Good news: If you live to eat, Greenville’s 2017 restaurant scene is only going to make you love it more. Bad news: Keeping up with it is like playing Whack-a-Mole, with new spots popping up at a rate nearly impossible to keep up with.
Case in point: This year there are 30-plus new restaurants in the works — some of them highly anticipated for nearly a year or more — with many opening in the first quarter. And if this year is anything like 2016 was, Greenville’s nationally recognized restaurant scene is only going to up the ante.
Here’s a rundown of many of the new places foodies can look forward to in the coming months.
Corner of Perry Avenue and Pendleton Street, The Village of West Greenville
Projected opening: any day now
The two-story navy blue building, with a can’t-miss vegetable garden mural on the Pendleton Street side, houses chef Greg McPhee’s much-anticipated veggie-centric restaurant. Farmhouse rustic light fixtures, concrete floor, white shiplap, exposed original brick, white quartz bar counter and a small but efficient kitchen that several local restaurant owners were drooling over on a recent Monday afternoon are the staging ground for McPhee’s locally sourced, weekly-changing menu. With a walk-in fridge an average-sized man has to turn sideways to enter, nothing will be stored much longer than 24 hours. The second-floor bar has a rooftop patio with room for 18 seats. An online sign-in app will be in place of reservations.
1180 Pendleton St., The Village of West Greenville
Projected opening: July
The pizza truck from the Lowcountry has been a big success in the Greenville area since it arrived in September. Owner Brian Lewis now has plans to open a stationary location in a renovated bungalow in the Village of West Greenville.
Projected opening: Mid-fall
So named for food’s ability to bring all types of people around the table for one common purpose, The Commons project has been in the works for 4 1/2 years. Feed & Seed owner Mike McGirr is spearheading the project designed to simultaneously boost the Upstate farming community while making local food accessible and affordable to all. Within the last 18 months he brought in Bacon Bros., Community Tap, Due South Coffee and other local vendors to create a 20,000-square-foot Food Hall (think upscale food court without the bad Chinese food) on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. This will be the second location for each of the restaurants. A main feature will be a daily farmers market selling only produce and meat from farms in the 10 counties in the Upstate. Each of the restaurants will aim to use ingredients available within The Commons. Bacon Bros.’ concept is a breakfast, lunch and dinner diner named after owners Jason Callaway’s and Anthony Gray’s grandmothers (“Colleen and Mabel” is the working title) as well as a butcher shop. The Due South coffee shop will add pastries and other baked goods to its drink menu.
18 E. Coffee St.
Projected opening: June/July
The Bottle Cap Group’s next project is well underway in the old Charlie’s Steakhouse location. The two-story, classic ’50s-style diner with counter service and checkered tile floors will be open 24 hours, seven days a week — something downtown has been sorely lacking for those late-night grub needs. Burgers, donuts, fountain sodas and milkshakes will bring the nostalgia to the menu.
860 S. Church St.
Projected opening: late January–early February
The farm-fresh, fast-food restaurant with a drive-thru window will have a rustic farmhouse design, an open kitchen, counter service and coolers full of premade items for guests to grab and take with them. Those items will be available at the drive-thru as well. Diners will also have the option to order from a limited menu of items freshly made while they wait. Certified nutritionist and fitness trainer Jonathan Willis and his fiancée, Kaylee Gonzalez, started Elev8 Next Level Nutrition meal delivery service on Jan. 23, 2016, and had such great success that they decided to open a brick-and-mortar location.
164 S. Main St., Travelers Rest
Projected opening: Jan. 9
The 3,200-square-foot restaurant will feature outdoor dining, a small and somewhat Southern-inspired menu, a handful of handcrafted cocktails, including a fresh squeezed margarita, and craft and local beers. Owners Chris and Katie Williamson say they are committed to buying as much locally grown produce and proteins they can get their hands on. “This is something we have worked towards for a very long time,” Chris says. “Both of us were born and raised in Greenville. We recently moved to Travelers Rest and were shocked to see how the little town is booming. We knew this is where we wanted to open our business.”
