The new and "tried and true" in Columbia, SC celebrated anniversaries over the past few weeks with a collective 352 years of business. No matter how old, each has unique qualities that give customers a reason to keep coming back. Here's why:
Village Idiot Pizza celebrated 25 years of their famous, hand-tossed NY-style pizza at its Five Points location. Village Idiot has been a mainstay in the Five Points area since its opening and is known to have the perfect college atmosphere. With plenty of TVs, cheap pitchers of beer, daily pizza specials, and trivia every Wednesday night, it is guaranteed to have USC students swarming.
If you go: try their Sunday brunch which includes a "brunch pizza."
The Whig on Main Street just marked 10 years of being the greatest dive bar in North America. Also voted "Best Bar" in the 2015 Free Times Best of Columbia poll, the former bank vault, now subterranean bar is known for its quirky style and delicious food. The Whig also is behind the Jam Room Music Festival, a free music festival on October 3 with indie pillar Blonde Redhead as this year's headliner.
If you go: try some local favorites, the Berger Burger and the Smoked Gouda Mac N' Cheese. Or go on a Tuesday for Taco Night (75 cents tacos, y'all!).
After 75 years, Villa Tronco knows how to make your heart warm and your stomach full. Now located in a renovated fire station, the restaurant began after a family started cooking Mama's Italian favorites for soldiers of Italian descent stationed at Fort Jackson during World War II. It was the first Italian restaurant in Columbia and now boasts being the oldest restaurant in South Carolina.
If you go: try Carmella's famous cheesecake and check out performances by The Palmetto Opera the first Thursday of every month.
Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company marked one year as Columbia's third and largest microbrewery. Named after the "hearts of palm" found in the state's Palmetto tree, this down-to-earth brewery is owned and operated by family and friends. Beers they brew can be found in various local restaurants including fellow birthday buds, The Whig and Craft & Draft.
If you go: try their Chocolate Brown or ESB brews.
Craft & Draft is also celebrating its one year anniversary. This craft beer store offers a unique experience as customers are allowed to try draft, bottled or canned beers in the store. Part-bar, part-store, Craft & Draft is big on supporting the community with fundraising events and by hosting several beers from local brewing companies. Keep up with their rotating draft wall on Instagram or by stopping in to see what everyone is talking about!
If you go: there is also a small selection of wine available for non-beer folks.
The West Columbia location of Maurice's Piggie Park has been serving pit-cooked barbecue for 60 years. This famous barbecue is smoked naturally over hickory and oak wood-fired pits that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Maurice's offers more than just barbecue, including burgers, chicken sandwiches and plenty of delicious Southern sides.
If you go: try Maurice's Southern Gold BBQ Sauce, a secret recipe.
Cromer's P-Nuts began with a local farmer and his produce stand 80 years ago. Serving more than just peanuts, Cromer's has grown to become legendary in the Columbia area. Along with several forms of popcorn and nuts, Cromer's has an adjoining café with daily specials. Find out more information and why they're the "Guaranteed Worst in Town" on their website.
If you go: get a bushel bag of popcorn, popped daily!
Five Points hit its 100 year mark as "Columbia's Original Village Neighborhood." Although it was originally planned to be a trolley hub for Columbia's first planned suburban neighborhood, Five Points is now considered one of the busiest and funkiest areas of Columbia, SC. The combination of the Five Points fountain, street art (like the Hootie & The Blowfish Monument) and shops make Five Points the perfect place for an afternoon stroll. Plus, the district features some of Columbia's favorite restaurants.
If you go: try the chicken salad at The Gourmet Shop or stop in on a Saturday for their weekly Wine Tasting.