The Best Restaurants for Foodies in Greater Columbia

an overhead picture of a long table with lots of different dishes of foods and many arms outstretched with hands holding glasses and toasting

What does it mean to be a “foodie”? I’m sure that you have some idea, since you are, after all, reading Foodies, to me, are people who absolutely adore good food… they relish it, they savor it, they dream about it, they make plans for eating it… they know the difference between Beurre Blanc and melted “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter!” They have subscriptions to food mags and they love to watch cooking shows. They hate things “out of the box” and they long for “fresh” – they know that that means buying local ingredients… and they appreciate restaurants and chefs who understand it too.

a chef sniffing fresh herbs

This is the first of a series of articles about some of the best restaurants in Greater Columbia. Establishments where cooking is an art form and where chefs are culinary artists. Where each dish that is dreamed is a dish that is made, is sampled, is made, is sampled, is made, is sampled and then perfected.

Absolutely Foodie in Lovely Little Lexington

Old Mill Brewpub

beautiful lump crab cake served over minced veggies and topped with sriacha aioli
Lump Crabcake Appetizer

Why would a foodie, who lives in Lexington, drive all the way to the Vista or Downtown Columbia to enjoy a true “foodie” experience? Well, I can only say that they’d be wasting a lot of gasoline! Foodies from far and wide, take note! Whether you live near Lexington or not, this place is every bit worth a 100 mile drive.

Old Mill Brewpub at 711 East Main Street (top floor of the historic old mill building) in Lexington is maybe an unlikely place to find a culinary maestro such as Sturgis, the pub’s longtime head of affairs back in the kitchen. She has helped OMB perfect their pub menu from which they offer an amazing array of pub burgers, appetizers, in-house smoked wings, smoked half chicken dinners, shrimp and grits and the like… but where I think Sturgis’ awesome cooking skills are best on display are on the Chef’s Weekly Specials which you’ll find on the flap of the regular menu.

roasted corn salsa over goat cheese spread encased in a roasted corn husk. crostini on side
Appetizer – Goat Cheese Spread with Roasted Corn Salsa and Crostini

The Chef’s Weekly Specials are just that, specials that are only going to be around for 7 days, so you have to plan a trip each week to be sure you’re not missing out. Sturgis pours over recipe books and cooking magazines and designs recipes that take advantage of what is in season and what can be locally sourced. The goat cheese spread with corn salsa (above) is served with corn that is grown locally, and the spread is sweetened with local honey. She plans 3 appetizers and 3 or 4 entrees. I was lucky enough to be there when she was serving North Carolina Rainbow Trout (below). Large filets were carefully seasoned and grilled, and then served on a bed of julienne vegetables surrounded with a delicious beurre blanc & chive oil. Atop the filets were chunks of lump crab and a little tousle-top of micro-greens from local City Roots. Rainbow trout has been one of my favorite dishes for years, and I loved this dish better than any I have ever had. That’s saying a lot.

NC Rainbow Trout served over Julienne Vegetables

My Sincere Recommendation

I hope if you’re someone who desires good food, lovingly and creatively prepared, you’ll head to Old Mill Brewpub and try one of Sturgis’ Chef Specials. You’re going to love it! ~ Kathy Gardener

Old Mill Brewpub | 711 E. Main St. | Lexington, SC | (803) 785-2337

Sunday – Thursday from 11AM – 10PM | Friday & Saturday 11AM – 11PM

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