Contrary to popular belief, being a student working with a college budget doesn’t mean your diet has to only consist of dining hall meals and microwave dinners just so you can stretch your dollar. We’re here to help you navigate the Columbia SC food scene without breaking the bank. Bonus: For you Gamecocks out there, many of these restaurants accept CarolinaCash.

BBQ & Wings 

If you go to school down South, finding the best BBQ spots in town is almost as important as buying your textbooks. At Palmetto Pig, you better come hungry because there won’t be any spare room on your plate after you load up on all the BBQ fixin’s from their buffet. Fried chicken, pulled pork, mac & cheese, and hush puppies will surely be the cause of your food coma. 


Pizza and college go hand in hand. Up late studying? Pizza. Lazy afternoon hanging out with the roommates? Pizza. Whatever the scenario, pizza is always appropriate, and Columbia SC has plenty of spots with delicious za at a great price. In Five Points, Village Idiot is serving up huge slices for cheap. Order by the slice or take advantage of their daily specials and happy hour deals to feed the whole squad. For a late-night dinner, head to Thirsty Fellow near the UofSC Greek Village for their Draft and Slice Special. On Tuesday-Thursday you can get pepperoni or cheese pizza for $3.00 a slice and drafts for $2.50, creating the ultimate college combo.


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Working with a budget is all about getting the most bang for your buck, and Groucho’s delivers. In locations all around the city, Groucho’s is serving up massive sandwiches (not-sure-how-to-bite-into-this, kind of sandwiches) with a side of chips and a pickle. If you’re not sure which sub to start with, you can’t go wrong with the Apollo Dipper or the STP Dipper. Looking for something on the lighter side? Swing by at Hampton Place Café in the Main Street district. They’re dishing out all the classics you love like Pimento Cheese sandwiches, BLT’s, Chicken Salad sandwiches, and more. 

Sushi & Chinese Takeout 

Obsessed with sushi like we are? Then you’d be remiss in not trying Tsunami in The Vista. Their daily happy hour deals are hard to beat with half-off appetizers, sushi, and hibachi specials. Pick up take out or, if you’re in your study zone, get it delivered straight to you. For any other dish you might be craving, the Tea Pot Chinese Restaurant probably serves it. With their generous portion sizes, you not only score one meal but enough for leftovers too. 


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The next time your crew is down for some chips & queso, you’ll want to take them to Monterrey on Senate Street. With plates loaded with fresh ingredients at a great price, Monterrey is guaranteed to be a new group favorite. Nearby in The Vista at Sure Fire Tacos, be sure to try out one of their many taco creations, like the Moby Dick Taco or Ms. Piggy Taco. Order for takeout or stay in and have it delivered to your dorm or apartment.

Sweet Treats

After the countless hours you put into studying and your extracurriculars, you deserve a sweet treat. Try out Scoopy Doo Gelato in Five Points and their variety of unique flavors like Blackberry Lemonade Sorbetto and Banana Clove Sorbetto. Using the hot process, these handmade gelatos and sorbettos are brain freeze worthy. If a baked goodie is what you crave, look no further than Sweet Temptations Bakery. Cake slices, brownies, cupcakes, and so much more are waiting to tempt you in NOMA. And when you see the low prices, you might just have to buy one of each. 


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