Southern food has a reputation for being comforting, homegrown and of course delicious. Sharing is caring, and you won’t find us gatekeeping these culinary classics. We’re letting you in on the traditions, what we love about them, and where you can get a taste on your next visit to Columbia SC. And yes, you should definitely order the sweet tea to drink.

Pimento Cheese

Sharp cheddar cheese, mayo (we won’t specify a brand preference because that has ended marriages in the South), pimentos, salt and pepper is the traditional way to start this classic Southern spread. But in Columbia SC, there’s about as many variations as there are people who say y’all. On a sandwich, on a pizza or straight from the spoon.

Where to find it: Essentially everywhere. Check out our pimento cheese passport here.

Boiled Peanuts

Boiled in a giant pot of salty water until they’re soft, easy to open and addicting, boiled peanuts are the best appetizer, the best side dish, and the best road trip snack. And there’s no such thing as eating “just a few.” Of this, we are certain.

Where to find it: The War MouthSoda City MarketCromer’s Peanuts, The Peanut Man


Peaches can be found in cobbler, swirled in homemade ice cream or even grilled and added to a summer salad. We also fully support buying one from Soda City Market and eating it straight up.

Where to find it: Featured in a savory setting at farm-to-table restaurants like Motor SupplyMr. Friendly'sLula Drake and Terra. In ice cream form at Sweet Pea's or Sweet Cream. Check out the Lexington County Peach Festival to satisfy all peach cravings.

South Carolina Barbeque

Around here, we do barbeque with pulled pork and a golden mustard sauce. Pairs well with potato salad, mac n’ cheese and some type of green that is cooked in bacon fat.

Where to find it: Maurice’s Midwood SmokehouseTrue BBQHite'sJackie Hite's Home Team BBQ.
Pro tip: buy a bottle of the golden sauce to take home as a souvenir.

Tomato Sandwiches

This summer classic is preferred with an heirloom tomato and paired with salty bacon and crisp lettuce. It’s also perfectly perfect with just mayo, salt + pepper. Actually, tastes like summer.

Where to find it: Spotted SalamanderThe War MouthTazza KitchenDi Prato’sThe Sandwich Depot


Crunchy green vegetable that even the pickiest of eaters typically love. You may find it stewed, fried to perfection or even pickled and placed atop your Bloody Mary. Cheers!

Where to find it: Za’sLizard’s ThicketLamb’s Bread, Get your fill at the annual Irmo Okra Strut.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Edible, not referring to the movie. We take unripe tomatoes, coat ‘em in cornmeal and fry into golden goodness. Often found on sandwiches or topped with remoulade. Don’t knock it ‘till you try it.

Where to find it: Café Strudel, Saluda’sMr. Friendly’sPawleys Front Porch, The Root Cellar

Fried Chicken

Sometimes it’s spicy, sometimes it’s on a sandwich, but it always better be crispy. Hot sauce encouraged. Plays well with others (aka: waffles).

Where to find it: Zesto’sKiki’s Chicken and WafflesBernie’sDrake’s Duck InDoc’s BBQ, A Peace of Soul Vegan Kitchen

Banana Pudding

The ultimate Southern dessert. Sweet, cooling and filled with fresh bananas and soft Vanilla Wafers.

Where to find it: BourbonMaurice’s BBQPalmetto PigMain Street Bakery & Gift Shop, Home Team BBQ

Looking for more delicious eats in Columbia SC? Check out our restaurants page, where you can search by category to find exactly what you're looking for.