Have you noticed the impressive bronze elk standing at attention on the corner of Gervais and Pulaski Streets and the “Twin Peaks” sign on the building behind it? Their tongue-in-cheek moniker and the slogan “Eats… Drinks… Scenic Views” belie the fact that behind the facade lives a culinary giant and an incredible entertainment experience. If I was able, through the written word, to shout really, really loudly “you’ve gotta try this place!” I would do it.
I was absolutely blown away by Twin Peaks’ food and drink.
The apps. We started by splitting an order of Buttermilk Chicken Sliders, a pair of battered fried chicken sandwiches, served on house made buttermilk black pepper biscuits. These fat little biscuits are to-die-for. Layers of warm goodness, buttered and toasted. The moist little chicken breast offered up crunchy texture and was topped with an amazing combination of hollandaise, jalapeno gravy (both house made) and American cheese, along with a slab of their signature “Billionaire Bacon”. Billionaire Bacon is thick cut, spiced just right and caramelized in the Twin Peaks’ oven every morning. Two hands needed to eat these babies!
Before we could finish the sliders, our sweet little server brought out a basket of thin and crispy warm tortilla chips along with a trio of house-made dips, known as the “Triple Play. Amazing. My fave, the “smashed avocado”, is a delicious combination of chopped avocado, tomato, onion and a blend of spices that makes this truly the best guacamole ever. That’s why they don’t call it “guacamole”… it’s in a class by itself. Another dip was the home-made salsa, a flavorful sauce made daily with chargrilled tomatoes and peppers and just the right amount of spices – you can taste more than just the heat. Wonderful. The third dip was a chipotle queso… house-made from scratch. Finally the mozzarella bites. I NEVER order these as they are always a frozen then fried cruddy breaded cheese in the shape of a stick. I definitely will be ordering the Twin Peaks’ Mozzarella Bites again. Lightly breaded with panko bread crumbs and made-to-order, they’re nice-sized cubes of high quality mozzarella served with homemade ranch dressing and marinara sauce. You’ll fall in love after one bite. Click on this ad and get a special offer – buy 6 wings and get 6 wings free!
The beer. OMG. A 22 oz. frosted mug of Yuengling never looked so good. I learned that Twin Peaks washes their beer mugs by themselves at 180 degrees, so they’re clean as a whistle and dried thoroughly before they’re frozen at -10 degrees. No chunks of ice sliding off while you’re trying to drink. Nope. I put the glass to my lips and got the most refreshing delight on a hot Columbia afternoon… tiny ice crystals of beer tickling my tongue. The Twin Peaks’ draft beer system was custom-made to keep beer at 29 degrees. Electronic signage in the restaurant lets patrons know the exact temperature of their drafts at any given moment. It defies science and logic but the beer doesn’t freeze. It is absolutely cold and refreshing. 32 beers on tap including local brews from River Rat, Conquest, Palmetto Brewing, Thomas Creek and more. They also serve 4 signature beers brewed just for Twin Peaks.
The whiskey. Have you ever had whiskey served over a hand-crafted ice ball, that has been formed in mere moments before your very eyes? Me neither. Watching them create the ice ball was so much fun! A chunk of ice is put into their 18 pound aluminum press, which pulls the cold out and causes it to melt, leaving only a perfectly condensed sphere of solid ice that is then plunked into your cocktail glass. Your spirits are poured over the top of the ice ball, which melts at an incredibly slow and even rate in order to avoid diluting the distinctive flavors and aromas of your drink. Twin Peaks’ whiskey selection rivals any in town, offering 60+ different distills, and includes 19 Kentucky Bourbons, 10 American Whiskies and Ryes, 15 Scotches (try the Johnnie Blue or Macallan 18 year) and a selection of Canadian and Japanese blends.
The entrees. I tried the Greek Salad. The folks at Zorba’s better sit up and take notice. The Greek Salad was incredible. A combination of spring mix (my favorite salad greens) along with baby kale, pepperoncini, artichoke, red onions, grape tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese and crunchy fried capers (a first for me… who would think to bread and fry little capers? A genius thought that one up!) I also ordered a skewer of grilled shrimp for a nominal additional charge. Loved ’em. Nice sized with grill marks! A house-made herb vinaigrette dressed it out and it was no-kidding incredible. My lunch-mate ordered the Trophy Trout, which Twin Peaks buys fresh and is chargrilled and finished with a roasted garlic lime butter. Our server told us this dish is so good it was featured on the cover of an Atlanta’s Flavors magazine. It came with mashed potatoes (handmade throughout the day) and fresh veggies. Thumbs way, way up! Our third table guest ordered a Billionaire’s Bacon Burger – hand-pressed and seared on the grill. Love bacon? This fella is laced with bacon, served on a fresh, never-frozen, locally-baked bun and dressed with sriracha pimento cheese, billionaire’s bacon, lettuce, tomato, bacon beer mustard and bacon mayo! Served with aromatic, beautiful, fresh cut fries. You’ve gotta try this place!
The place for sports. Sports fans – this is THE PLACE to watch any televised game. Twin Peaks subscribes to every sports package available… ALL pay-per-views, every MLB game, NFL game, NHL game, NBA game, college game… all of ’em. And patrons are treated to 60 big screens (all of them either 60, 70 or 80 inches wide!) in a seating arrangement that allows every guest to see at least 6 screens at any one time!
The decor. The decor reminded me of a fishing lodge in New Hampshire that I visited as a child. Hand-hewn wood paneling lines the interior walls, a large canoe hangs from the ceiling, multiple stone fireplaces glow with warmth (in cooler weather) and the furnishings are beautifully rustic, hand crafted and feature soft upholstery. I sat on a bar stool for almost 2 hours and stayed comfy. The walls that face Gervais feature garage doors that roll up in nice weather and sections can be cordened off for private parties, including fireplaces for you and your friends to sit around.
The cheerleaders. A female staff of servers reminded us of a bevy of beautiful college cheerleaders – they served us with wide smiles and classic, southern hospitality. Whatever you’ve heard about this place and the dress of their staff, relax. You’ll feel comfortable in here with your wife, your girlfriend and your kids. The Twin Peaks’ staff wears the same type of apparel you see on a cheerleader at a football game or on a lifeguard at the beach. Their aim is to make everyone at your table feel comfortable and have a great experience!
The price. A gourmet bar and food experience with a casual dining price tag. Seriously. The average food/drink tab is a mere $16! That’s amazing. And, Twin Peaks offers a 20% discount for all military/first responders & USC Student, faculty and staff with Valid ID.
The parking. A generous free parking lot behind the building and parking all along Pulaski Street. Find that anywhere else in the Vista.
Bottom line. You have to try this place.
Location: 600 Gervais Street | Columbia SC | 803.602.3667
Hours: Everyday 11am – 2am