The Growler Haus
12 Lois Ave., The Village of West Greenville
Projected opening: April
The Growler Haus is opening two more locations in the Upstate (others are in Anderson, Spartanburg and Fountain Inn). The Greer location (213 Trade St., Greer) is already outfitted for their purposes (Projected opening: February), but the Village of West Greenville site will involve much more new construction and feature an indoor/outdoor bar and outdoor biergarten. And of course, at both you’ll be able to take home a growler filled with your favorite seasonal and craft/micro brews on draft. The restaurant will also offer tapas,
paninis, flatbreads and sweet eats.
722-724 S. Main St.
Projected opening: Spring
For Upstate foodies, there are few restaurant openings that are as eagerly anticipated as the newest restaurant from Sean Brock, winner of James Beard and Emmy awards and co-host of PBS’ “The Mind of a Chef.” The original fall opening was not realized as new design plans for a second story addition were submitted and approved by City of Greenville’s Urban Design Panel on Dec. 1, and Brock was revealed in a GQ article to be battling an autoimmune disease, “myasthenia gravis (MG), a rare neurological autoimmune disease that inhibits the body’s ability to interact with its own muscles.”
South Main Street and Falls Park Drive
Projected opening: Late February/early March
It’s hard to decide the best feature of Table 301 and Chef Michael Kramer’s new modern Italian, 5,800-square-foot restaurant on the second floor of Falls Park Place: The 40-foot, white marble bar that will have oysters at one end and sliced-to-order prosciutto at the other; the wraparound heated year-round balcony; the pasta table where fresh pasta will be made daily only a few feet away from diners near the front entrance; the windows and doors wrapping around the entire dining room that will give the restaurant an al fresco feel when opened; or the direct view of Reedy River Falls Park and the Liberty Bridge. You be the judge.
644 N. Main St., Main + Stone development
Projected opening: Jan. 2
“Approachable fine grub” is how owner and chef John Makkas describes his new Greek restaurant that shares a wall with Greenville lunch staple Two Chefs in the new North Main development. Key menu items are homemade Greek yogurt, fresh-baked pastries and pita bread (including a gluten-free option), “real” (as opposed to processed) pork gyros and vegan options, as well as a wide selection of Greek and other wines not found in grocery stores. The kitchen will be open seven days a week: 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Monday–Friday; for brunch Saturday and Sunday until 3 p.m. and then dinner 5–10 p.m.; after 10 p.m., limited small plates will still be available at the bar.
Stella’s Southern Brasserie, Parkside Provisions and Café
Legacy Square town center, Verdae
Projected opening: last week of February
Stella’s second location is still on track to open as the weather is breaking from cold to just right for outdoor dining. While still maintaining the Simpsonville location’s Southern influences, the Verdae Stella’s will be more European with a constantly changing menu based on what is seasonally available, as chef-owner Jason Scholz says, “Whatever is our whim.” With an expanded beverage program as well as serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, the 140-seat dining room will feature more room for private parties as well as 80 seats outside on the patio. Community food will be a main feature of the menu, Scholz says, with an emphasis on food that can be passed around the table and shared. He has already hired the Brasserie’s chef and general manager, but is currently looking to fill the 40 other positions.
500 E. Park Ave.
Projected opening: Super Bowl weekend
A nearly 900-degree, wood-fired oven, painted and glazed by Greenwood artist Jesse Nantz, that can bake a pizza in 60 seconds is the star feature of the Neapolitan-certified pizzeria. “Your pizza will come out before you get your first of maybe two or three beers,” says Wayne Gathings, general contractor who’s involved in every aspect of the yearlong project in the former Park Avenue Pub location. The pizzeria will use only fresh, house-made mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes and Caputo flour imported from Italy to maintain their certification. Pies will be made on a white marble counter visible to anyone sitting at the bar. Speaking of the bar, on Stone’s website, guests can view what’s on tap and how much is left in each keg — up-to-the-minute. The restaurant will also feature outdoor dining, screened-in during the colder months, along with three garage doors that will be open during nice weather.
