Taste Buds do the Touring in Lake Murray Country

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persona-pizza_b1_3886From shrimp and grits to hangover hashbrowns, barbecue to brews – including coffee and beer – the Capital City delivers on tasty morsels worth remembering

Southern classics and modern flavors collide in Lake Murray Country. Visitors to Midlands, South Carolina, will be delighted to taste their way through this culinary gem offering everything from farm-to-table fare to bold and internationally inspired cuisine.

Start the taste bud tour in the area’s small towns that are packed with big city flavors. In Newberry, sit down to an unforgettable dining experience at Figaro where the spread is an eclectic fusion of global dishes with a homegrown feel. At Figaro, the chef invites guests to get adventurous with the Game of the Day and a menu that changes every 90 days to keep up with the seasons. Or, head on down to Steven W’s. This buzzing bistro offers delectable signature entrees like the grilled marinated porterhouse with crispy onions and marsala and a crispy chicken breast served with a sweet and tangy blackberry sauce.

In Saluda County, stop and stay a while at Juniper. This sandwich and salad lunch venue by day transforms into a white linen dining experience at night. The nightly tasting menu allows Juniper’s chef to show off his culinary prowess. The chef changes the five-course small plate affair each night with straight-from-the-farm ingredients, then perfectly pairs these delicate dishes with a different wine for each course. For big plate options, try the barbecue shrimp over pimento cheese grits.

Set sights towards the big city with a stop in Lexington County. If you’ve had a little too much fun the night before, you’ll feel much better once having Café Strudel’s famous hangover hash browns. These potatoes, topped with banana peppers, onions, cheese and two eggs cooked-to-order really do live up to the hype, once earning a write-up in Southern Living. This iconic West Columbia spot also serves up Southern favorites for dinner and boasts a full bar.

Momma Rabbit’s Nibbles and Sips is another ideal pick for brunch or lunch. Eight siblings run this whole foods inspired restaurant that exudes fresh ingredients and fun flavors. Or, have an all-American inspired meal on the sparkling waters of Lake Murray at Frayed-Knot Bar & Grill. Stop in any time of day and find a palate-pleasing plate for everyone in the family. This waterfront restaurant serves up seafood, steaks, pasta, sandwiches and much more. Enjoy fire pits on cool nights, big screen TV’s and music while munching on familiar comforts.

At 116 in West Columbia, guests will find a laidback coffee shop and wine bar atmosphere, dressed up with an assorted display of local artwork. The knowledgeable staff specializes in serving fan favorites: signature cocktails, a vast collection of beers, lattes, cappuccinos, espresso and wines from around the world. At night, the restaurant evolves into a full dinner service featuring local produce, seafood and fresh meats prepared with an exciting Spanish twist.

Now it’s time to head into the Capital City. Start off the day at Rise Gourmet Goods & Bakeshop. This trendy five-points spot earned the title of “Best New Restaurant” by the Columbia Free Times for 2016. Try out the specialty spreads, blended butters and creamy shmears to top off any treat. Craving something hearty? Get a kick-start to the day with a fried chicken sandwich on a brioche bun with pickles and spicy mayo for breakfast.

Then head over to Di Prato’s for lunch. This delicatessen’s glass case of homemade salads and Mediterranean themed cuisine dazzles patrons while they sample pita chips and pimento cheese. Choose from a delicious array of breads, spreads, toppings and cheeses to build the perfect personalized sandwich. Don’t forget dessert! Di Prato’s makes its own tiramisu, infused with rum flavor and topped off with delicate chocolate shavings.

Desire upscale food without the formal ambiance? Look no further than Cola’s. Located in a lovingly restored 1930’s RC Cola bottling plant, this casual approach to fine dining specializes in seafood, steaks and other ethnic culinary creations. At Cola’s, there is an emphasis on fresh ingredients and locally sourced food is used whenever possible in an unmatched smooth and trendy setting.

Or make a pit stop at the Motor Supply Co. This classic Columbia restaurant has been serving local and diverse dishes in the heart of the historic Vista since 1989. Enjoy the finest made-from-scratch culinary experience, in an upbeat, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Here, the menu changes daily for lunch and dinner, offering diners something new and delicious every time they come through the door. Explore the blend of contemporary American, French, Italian and Asian cuisine, all provided by local farms. Savor the homemade stocks, sauces, house-butchered smoked meats and sweet desserts.

To satisfy pizza cravings, Persona Pizzeria delivers with masterpiece pies from an award-winning chef. Pizzas are crave-worthy–with toppings like hand-made meatballs, sausage, and San Marzano tomatoes–and baked in an imported Italian Marra Forni wood fired oven at 800 degrees. Next door, end the food tour with a nightcap from Bourbon. This whiskey bar is just steps away from the stunning South Carolina State House. Bourbon specializes in whiskey, craft cocktails and flavors of the Louisiana Bayou. The bar boasts over 300 whiskies, most of which are bourbon, rye or Tennessee whiskey. The cocktail menu includes classic and contemporary recipes, local beers on tap and an extensive wine list.

From fresh and simple to complex and daring, Capital City/Lake Murray Country offers a tasty excursion visitors won’t soon forget. Dive into local and worldwide flavors this prized-part of the Palmetto State offers, where each dish is served with a heaping dose of Southern hospitality.