August Restaurant Roundup: SC Hidden Gems

This week, I’m swinging down to South Carolina for my August Restaurant Roundup, to share what’s cooking across state lines. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling across The Palmetto State this summer. Thought it was time to write about some of my favorite South Carolina places to eat and drink.

Taking this roundup of six sensational South Carolina spots to the airwaves

Excited, too, to share them with you on my August Restaurant Roundup for WCNC’s Charlotte Today. I’ll be on air with my friends Colleen Odegaard and Eugene Robinson, showcasing all of the eateries I mention here. The segment will air live on Wednesday Aug 21 sometime between 11 and noon!

Tune in live or live stream it from your phone or computer. In case you missed it all together – no worries. I’ve got it all for you here, in my follow up post to this initial August Restaurant Roundup. This second post includes more on the story and the people behind the success of these six SC stops, plus the video, plus – as a bonus read – six more South Carolina restaurants you need on your radar!

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August Restaurant Roundup: The Garden Cafe, 307 W Liberty St, York, SC

August restaurant roundup
The front porch of The Garden Cafe

The Garden Cafe is a combination event venue, shopping venue and Southern food cafe that offers more than just a satisfying dining experience. Its a feast for the senses and if you love to shop for fun ad funky home decor, you are in the right place!

Before or after you eat, plan for time to walk through the garden areas nestled in along the front porch. You’ll find everything, including the kitchen sink, repurposed as outdoor fountains, cute garden benches and then some.

August Restaurant roundup
To say the lighting at The Garden Cafe is unique isn’t the half of it – here a mattress spring lights up the shop adjacent to the restaurant.

Inside is a little shop with all kinds of kitchy reproductions of garden and farmhouse antiques, cool lighting and tons of fun home decor. Be sure to browse through while you wait for your table or after dinner is done.

August restaurant roundup
Garden Cafe’s fried chicken thigh’s with Alabama white sauce

On the menu all of your fried Southern favorites. For me, among the top picks was the fried chicken thighs with classic Alabama White BBQ sauce.

August Restaurant Round up
Fried Green Beans from The Garden Cafe

To start, you must order the Garden Cafe’s signature fried green bean appetizer. Forget the french fries – these crunchy green beans take the cake!

The Garden Cafe is closed on Sunday and Monday. Open for lunch Tues – Saturday and for dinner Thursday – Saturday.

August Restaurant Roundup: Legal Remedy Brewing, 129 Oakland Ave, Rock Hill, SC

august restaurant Roundup

“So, a lawyer, two bankers, a computer guy and a landscape architect walk into a bar.” This from Legal Remedy’s website, but it’s not the beginning to a joke. I just couldn’t have said it better. It’s how the story of our next South Carolina stop, a local craft brewery and great casual family dining spot began.

But, that’s not all…

August restaurant roundup

Every Saturday morning, in season, Legal Remedy Brewing is also home to the Rock Hill Farmers’ market. You’ll find a handful of vendors with just about everything you need from local milk, chicken and beef, to all sorts of vegetables, flowers, coffee and spices too. A perfect place to shop local! Before you make plans to come back to enjoy the brewery’s craft beer and craft lunch or dinner menu.

When you go back to Legal for food and drink, you’ll find 24 different brews on tap, that change with the season. I suggest you try a flight of pouring sized tastes to help you land on something you love.

And, worth mentioning, if you want to drink local but are looking for a tasty non alcoholic option the team at Legal Remedy also craft’s their own root beer. Try it in a mug or for dessert topped with ice cream in a float, oh my!

On the menu

The culinary team at Legal Remedy smokes all their own meats on the menu for a craft selection of good eats. Also, not on the menu, a pint-o-bacon. If you are just looking for a little munch to go with your brew, this is it. And, it really is a pint glass filled with crispy bacon, nuff said, no photo needed.

Then, if you’re really hungry, go all the way with the custom blend burger. Here the chefs at Legal Remedy combine ground brisket and short ribs and all the trimmings, including a fresh baked bun and house made chips.

I also loved the Nacho Typical Salad. On the plate: all the nacho fixin’s including your choice of pulled pork or grilled chicken on salad greens sans the chips. It’s a winning combination sure to satisfy.

Legal Remedy Brewing is closed on Mondays. Open for dinner Tuesday – Thursday at 4 pm. The brewery is open for lunch and dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

August Restaurant Roundup: Taco Molino Mexican Kitchen, 1328 Broadcloth St, Fort Mill, SC in the Kingsley Town Center

August restaurant roundup
Taco Molino is located in Rock Hill’ SC”s new Kingsley Town Center one of several restaurants you are going to want to check out and enjoy

Unusual for me to write about a place this new, but I’ve known chef and co-owner Scott Whalen for years via his work with the Burke Hospitality Group restaurants (Upstream, Mimosa Grill and Harpers.) I couldn’t wait for this, his much anticipated new restaurant, to open.

