Good food near Ft. Jackson, South Carolina

We’re heading to Ft. Jackson army base next week for a friend’s boot camp graduation. We’re staying 2 nights in the area. Any recommendations for good restaurants? They can be anything from fancy to the dive-type place – just as long as it’s good. BarBQ recs. especially. Thanks.

13 Answers

  • YourPalWill Jun 10, 2003

    There is a good meat and three chain in Columbia called Lizards Thicket. It’s cheap good southern eating. There are a number of locations around town. I’m sure there’s one relatively close to the Fort.

    Ask someone to direct you to the Sumter Highway and follow it about 20 miles out of Columbia beyond the base to a really good place called Sikes Barbeque. They’re only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They have steam table service of barbeque pork, slaw and Hash & rice. It’s mustard based sauce and quite good. I think they have the best hash in that area.

    There’s also a local hamburger chain that’s quite good called Rush’s. I can’t think of one close to the base, so you may do well to ask at your hotel. It’s a reguilar stop for me when in Columbia. Old fashioned type burgers that you would have found in local chains in the fifties and sixties.

    If you want to blow it out with a celebratory dinner, I’m of the opinion that Diane’s on Harden Street near Five Points is one of the best places in Columbia. They have a beef tenderloins stuffed with crab meat that it just terrific. But, It’s also quite pricey.

    There is an entertaiunment district that runs from the State Capital down Gervais Street to the River. Lots of chain and non-chain restaurants and bars in that stretch

    • Lan4Dawg Jun 11, 2003

      let me second Diane’s for your upscale meal. We make it a point to dine there every time we are in Cola. There is also a brewpub near the state house that has decent food & pretty decent brew. I can not remember the name to save my life.
      Birds on a Wire is a really good “rotisserie” chicken place that started before the idea became a supermarket staple.
      there is also a place in five points called Yesterday’s that every tour guide in the city will tell you to visit. If you like basic college town bar food, basic college town bar service, basic college town bar attitude then by all means go.
      Will could also tell you about a place that does pimento cheese burgers in Cola that I visited a couple of years ago but can not remember the name.
      Oh yeah! & just for the experience you should go to Capitol Cafe on Main Street down fr/ the State House. The food is good, not great, but the place itself is a treat.
      Avoid the Blue Marlin at all costs. Poor food, worse service & the managers/owners could care less if you live or die or even return as long as you spent money there.

      • YourPalWill Jun 11, 2003

        The Capital Cafe, sadly, is closed. I had many a drunken midnight meal there as a college student way back in the 80s.

        • Lan4Dawg Jun 11, 2003

          when did that happen? We make it a tradition to have at least one meal there every time we are in Cola.
          Oh well, time marches on.

          • YourPalWill Jun 12, 2003

            A friend told me that it had closed last fall when I was in town for the UFK game. It may just have been an excuse to not have to take me there at 3 am.

            • Sandy Jun 12, 2003

              No, it’s really gone. I’ll really miss watching the cook fix my western omelet, with a cigarette in his mouth and about 1 1/2 inches of ash dangling over the grill. He was a real artist in hanging on to the ash until after he served the dish. It was a pretty good western omelet, too.

              I won’t, however , miss the vague smell of cat urine that seemed to hover in the place after midnight.

              Ah, the good old days.

              • YourPalWill Jun 12, 2003

                I understand that Paul, the famous gruff overnight waiter is still working elsewhere in Columbia. Paul was the Capital in my opinion.

                “Paul, what kind of beer do you have?”

                “All kinds”

                “OK, I’ll have a Heiniken”

                “Don’t Have That”

                “Well, what kind do you have?

                “Pretty Much Everything”

                “OK, can I have a Michelob?”

                “Don’t have that.”

                “How about a St. Pauli Girl?”

                “Never heard of it.”

                “Do you have a Miller Light?”

                “OK, now whachyou want to eat?”

