(Art, The Bard, Greeks, Great Scots & a little Caribbean Crush…)

It’s still May and despite some decidedly unseasonable weather last week, it’s still one of my favorite times to be Downtown! As the flowers bloom, so does Downtown and she shows off with a whirlwind of events that’ll get you out of your house and down on Main Street! This week’s blog highlights everyone’s favorite Arts festival, some works by the Bard, party with some cool Caribbean vibes, going Greek and a lot of guys in kilts!

To art lovers, Spring means one thing…ARTISPHERE! This weekend, our fair city will play host to this exuberant celebration of the visual and performing arts. Beginning with a fancy Opening Gala at Courtyard by Marriott and Nantucket Grill on Thursday, Artisphere launches into full swing on Friday, May 10th. Featuring not only exhibits from local and regional artisans, this arts extravaganza also spotlights performances from local musicians, theatre groups, dance troupes and other performing artists. Saturday and Sunday’s festivities also include Wine Tasting, Artists’ Demonstrations and Classes, as well as fun events for the kids at Kidsphere. And, since Sunday is Mothers’ Day, this event offers an excellent array of creative gift ideas for Mom. As always, restaurant vendors will be on hand to offer a variety of choices in food, beverage, beer and wine. Hours for this festival are noon -8PM on Friday, 10AM – 8PM on Saturday, and 11AM – 6PM on Sunday. There is no admission to this event held on Main Street and Broad near Falls Park. For more information, visit

Fans of all things flamingoes and flip-flops will LOVE the South Carolina Children’s Theatre’s Annual Fundraiser, Caribbean Crush! This laid-back event featuring Caribbean steel drums, fantastic food, beach drinks and a silent auction has been the talk of the town for the past 6 years. So, don your sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts and join the other Bermuda-shorted partiers at ZEN on Friday, May 17th. The festivities go into full swing at 7PM, with tickets still available for $50 and all proceeds benefitting the many wonderful programs for children and teens the SCCT has to offer. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit

The Greeks have known how to throw a party for thousands of years and Greenville’s Grecian community proudly carries on that tradition with their annual Greek Festival. For four fun-filled days (May 16 – 19), Greenville becomes “Greekville” as St. George Greek Orthodox Church becomes a sea of all things Greek. Beginning on Thursday, May 16th, you will be able to satisfy your cravings for souvlaki, gyros and all kinds of yummy Greek pastries as lunch and dinner will be served at the Hellenic Center. Don’t have time to sit down to eat? They have drive-thru service at the Elford Street entrance, so you can get a taste of Greece in minutes. The “glendi” (that’s Greek for party) really starts up on Friday, with an assortment of food, traditional Greek dance and live music. All that dancing will leave you exhausted, so be sure to stop by the Kafenion (Greek Coffee Shop) to recharge your batteries with a steaming cup of Greek coffee and a wedge of delicious baklava, before strolling through the Marketplace to view an assortment of Mediterranean wares. The festivities continue full swing through the weekend until Sunday evening. Hours are 10:30AM to 8PM (Dining only) Thursday, 10:30AM to 10PM Friday and Saturday, and 11:30AM to 8PM Sunday. Cost of admission is only $1. For more information, visit:

On Thursday, May 23, the Scots invade Downtown in true Highland fashion to rock out to the music of the Celtic band, Cleghorn (with guests, Smash the Radio and The Greenville Pipes & Drums) at Downtown Alive! Then on Friday evening, Downtown will be awash in plaid as kilted revelers stroll down Main Street in the Great Scot Parade. Starting at 6PM, the Parade, which grows larger each year, will feature pipe bands, Scottish military re-enactors, Highland themed floats, Scottish forest fairies and more tartans than you can shake a bagpipe at – all to get the weekend started Highland style! The Friday festivities will grow to a fevered pitch with a raucous “ceildh” (that’s Gaelic for party)at the Peace Center Amphitheatre, featuring the music of Rathkeltair and Albannach. Want to really release your inner Braveheart? Then join your fellow Gaelic enthusiasts at the 2013 Greenville Scottish Games at Furman on Saturday, May 25. Competition begins at 8AM with evnts such as caber-tossing and piping continuing all day. Afterwards, visit the food tents to taste such Scottish delicacies as haggis (trust me, you really DON’T want to know what’s in it) and to browse through the vendors’ tents featuring goods from the heathered isles. Once again, Saturday’s events will wind down with a rockin’ Celtic Jam. For an events schedule, to order tickets and for more information on the Scottish Games, visit:

If all the world is a stage, then the stage is definitely set for the Upstate Shakespeare Festival at Falls Park. Every Thursday – Sunday, beginning May 23, Downtown thespians and other fans of a fellow named Shakespeare, will have the chance to experience some of his finest works…with a twist. This season marks the 19th for the festival , which Southern Living has named one of the Best Summer events in the South and attracts over 18,000 each summer. The Festival kicks off with a modern retelling of the action-filled drama, Hamlet (which runs through June 15th) The next in the series, Comedy of Errors will open on July 11th and run through August 3rd. Performances begin at 7PM and are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

So Downtownies…May is practically bursting with fun things to do in the DTGVL! So, why are you still sitting at your computer? Get yourself Downtown and enjoy all it has to offer! See you there!


So, did the delectable food at Greenville’s Greek Festival last weekend leave you yearning for more?  Found yourself with an overwhelming urge for souvlaki, dolmades and baklava? Don’t despair, Downtown Greenville has a variety of restaurants serving Greek, Italian and Mediterranean cuisine to satisfy your every craving!