August Restaurant Roundup
Taco Molino Chef Scott Whalen with food and travel writer, Heidi Billotto

Taco Molino offers casual family dining inside and out at its new Kingsley Town Center digs. Here the old Spring’s Mill site is now rejuvenated into its own little community of shops, restaurants, and lodging. Its a great area to go for a stroll before you settle in for tacos and tequila cocktails. There is often a wait for a table, so put your name on the list. Then, take a little walk or sit by the lake just off the Taco Molino patio to relax, take in the sunset, people watch and enjoy the view.

August Restaurant Roundup

The theme is tacos, but before you get to the main event, start with an appetizer. For me, the street corn, the queso and the ceviche, pictured here, served straight up in an oversized martini glass, are all excellent ways to begin.

August Restaurant Round up

The bar menu features beers, wines and a host of crafted cocktails plus a fine, well-honed list of tequilas.

August Restaurant Roundup

For dinner you can mix and match your taco choices – each one more delicious than the next – all served on a house made small corn or flour tortilla. Its easy to order and eat two or three or more. Sides include a delicious Spanish-style rice and black beans or chili lime fries.

Spice it up

August Restaurant Roundup

And then, if you want to spice things up, look for a host of authentic hot sauces on the table including Scott’s homemade blend from local peppers and chilies – wow!

Taco Molino is open for lunch and dinner 6 days a week. Sunday Brunch is served till 4pm..

August Restaurant Roundup: Z’s Bakery, Cafe and Venue, 124 Confederate St. Fort Mill, SC

August Restaurant Roundup

One of the things I love about what I do is discovering new unexpected places along the way. Such is the case with our next stop – Z’s Bakery and Cafe in Ft. Mill, SC.

This house just off Main Street in Ft. Mill is a cafe, bakery and venue for private lunches and parties. Open for breakfast and lunch you can eat in or take out. And, its a great little place to pick up fresh baked cupcakes and sweets.

August RestauRANT ROUNUP
Strawberry stuffed Croissant french toast is one of the breakfast specialties at Z’a bakery and cafe

Breakfast is served every morning till 11 am. I suggest the strawberry stuffed croissant french toast. Its not too sweet and just whipped creamy enough to make for a delicious start to the day. If you miss the morning service, and are craving a baked fruit and croissant combo, try the blueberry cream cheese puff! An outstanding selection for dessert or with a cup of coffee or tea!

August Restaurant Roundup
Z’s cheddar and sausage biscuit with a side of creamy grits is a substantial way to start your day

The cheddar cheese and sausage biscuit – shown here with a side of grits – is a great breakfast option as well. Pair the biscuit with a egg or two cooked any way and you’re off on a great start to your day.

August restaurant roundup

At Lunch, the chicken salad croissant is a crowd pleaser. I suggest pairing your sammy with a side of the homemade mac and cheese. If you love it as much as I know you will, you’ll want to order the chicken salad by the pint or the pound to go.

Z’s Bakery and Cafe is Closed on Monday. Open from 7:30 am to 3 pm on Tuesday – Friday and 9am – 2 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Available for special events anytime.

August Restaurant Roundup: Laura’s Tea Room and Cafe, 105 N Palmer St., Ridgeway, SC

August Restaurant Roundup

The tiny historic South Carolina town of Ridgeway as a population of 300 or so. Still, it’s a South Carolina destination you don’t want to miss.

Laura’s Tea Room is the reason to go. Then, save time to visit the antique and collectable shops across the street. There are also several ladies dress and accessory shops in town. But first, make plans for lunch at Laura’s or reservations for High Tea.

August Restaurant Roundup

Before or after you have tea, plan to shop around down stairs for all sorts of teas, teapots, tea towels, tea sets. You can eat downstairs at the cafe. Patrons who dine downstairs will enjoy delicious homemade sandwiches, soups, sides and tea, as well. Just stop in and they will be delighted to seat you.

Hats on for High Tea

August Restaurant Roundup

For high tea service you’ll need a reservation. No babies please; but children who love a tea party and know how to behave are welcome to join in the fun.

It’s not a tea party unless ladies have a fancy hat. To that end, there are 100 or so different fun and frivolous styles to choose from. Once you are properly coiffed, you are invited to select your own china tea cup. Then you are seated and set to enjoy.

Fancy hats on and pinky’s out – high tea at Laura’s is an occasion!

Let’s Have A Tea Party!

