Real Local: Vanessa Bialobreski

When Vanessa Bialobreski isn't planning one of the many farm-to-table events produced by F2T Productions, she enjoys all things local in Columbia SC. Read through for her picks for a perfect Columbia weekend.

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I discovered my true passion when I created Farm to Table Productions, Management and Catering, a partnership with Chef/Owner of Bourbon and Black Rooster Kristian Niemi on Columbia's in-town, sustainable, organic farm, City Roots. Working with local chefs and farmers, I help orchestrate dinners and events that bring a community together over locally-grown food. I've always been proud of my hometown community and the true hospitality it shows everyone. I love continuing that tradition with events that support traditional farming, talented chefs and local businesses.

FRIDAY NIGHT: If there’s an F2T event happening at City Roots (Columbia’s urban sustainable farm) or elsewhere, it’s a must for your weekend. We kicked things off at Bubble Q, an annual event that fuses pulled pork barbecue with champagne (yes, that’s right, and it’s amazing). From multi-course dinners in the evening to day-long festivals like the Annual Pig Roast and Oyster Throwdown, you would be remiss if you didn't add one of these events to your list.  

Featured: F2T event at City Roots

SATURDAY MORNING: A weekend in Columbia SC just isn’t complete without a stop at Soda City Market, where you’re as likely to find arepas and avocado toast as you are locally made goat cheese and produce. Fresh-cut flowers, jewelry and handbags are just a few of the handmade (or homegrown) options you can bring home with you.

Featured: Soda City Market

Pro Tip: Get to the market early to avoid the crowds. By the time you get done shopping all the local vendors you can wander into a restaurant along Main Street for brunch.

SATURDAY BRUNCH: Satisfy your Cajun-Creole cravings at Bourbon, where during the week you can order up Crispy Boudin Balls, Jalapeno Hushpuppies, Duck Confit Gumbo and more. Brunch options like Bonuts (that’s a combination of biscuits and donuts) and the Biscuit of Champions will have you coming back on the weekend. Oh, and did I mention they have one of the largest bourbon selections in the Southeast?

Featured: Bourbon

Pro Tip:  Don't forget to ask about their housemade hot sauce and award-winning, seasonal cocktails.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Columbia’s original village neighborhood, Five Points is located near the University of South Carolina campus and is home to a number of locally-owned shops. The Gourmet Shop boasts an incomparable selection of cheese, wine, bread, kitchen items and more, while Revente, Sid & Nancy and Gentleman’s Closet are great for funky or designer thrift finds.

Featured: Five Points

SATURDAY NIGHT: Serving “simple food without pretension,” Terra is one of the original farm-to-table restaurants in Columbia. Chef Mike Davis creates a seasonally-rotating menu to offer the freshest local ingredients around and the recently-renovated interior offers sleek style inside and breathtaking views of the downtown Columbia skyline outside. Order the Lamb Mac and thank me later. 

Featured: Terra

Pro Tip: If you get a chance, sit at the bar and eat where you will meet Andy, a Terra staple, veteran and drink expert behind the bar. Tell him your favorite cocktail base and he will make a drink you will never forget. 

SATURDAY NIGHT: Columbia’s latest performance venue, The White Mule, holds an intimate appeal for acts ranging from rock shows to comedians to speakers. It’s a place where you can see musical icons like Mark Bryan of Hootie & The Blowfish or be the first to catch the up-and-comers.

Featured: The White Mule

SUNDAY MORNING: Visit Columbia SC’s first downtown, all-local boutique hotel property, Hotel Trundle. Inviting you to, “Live Joyfully. Dream Fearlessly,” and occupying three historic buildings on Main Street, Hotel Trundle has 41 rooms, no two of which are alike.

Featured: Hotel Trundle

Pro Tip: Make sure you find their mural on the side of the hotel and get your wings ;) 

SUNDAY MORNING: smallSUGAR has made quite the impact on locals and visitors alike through its approachable dishes made with hyper-seasonal ingredients. Fuel your day with a buttery, flaky pastry and coffee or dig into the Stuffed Pita for an all veggie lunch that will leave you full, yet still wanting more.

Featured: smallSUGAR

Pro Tip: For savory folks, get the Hummus Plate and Tartine. You’re welcome. 

SUNDAY AFTERNOON: The recently-renovated Columbia Museum of Art has always been a community treasure. Now, the museum has upped their already impressive game by re-organizing the permanent collection and regularly debuting the new exhibits.

Featured: Columbia Museum of Art