3 hours.  During my visit, I went on the Chef’s Table Tour, a unique, behind-the-scenes, VIP excursion on which we sampled signature dishes at five area restaurants AND met each of the chefs behind the food.  Five amazing dishes, five alcoholic beverages, time with the chefs, plus tidbits of Greenville history and architectural facts make this tour an awesome value.  If you’re looking for things to do in Greenville, I can’t think of a better way to spend the day than on this Greenville food tour!


TOUR STOP #1:  Soby’s on the Side

Each of the stops on John’s Chef Table tour are part of the Table 301 restaurant empire, and our first destination was Soby’s on the Side.  Soby’s on the Side is located right next to Soby’s (more on that restaurant below).  It’s a breakfast and lunch joint (with breakfast offered all day and brunch on the weekends), and they also handle all of the catering for the Table 301 group.

Our tasting plate featured their interesting take on steak and eggs:  filet mignon, orange marmalade, sorghum syrup, egg yolk, and green onion, with a mimosa on the side.

sobys on the side steak


TOUR STOP #2: Nose Dive

After our breakfast tasting, we headed over to Nose Dive, a gastropub that serves lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends.  At Nose Dive, they take the term “gastropub” seriously–they’re striving for food forwardness, to be more than just a bar.  They’ve got some traditional pub food on the menu (burgers, fish and chips, and tater tots, to name a few), but the menu also feature unexpected dishes like pekin duck, potato gnocchi, and steamed mussels, plus a dark chocolate candied bacon brownie.  Yes, please.

While we sampled a dish of hearty pot roast with creamy Anson Mills grits, sweet heirloom carrots, and blistered tomato (and a beer), Chef Craig Kunhs talked about his home gardening practices, and how he feels it helps him to better understand the products he buys from local farmers to use in the restaurant.  

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Restaurant Roundup: Bacon Bros Public House, Passerelle Bistro, & Roost Restaurant {Greenville, SC}

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imageBacon Bros Public House has been open for less than two years, but many people in town have already declared it one of Greenville’s best restaurants.  Located on Pelham Road, a 15 minute drive from downtown Greenville, the kitchen at this meat mecca is headed up by Chef Anthony Gray (who previously served as the executive chef at High Cotton in Charleston), while the front of the house is the stomping ground for general manager Jason Callaway, who worked with Chef Gray at Coal Fired Bistro (also located on Pelham Road).  As a sommelier and mixologist, Jason is the mastermind behind Bacon Bros’ inventive cocktail list as well as the new reserve wine list offerings.  I met these two fellas during my visit to Greenville with Nichole of Gap Creek Gourmet, and was enamored with this duo of fun-loving jokesters.

The food at Bacon Bros is what I’d call farm-to-table, southern-inspired gastrofare–it’s comforting and hearty, and, sure, they’ve got the southern standards covered, but their urbanized approach has upped the ante.  Pimento cheese?  They serve it up with bacon jam.  Mac and cheese?  Theirs has bacon and chiles.  The burgers?  Made with a house-ground mixture of bacon, brisket, and beef chuck.  Jonesin for some pulled pork?  How bout pulled pork shoulder with cornmeal and country ham waffles (yep, there’s hunks of ham right in the batter), sorghum BBQ sauce, and creamy slaw?  It’s awesome, believe you me, and it was my favorite of all the dishes I devoured at Bacon Bros.

Bacon Bros - Pulled Pork w Waffles

When you’re visiting a place with “bacon” in the name, especially one that cures, smokes, and dries all their meats in house, you’d be remiss to pass on the charcuterie offerings.  The term “in-house” used here is literal–there’s a glass-enclosed curing room near the rear of the restaurant, where you can see the Bacon Bros pride and joy:  all-natural, pasture-raised meats from South Carolina farms, which they pitt smoke with South Carolina peach wood.  They even sell packs of their peach wood smoked bacon to-go for $9.  How’s that for bringing home the bacon?

Bacon Bros -- house-cured meat

There are half a dozen “snacks” (or small plates)  on the menu, including tater tots with smoked pork shoulder, sticky bacon caramel popcorn, and cornmeal fried pickles with smoked ranch.  I imagine most people come to Bacon Bros to eat themselves to the brink of meat sweats (I know I was successful in this mission), but if salad is your thing there are several interesting options, like the frisee topped with a poached farm-fresh egg, kale with grilled fig and lardo (cured meat) vinaigrette, or arugula with lamb ham, apples, and pistachios.

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Greenville, South Carolina. Who knew?

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Greenville Downtown 2

I hadn’t a clue what to expect as I set out on the hour-and-a-half drive from Charlotte to Greenville, down in upstate South Carolina.  I’d heard some things–mostly that is was a lively city with a great food scene–but still, I was hit with an unexpected surprise when I rolled down Main Street that first time.  Downtown Greenville is ADORABLE, with its tree-lined streets, each adorned with cute little shops and boutiques plus restaurants galore.

Greenville Downtown

My first stop on the trip was to meet up with my new friend Nichole of Gap Greek Gourmet.  It was a cold and rainy day, so the subterranean oasis  that is Coffee Underground felt especially cozy while we enjoyed a quick warm up of the caffeinated variety.  I loved the place so much, that I came back once more during my short time in Greenville for a cappuccino and warm cinnamon chip scone while getting in some computer time.  It was fun and nostalgic sitting there listening to the conversations of the Greenvillians (did I make this term up?), many of whom were college students studying for what appeared to be an upcoming history exam.

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After coffee, Nichole and I headed above ground to check out some of the shops on Main Street.  We stopped into the infamous Mast General Store, and I was super excited by their candy selection.  Every time I see Mallo Cups, I think of my mom (since they were one of her favorite childhood candies), and Mast had dark-chocolate mallo cups!!?!  I managed to exercise some self-control since I had a feeling I’d be eating my face off later that day, but I’m kicking myself for not picking up a pack!

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