For more than 40 years, Never on Sunday has been a little piece of Athens (that’s Greece, not Georgia) in Downtown Greenville. The atmosphere is cozy and eclectic, rather like visiting Grandma’s house  –  if Grandma grew up near the Aegean.  A true “Mom & Pop”,  proprietors  Nick and Iris  make it their mission to give you a good home-cooked meal (Nick cooks, Iris serves it up with an indulgent smile). Regulars say the dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) are a must have…as well as their Greek salads with Nick’s delicious homemade dressing. Don’t leave without sampling their legendary Baklava – best eaten with your fingers to get every savory morsel. Make sure you request a jug of wine for that true Greek dining experience. Located at 210 East Coffee Street, Nick and Iris serve up lunch and dinner every day except…you guessed it…Sunday (& Monday). Prices are very affordable and although reservations are not required, weekends can get a little busy at dinner, so you may want to call ahead.

Greek marries Italian at Milano Kozani, a charming restaurant with plenty of Mediterranean romance.  Located at 12 South Main Street, this restaurant and its Italian trained chef, strive to bring diners the best in Italian cuisine from the region of Emilia Romagna. Try the Pollo Isabelle- grilled chicken breast  topped with fried goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil and a white wine lemon cream sauce to die for…all served over olive oil sautéed spinach. Or, if you love Lasagna, try theirs either with meat or vegetarian, one of the House favorites. Can’t decide what to have? Then order their Greek or Italian Sampler Platter for a little bit of everything!  Add to this a supreme wine list that will make you think it was designed by the god of wine himself, and you have a meal that will have you feeling like you’ve gone to Mount Olympus! If you find yourself Downtown at lunchtime, then stop by for their Lunch Buffet, served Monday-Friday 11AM-2PM. At less than $10, you’ll be glad you did!

Speaking of Italian, Ristorante Bergamo brings a bit of Northern Italy to the heart of Greenville. A culinary cornerstone of Downtown for over 25 years, this destination of Italian foodies is named for Greenville’s sister city, Bergamo, Italy. Chef/owner and native Bergamasco, Nello Gioia has made his mark on our local restaurant scene with a menu that is a culinary work of art. A believer in the Slow Food method, this creative chef uses fresh, sustainable ingredients such as organic herbs grown in his own garden, Tuscan olive oil, heirloom vegetables grown regionally, Carnoli Rice  (the signature of his risotto dishes),  and polenta – the yellow corn meal staple often found in Bergamasca cooking.  Located in a primo spot at 100 North Main Street, Ristorante Bergamo offers fine dining in an intimate atmosphere, with lovely views of Downtown. Dinner is served Tuesday – Saturday and since the restaurant only seats 80 guests, reservations are strongly recommended.

Another Mediterranean restaurant with incredible views, but a more casual atmosphere is The Lazy Goat. This RiverPlace establishment offers an array of delectable dishes from Greece and Italy, with a culinary nod to the succulent flavors of Spain, Morocco and the Middle East.  While enjoying gorgeous views of the Reedy River from the dining room or the outdoor patio, diners can feast on such “made from scratch” delicacies as Pumpkin Tagliatelle – a crispy pancetta, served with braised greens, pine nut & sage brown butter, Braised Moroccan Lamb Shank – served with warm pita, cucumber yogurt and plantain chips, or Fried Goat Cheese sprinkled with pistachio dust and drizzled with honey (my personal favorite).  The bar selection’s not too shabby either – try the refreshing Easy Breeze Martini (Absolute Ruby Red Vodka, Cranberry Juice and Fresh Lime) or the decadent Godiva Truffletini (Godiva Dark Chocolate and Godiva White Chocolate Liquor, Stoli Vodka, in a Chocolate laced glass with a splash of milk). You may just decide to spend your Saturdays there, sipping drinks on the patio with friends while listening to live music – for time that is truly “well wasted”.

For a meal that is a step above the ordinary, try Pomegranate On Main. This upscale West End restaurant with its exotic décor and Persian-inspired delicacies will have you expecting to see Lawrence of Arabia walk in at any moment! With delectable offerings of kabobs, stews and, of course, hummus, your taste buds will be dancing with elation all night! Try the Chicken Torsh Kabob – generous chunks of lean chicken breast, marinated in a zesty Pomegranate sauce that’s both sweet and sour, mixed with walnuts and served with basmati cranberry rice – YUM! Vegetarians will love the Kashk Bademjan – sautéed eggplant and onion, topped with Persian cream of whey, crispy fried onion and mint, or the Vegetarian Fesenjan – a savory stew with sautéed Portobello mushrooms slow cooked in a finely ground walnut and Pomegranate sauce, served with basmati rice. For the ultimate dining experience, have your meal outside under the pergola, while sipping wine and people watching from its South Main location.

It is the diversity of restaurants such as these that continue to make Downtown Greenville a major culinary destination. From the cozy, home-like setting of Never on Sunday to the fine dining of Ristorante Bergamo to the laid-back casualness of The Lazy Goat, there is never a lack of good times centered around food in our fair city. SALUTE!


Never On Sunday: 210 Coffee Street; 864-232-2252; Hours: Lunch-11:30 AM-2 PM Tuesday-Friday; Dinner – 5-9 PM Tuesday-Saturday

Milano Kozani: 12 South Main Street; 864-263-3561;; Hours: Food served from 11AM -10PM, 7 days a week

Ristorante Bergamo: 100 North Main Street; 864- 271-8667;; Hours: Dinner – 5:30pm – 9:30PM, Tuesday-Saturday

The Lazy Goat: 170 RiverPlace; 864- 679-5299;; Hours: Open for lunch at 11AM & dinner at 5:00, Monday – Saturday

Pomegranate On Main: 618 South Main Street; 864-241-3012; www.; Hours: Lunch – 11:30AM to 2:30PM; Dinner – 5:30PM UNTIL-Monday-Friday; . Saturday 11:30AM UNTIL.

et cetera