          • Head Gazelle Jun 13, 2003

            Make that 3 am and in the mid-70’s, and I’m there.

            I had a friend who used to call my dorm room between 2 and 4 am to say “Let’s go get a cup of coffee at the Capitol Cafe!” Despite being sound asleep (or maybe because of it), I usually agreed. Ah, youth. I also learned to love grits there.

            What I really want to know is–since the Capitol is closed, where are all the politicians that used to frequent it late at night hanging out now?

            • EP Jun 17, 2003

              My wife is from a small town in SC (name withheld to protect the guilty) and went to USC in the early 80’s. After one of those frat/sorority costume party things she and a couple of her friends staggered over to the Cafe at 1 or 2a.m. still dressed in their hooker outfits. As she’s walking in, walking out is the state representative from her home district who also happens to be friend of her father’s, and the woman he’s with is not his wife. They both stand there speechless for a moment and then he says “if you didn’t see me, then I didn’t see you”. A deal was quickly struck…..Speaking of pimento cheese burgers wasn’t there a place called the Dairy Bar that did them? Is it still there?

              • Lan4Dawg Jun 17, 2003

                great story! & his line is proof that he is a politican.
                The Dairy Bar is no longer & has been gone for a while.

              • Sandy Jun 18, 2003

                At least some of them have migrated up Gervais St. to a place that used to be chiefly a pool hall. I’ll post the name as soon as my buddy, who knows all, gets to work – 6:20 AM is a little early for him.

                Unfortunately most of the legislators are much more upscale nowadays and go in for lunch and dining in places more suited to their images (or delusions, as it may be). Thus most of the old places around the capitol are either gone or have become “The Basil Pot” or “Miyo’s on Main.” Not that these places aren’t good to excellent – but it just takes the colorfulness out of the legislative sessions. And Heaven knows, colorfulness was about the only good thing that ever came out of the sessions.

                • Sandy Jun 18, 2003

                  The place is called “The Palace Restaurant,” 1404 Gervais St., on the south side just beyond Marion St.

                  It has some of the grunge of the Capitol Cafe, but none of the same, dare I say, “ambience.” The cook is also kind of ill-tempered, so that remains the same. But as I said in my previous post, the legislators’ self images have largely changed, and it’s only a few who go there.

        • Sandy Jun 11, 2003

          Also for BBQ, there is Little Pig’s, north of the fort, between Percival Rd. and I-20. Like most BBQ places in SC, they are open only on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. At some point during the evening, they bring out the carcass of the hog, and you can go tear off whatever you want – especially Mr. Brown and the skin. Avoid Big T’s BBQ – overpriced and not that good. Also avoid Maurice’s Piggy Park – very much overpriced and a cloyingly sweet sauce. The other BBQ joints are way off from the fort. There is a chain called “Sticky Fingers” which is a rib joint. I’ve been but was not impressed – the ribs are trimmed of the breast area, so you are getting mostly the lower boney section, and the sauces are fusion types, made for those who don’t really know ribs or sauces. You know the type – Honey Mustard, a Carolina mustard sauce that tastes like the honey mustard, a supposed Memphis sauce, etc.

          If you don’t mind driving a bit, say 10 miles or so, there are 2 restaurants that I can recommend highly:

          1) Russian Tavern and Store, 121 Dreher Rd. in West Columbia. Excellent Russian food, a very thick borscht, and a wonderful thick mushroom soup which is a meal in itself. It’s best to call for a reservation Thurs-Sat, as it fills up pretty quickly. Tel. 796-4404.

          2)Elie’s Mediterranean Deli, 1058 1/2 St. Andrews Rd., on the NW side of Columbia. Actually a full scale restaurant, albeit small. Excellent Lebanese food. Also the only place in town I can get Moroccan sardines. Tel. 798-9664.

          There are a number of Korean restaurants in the Decker Rd. area , to the north of the fort. I can’t tell you anything about them, since I’ve never eaten at any.

          There are also the usual chains.

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