Swordfish Cocktail Club
Projected opening: late 2017
Swordfish Cocktail Club is a lot like fight club: most people either don’t know or admit it exists and admittance to the secret location is by invitation only. The outcome, however, of sneaking away for three hours on Thursday nights is much less destructive and painful. The club’s secrecy for the last couple years, teased by its visually arresting Instagram account, has created an intentional exclusivity, borne less out of pretention and more from a desire to return to a true appreciation for the golden age of pre-Prohibition cocktails. But good news: The veil is about to be lifted if all goes as planned this year. Owner Evan Leihy, who began planning 10 years ago to open a cocktail club downtown, and his partners are close to finalizing a location. The bar, which will also serve small plates, will have a no-standing rule (“If you don’t have a seat,” Leihy says, “you don’t belong in the building”), a dress code on at least one weekend night and a vodka intolerance. Leihy adds, “Something required by law to be tasteless doesn’t belong in a cocktail.”
Up on the Roof
Opening date: Jan. 10, with Full Moon Party on Jan. 12
Imagine sipping handcrafted, bottled cocktails outdoors on the roof of the new Embassy Suites downtown Greenville, with views of the Reedy River below and the Blue Ridge Mountains at eye level. In a couple of weeks, it’ll be a reality. Wonder what a bottled cocktail is? It’s basically mixing a craft cocktail and then bottling it as an old-fashioned soda, all of which will be done on-site. The benefits? Allows for much quicker slinging of drinks (no more waiting for 15 minutes for a craft cocktail), and longer melding of flavors. Bottled drinks will be served within 48 hours of bottling. A unique concept to the Ruth’s Chris brand, Up on the Roof will feature locally sourced ingredients on its small-plate menu. “We’re imagining guests are not going to be terribly stationary,” says Stephanie Malinauskas, Ruth’s Chris director of marketing and communications for South Carolina and surrounding areas.
Vault and Vator
655 S. Main St.
Projected opening: January
American Grocery’s head mixologist Kirk Ingram and chef Joe Clark have been working nonstop to open the basement, small-capacity bar on the back side of the Edward Jones and the West End Dental buildings. “Everything at Vault & Vator will be spirit-forward, drinks meant to be sipped, which helps create a convivial atmosphere,” Ingram says. “You get to sit and enjoy and take time out of your day, create an atmosphere. I want to build trust with guests so they are ready to try new things in an approachable way with no intimidation. I want it to be about conversations and trying new things and finding what people love.” Ingram says a main goal is to introduce many of the classic, gin-based cocktails to non-gin drinkers, because vodka-based drinks weren’t a thing pre-Prohibition. “Something that I’m really trying to do at Vault & Vator is get people to understand that most of these classic cocktails were gin-based,” he says. “I want people to know there are many different styles of gin, many ways to treat it. Vodka absolutely has a place in a bar, but all that vodka brings to the table is alcohol. Gin brings so much more because of its depth of flavor.” The menu will also feature small plates served cold or at room temperature designed to pair with Ingram’s drinks.
White Duck Taco Shop
1320 Hampton Ave., Hampton Station
Projected opening: February/March
White Duck Taco Shop, the Asheville River Arts District staple that’s known for its chalkboard menu, fresh fare and family-friendly approach, is in the up-fit construction phase at its new Hampton Station location next to Birds Fly South Ale Project. “We are really excited about how unique the space is going to be. Can’t wait to be a part of the Greenville community,” said franchise co-owners Dan Singletary and Richard King.
ONE City Plaza
Projected opening: February/March
5 Market Point Drive
Projected opening: Spring
Location and opening TBD
125 E. Poinsett St., Greer
Projected opening: January
19 Mohawk Drive
Projected opening: Spring
Grill Marks Haywood Mall
Haywood Mall facing The Cheesecake Factory
Projected opening: Summer
Menkoi Ramen House
220 N. Main St.
Projected opening: Winter
206 Coffee St.
Projected opening: TBA
Neo Burrito (from Asheville)
Projected opening: 2017
Sidewall Pelham Road
3598 Pelham Road
Projected opening: Fall
654 S. Main St.
Projected opening: N/A
Tropical Smoothie Café
2815 Woodruff Road, the Village Market East shopping center
Projected opening: Late February or early March
Wild Wing Cafe
Magnolia Park, Woodruff Road
Projected opening: N/A