Sumter, South Carolina, had modest beginnings as a plantation town before it became notable as a strategic base during the Civil War. It grew into a key industrial center, and today is still one of the area’s most popular cities for trading and business, and is also home to a military base. Read on for 10 great suggestions for eating in Sumter.
Willie Sue’s has become a local favorite due to its cosy local charm. It offers comfort food such as grilled chicken, shrimp skewers, and tasty southern steak. The exterior of the restaurant is designed in a traditional Civil War–era style that is well suited to the history of the city, with wooden beams and cladding. Inside, there are pictures of the city’s past, such as of work at the cotton mills or on the farms; the restaurant has a great genuine local flavor.
Located pretty much at the center of town, Yucatan is a family-owned Mexican restaurant, offering classic dishes such as fajitas, tacos, and burritos, which can be washed down with a crisp and refreshing margarita. The restaurant is almost hidden away at the corner of a shopping complex, but is certainly a hidden gem. It is popular with locals who believe it to be the best Mexican restaurant in town, not only for food but also for friendly service.
Logan’s Roadhouse is a tasty restaurant offering American favorites (think ribs, hot wings, and country fried steak). While there are a number of locations across the country, each branch has a menu specifically tailored to the region, so visitors in Sumter can look forward to some classic South Carolinian fare. It is conveniently located in the main restaurant area of Sumter, and every table comes with complementary peanuts still in the shell for an authentic twist. The place is busy most evenings, which gives it a great atmosphere.
Located in the historical area of Downtown Sumter, J. O’Grady’s offers burgers as well as a number of other American dishes. Diners have the option of building their own burgers by selecting the bun type, meat, and fillings. For something a little lighter, there are also salads, sandwiches, and an enticing range of appetizers. There are a few tables outside for sunny days, while the interior features exposed brick walls, black and white photographs, and a long bar.
Simply Southern Bistro offers delicious Southern specialties, such as fried oysters, Southern shrimp, and Charleston chicken. The service is exceptionally friendly, with the owners greeting guests at the door, and the atmosphere has a relaxed Southern charm. Sumter is located close to the coast, so there are a number of seafood specialties, such as the seafood platter and the cucumber dill salmon. Simply Southern is an excellent choice for diners looking for Southern hospitality and some regional flavors.
With a vibrant bar atmosphere, Palmetto Oyster House is a local favorite for dinner and drinks. The menu is mainly seafood, with dishes such as fried shrimp, crab tacos, and, of course, oysters. There are also a number of non-fishy options, such as steak and pasta. The bar is well stocked, with a long beer list and featuring tap and bottled options. The service is attentive, and the place is popular with locals and lively in the evenings.
Set in a light and bright modern dining room, Hamptons is Sumter’s fanciest place to eat. Located in historic downtown, the restaurant’s exterior features large windows, a chic awning, and classy lanterns. Inside, the restaurant features modern artwork and stylish table settings. The menu is seasonal, featuring locally sourced ingredients, and dishes such as chargrilled octopus, Carolina shrimp, and roasted duck breast. The restaurant also has an on-site bakery, which makes fresh produce daily, including both sweet and savory options, from strawberry cheesecake or peanut butter cookies to focaccia or honey wheat bread.
Baker’s Sweets is a popular restaurant known mainly for its bakery options but which also offers a bistro dining menu. The bakery offers classic items such as brownies, cookies, and muffins, plus a great range of traditional Southern layer cakes. The bistro offers a range of light and substantial options, including sandwiches, quiche, burgers, and grilled chicken. Baker’s Sweets has a local vibe and is owned by a Sumter native, which gives it an authentic and genuine appeal. A lovely spot for a snack, coffee, or a sit-down meal.
Sambino’s has been around in Sumter for more than 30 years, and became a local favorite thanks to its personable service and tasty dishes. The menu offers classic Italian dishes, such as calzones and Parmesan chicken, but is also well known for its more locally inspired shrimp and grits. The restaurant itself is pretty small, which gives it an intimate atmosphere. At peak times there is often a live musician to accompany the dining experience. Price: Mid-range Hours: Mon-Sat 10AM-10:30PM Watch out for: Savory garlic rolls
Offering a delicious selection of seafood dishes, The Shrimper is a favorite with Sumter locals thanks to its hospitality and fresh ingredients. The restaurant has a friendly and relaxed local atmosphere. Dishes including catfish nuggets, hushpuppies, and popcorn shrimp. For those who aren’t fans of fish, the fried chicken is also a popular choice. The Shrimper is nothing fancy, but is known for its tasty home cooking, generous portions, and affordable prices. A great choice for those looking for friendly service and local dishes.