The town of Easley has played an important role in South Carolina‘s history, and its quaint charm continues to attract visitors from across America. From all-out American buffets to classic family-run eateries, here are Easley’s top ten best restaurants for a real flavor of the South.
Hot Dogs | Courtesy of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
Groucho’s might be a chain, but it’s something of a South Carolinian legend. Harold ‘Groucho’ Miller, who created it in 1941, came to Columbia with the mission to create the highest quality sandwiches. Upholding the philosophy of ‘Fast, Fresh, and Original,’ Groucho’s specializes in subs and salads to sustain you until dinnertime. The range of fresh ingredients is endless — Muenster cheese (ideal for melting), top round roast beef, bologna, turkey, salami are but a few. You can also dip your sub sandwiches in one of the secret recipe sauces: Danish Bleu™ Dip and Roast Beef International Dip™ are amongst the most popular. At Groucho’s, the hungry never leave unsatisfied.
Inspired by his grandfather’s Thanksgiving hog roast, Randy Jones launched the first Mutts BBQ in Greer in 1998. An Easley outpost followed soon after, and since then, Mutts has been a firm favorite with the meat fans in South Carolina. Sticking to the tradition of using an open hickory wood fire, the meat at Mutts is cooked to perfection. Fill up on jumbo BBQ sandwiches, ribs, pulled pork and more, with a choice of locally inspired sides, including hush-puppies and Brunswick stew. There are also group menus on offer for larger parties and an All-You-Can-Eat buffet for the really hungry.
Founded in 2011, The Starving Artist Café aims to serve the freshest seasonal produce from the heart of South Carolina. Providing a range of vegan and vegetarian dishes, The Starving Artist Café is the ideal spot for a healthy snack or relaxed weekend brunch. Those up for indulging won’t be disappointed as the desserts here are particularly tasty. Supporting the area’s local artists, this cafe and gallery is a relaxed setting for your morning coffee or teatime treat. The Starving Artist Café is also open Friday and Saturday evenings until 9pm for dinner and live music events.
Inky’s Authentic Philadelphia Cheesesteaks and Hoagies
In homage to their grandfather ‘Inky,’ the family-run Inky’s brings authentic Philadelphia cheesesteaks and hoagies to Easley. Using Prime Angus rib eye with freshly baked, soft Amoroso rolls and white American or provolone cheese, Inky’s is the best place to try the famous Philly cheesesteak, along with a variety of ruebens and hoagies (finely sliced meat and salad on a long hoagie roll). You can choose between three different sizes of sandwiches depending on your appetite.
With four restaurants across South Carolina and one in Georgia, Silver Bay Seafood is a burgeoning seafood chain for the whole family. Known for their freshly caught produce and friendly service, Silver Bay is perfect for a meal out in large groups. New England clam chowder, yellow fin tuna steak, surf and turf, fried Alaskan white bait and baby shrimp, and Canadian flounder fillet are just some of Silver Bay’s highlights.
A quintessential American diner isn’t the place to count calories, and Freddy’s is where you can really go all out. From hot-off-the-grill ‘steakburgers’ (single, double or triple steak) to chili dogs and combo meals, there’s something for every fast-food whim. Freddy’s is especially known for its frozen custard (ice cream made with egg yolks in addition to sugar and cream), with inventive creations including ‘Dirt n’ Worms Concrete’ (vanilla custard, Oreo cookies and gummy worms) and ‘Hawaiian Delight Sundae’ (vanilla custard, pineapple, strawberry, coconut, and macadamia nuts). Be sure to try the fall special, ‘Pumpkin Pie Concrete.’
Known for their award-winning breakfasts and high quality, fair trade coffee, Coyote Café is Easley’s antidote to Starbucks. Heralded for its outstanding value for money, sample one of the breakfast treats from bagels (the Arizona with honey ham and melted cheese and the Sunshine Breakfast Bagel with bacon, egg and Swiss cheese are two favorites) to homemade oatmeal and fruity muffins. There’s also a wide range of protein shakes and smoothies available. With no less than 36 flavored syrups and 18 specialty combinations (hot, frozen or iced), Coyote Café takes coffee very seriously. Delivered directly to the site 24 hours after roasting, their organic Java coffee beans can be bought by the pound to enjoy at home. It is a highly recommended spot to get your caffeine fix.
Carnivores name LongHorn as their go-to restaurant for a good piece of steak. Open for lunch and dinner, LongHorn’s prides itself on their quality cuts of meat, lively atmosphere and generous portions. Here you’ll find the best of America’s boldest flavors: crispy jalapeño shooters, sweet chili calamari, and crab and artichoke dip for starters. Meat is where LongHorn really excels with the porterhouse, rib eye, New York strip, flat iron, t-bone – the list goes on. Plus, the restaurant’s specials aren’t to be missed — the renegade sirloin steak and baby back ribs and Oktoberfest mussels are hits of the moment.
A gem in the heart of Easley, Dozo is considered the best place for Japanese cuisine. Run by Chef Xue and his wife, Dozo is renowned for great hospitality matched by its authentic hibachi and sushi plates. Whichever way you prefer your Japanese food (raw or cooked), there’ll be an option to tempt you. Jumbo shrimp tempura, udon noodles, bento boxes and the chef’s specialty sushi rolls are all delectable choices. Try the ‘Volcano’ with spicy yellowtail crunch topped with spicy tuna and masago or the ‘NY Roll’ with shrimp tempura, topped with steamed scallop and crab mix.
The word ‘gem’ is readily used, but foodies confirm that Bella Vita is the real deal. This genuine trattoria offers fine quality Tuscan food in an intimate, family-style setting. The traditional Italian set menu of three courses (you can choose between Earth, Air or Water for your second dish) changes weekly, featuring seasonal produce and authentic Italian recipes. The hospitality is as cozy as the setting, with husband and wife team John and Kelly Dioguardi personally making sure that everyone is happy. Bella Vita is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday for dinner, and booking is essential. The restaurant is also a prime location for private parties, meetings or seasonal events.