High tea at Laura’s is a lunchtime meal. Look for a different iced and hot tea to be featured each day. The well trained attentive staff will invite you to select an additional pot of tea to try with your meal. The list of tea selections is long and runs from sweet and fruity to strong and full bodied. Each one has a deliciously different flavor profile, so plan to try several. Your pot of tea is served to temperature. It comes to the table wrapped in quilted cloth cozy to keep the tea warm throughout your meal.

On to the meal…

The High Tea celebration at Laura’s begins with fresh baked scones , Devonshire cream and a soup. This summer season a delicious chilled strawberry soup is on the menu.

August Restaurant Roundup
High Tea sweets and finger sandwiches at Laura’s tea room in Ridgeway SC

Next, a pasta salad course. Then, the selection of traditional finger sandwiches and desserts – one of each for each person at the table.

It’s a delicious time to share with friends or family. And, a wonderful tradition to pass from one generation to another,

Closed on Sundays and Mondays, Laura’s Tea Room is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. High tea reservations are available from 11 am to 3 pm.

August Restaurant Roundup: RND Southern Eatery, 147 S Congress St., Winnsboro, SC

August Restaurant Roundup

You first heard about RND Southern Eatery owners Shaun and Crystal Paulkes when I wrote about their donut shop and food truck in Winnsboro SC called The Donut Guy . It’s the last on the list of hidden gems in my January restaurant roundup.

August restaurant roundup

In January, the couple just signed the lease on the space next door. Their dream was to open more of a full scaled restaurant. They were searching for name. I playfully suggested that they call in “The Restaurant Next Door.” I am proud as punch to say the name stuck and RND Southern Eatery opened its doors on Father’s Day this past June!

August Restaurant Roundup

Southern Eats…

Start your meal at RND with a combo platter of appetizers. The chicken wings are all that and come with a choice of sauces. The fried okra and fried mushrooms are crispy, well seasoned and delicious!

August Restaurant Round up

On to the main course with selections of seafood, pork chops and chicken. Side salads make for a lovely transition between courses. And desserts are to die for!

We enjoyed fish fried and grilled -each one perfectly prepared. The pork chops come fried or fried and smothered in a delicious cream gravy – yes, please. Each entree comes with a choice of two sides and several are Keto and low carb diet friendly.

August Restaurant Roundup

One of my favorite entrees is the Mac Daddy Bowl. its a deliciously filling combo of Keto mac and cheese (aka Cauliflower) topped with grilled chicken, bacon and spring onions.

For dessert

The RND Oreo cake, yes please!

You’d think donuts my be on the dessert menu here, but no. Instead there is cake. A delicious list of some half dozen fresh locally baked cakes, sliced and served to order. As the town of Winnsboro seems to be on a Keto Diet kick, the baker for RND has been happy to adjust recipes. Just check out what she has bake up on her list of low and no carb desserts. They are all delicious, so save room and plan your meal accordingly or plan to take a slice home.

August Restaurant Roundup
The RND Keto Diet, Butter Pecan Cake, front and center, with the retaurant’s Low Carb Red Velvet cake in the background.

RND Southern Eatery is open every day at 11 am. On Sundays till 8 pm; Monday – Saturday till 10 pm.

With Thanks…

The Olde English Tourism District of South Carolina covers the region of South Carolina that immediately borders the southern side of Charlotte. This South Carolina region incorporates Chester, York, Lancaster, Chesterfield, Union, Fairfield and Kershaw counties and includes the cities of Ft. Mill,  York, Rock Hill, Richburg, Lancaster, and Buffalo, just to name a few. 

Thanks to Jayne Scarborough and her team at OED Tourism for their help in making this post possible.

With all of these restaurants within a hour of Charlotte and the NC state line, the Olde English District offers lots of delicious reasons to visit to South Carolina soon. While you are there or on your way, be sure to stop in at one of my favorite places to shop!

The Olde English District Market & Gift Shop in Richburg, South Carolina 

Just off I-77, 25 mins from Charlotte, this is one of the official South Carolina Visitor’s Centers with all the info about all to do and experience in South Carolina. 

south carolina

There are hundreds of free brochures here with maps of parks, hiking trails and all sorts of water sports to info on gardens, hand crafted pottery and local farms as well.  There is also lots of info on The Olde English District website; but the hidden secret here is that the center is also one of the best gift shops of South Carolina-made art, jewelry  food stuffs, soaps, and all kinds of South Carolina swag. It’s a great place to shop if you are in search of beautiful locally made or produced product and gifts.

2 comments

  1. HEIDI, love The Garden Cafe and anxious to try the others! A spectacular list! Your tea time hat is awesome! Best regards!
    Nell McRae

    1. So glad you loved the hat and the article, Nell. This is truly a great list of places to put on your South Carolina “Eat Here Now ” list! #TellThemHeidiSentYou

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