This is the week that I find myself craving that perfectly poured Guinness. And not poured by just anyone, but by a curly-haired bartender with a gleam in his eye, an adorable accent and a name like Sean or Declan. If you find yourself looking for more “grown-up” festivities for St. Patrick’s Day, then look no further than Downtown Greenville, where there is music and merriment and St. Paddy’s parties abound!

Want to immerse yourself completely in the Irish beverage experience, but unsure of which one to try? Then let The Greenville Beer Exchange tutor you on that subject. As part of their weekly free beer tastings, GBX will be introducing beer lovers to all the wonderful beers, ales and stouts that hail from the Emerald Isle this Thursday, the 14th. The tasting begins at 5PM and continues until 7PM. Like some of the beer you’ve sampled? Then you may want to take home a growler of your favorite to share with your friends (or keep all to yourself)! For more info, visit

On Friday, March 15th, Sharkey’s Pub asks “Who’s Your Paddy?” This ever-popular, annual Bar Bus Tour will visit at least 6 of Greenville’s friendliest drinking establishments (and maybe more) to allow revelers to celebrate St. Paddy’s in style! Festivities start at 6:15PM at Sharkey’s Pub and the bus rolls out from there. This pub crawl includes t-shirts and door prizes that’ll have you dancing an Irish jig (or if that doesn’t, the drink specials certainly will)! The cost is $20 in advance / $25 the day of the pub crawl. To register and for details, visit

Saturday, March 16th, will see a plethora of St. Patrick’s parties taking place Downtown. Wild Wing Café invites you to revisit the ‘80’s with everyone’s favorite flashback band, Retro Vertigo! With a play list that is certain include everything from Van Morrison to U2, you can find yourself transported back to the time of Bono’s “uber-mullet”. For info, call 242-9453. The Velo Fellow celebrates Ireland’s patron saint with drink specials on Murphy’s Irish Stout and Irish Car Bombs, a wondrous thing called “Pudding Shots” for $1 and an Irish-themed menu that includes such amazing food items as Irish nachos and corned beef plates. Top that off with a musical performance by local bluegrass band, BearWallow, and you have a celebration that even St. Pat himself would enjoy! For details, call 242-9296. Chicora Alley’s festivities are not only a nod to Greenville’s Celtic roots, but a birthday bash for two of her favorite local musicians, Jef Chandler and Jeff Buchanan, as well! Jef & Jeff, together with fellow musician, Brian Buffalo, invite you to don your green apparel and join them for all the fun! Call 232-4100 to find out more.

Not Downtown, but nearby, are two excellent pubs in which to raise a pint to toast the Emerald Isle. The Irish Pub, located on Pleasantburg – and owned and operated by an Irish guy named Patrick (really!) – throws the grandaddy of all Irish parties, so big that it takes up the entire weekend! With live Irish music, complete with pipers and step dancers, and authentic Irish beer, stout & ale, this party celebrates all things Irish (hey, even the bartenders are Irish)! The fun starts Saturday, the 16th and continues until Patrick throws everyone out. Then it all starts up again on Sunday, the 17th! Not to be outdone, Fitzpatrick’s Irish Pub on Laurens Road invites you to their St. Patty’s DAZE. Starting Thursday, March 14th and continuing through the 16th, and offering food and drink specials, door prizes and live music, this event and this pub are definitely worth checking out!

Although, one of Downtown’s favorite St. Patrick’s events, The Blarney Bash, will not be happening this year, Greenville offers many ways to get your Irish on! So, pull on that “Kiss Me I’m Irish” t-shirt and your shamrock sunglasses, dye your hair green and head Downtown to Party with St. Paddy! But, however you decide to celebrate, have fun and be safe! Erin Go Braugh!


One of my favorite holiday movies has to be The Christmas Story. Who can forget that hilarious scene when Ralphie & his family, holiday dinner having been devoured by the Bumpuses’ dogs, are forced to have their holiday meal at the only restaurant in town that is open…Chop Suey Palace. If you find yourself without Thanksgiving dinner (from consumption by the neighbors’ dogs or for some other reason), don’t resort to “Chinese Turkey”…head Downtown to one of these fine eateries for a Thanksgiving meal worthy of its own holiday movie!

If you want a home-cooked meal to rival Grandma’s, look no further than Spoonbread Restaurant at The Westin Poinsett.  Deriving its name from the famous ‘spoonbread” long served at the Poinsett Hotel, this iconic eatery offers both brunch & dinner options on Thanksgiving Day. Start your holiday off right with Virginia Ham & its Maple Mustard Glaze and some Maple Rosemary Biscuits.  Or visit their Made To Order Omelet & Pasta Station…with over 25 different ingredients to choose from. Come back for dinner and enjoy such Thanksgiving classics as Sage Rubbed Turkey served with all the traditional sides such as Cornbread Dressing & giblet gravy or Cinnamon Pumpkin Soup. Or, for a twist on tradition, try the Seared Salmon, served with a Mustard Glaze over Goat Cheese Grits and Braised Collard Greens. Finish it all off with a big slice of Pecan Pie or Red Velvet Cake and your taste buds will be thanking you!

Another longtime favorite of Downtown foodies, Soby’s, will also be open Thanksgiving Day. Chef Shaun Garcia & his team are putting together a wonderful Thanksgiving menu featuring all your favorites such as Buttermilk Braised Turkey & Pineapple Glazed Pit Ham and sides such as Brown Sugar Spiced Sweet Potatoes, Maple Butternut Squash Succotash & Soby’s delicious Garlic Cheddar Biscuits. Add a dessert of their delightful Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites & it will be a day well-spent. Soby’s Table 301 partner, Devereaux’s, will also be serving a special menu on Thanksgiving Day. Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage & Rosemary and Roasted Pork Loin will be taking center stage, supported by such appetizing sides as Green Bean Casserole & Sweet Potato Puree. Their dessert menu looks mighty tasty as well, with Apple Spice Cake & Chocolate Mousse Cake & more – making it hard to choose!

If you prefer your Thanksgiving to be a little more laid-back and Lowcountry, then head to High Cotton for some down-home cooking, Charleston style!  For starters, try the Roasted African Squash Soup –Maine Lobster, Pumpkin Seed Brittle & Vanilla Crème Fraiche.  Want to forego the traditional Thanksgiving fare in favor of some traditional Lowcountry delicacies?  Then try the famous High Cotton Shrimp & Grits – featuring huge Shrimp with Chicken Andouille Sausage, Melted Leeks, Sharp Cheddar Grits & Tarragon Broth…you may never have turkey for Thanksgiving again! For dessert, try the Pecan Tart with decadent Chocolate Sauce & Cranberry Compote…YUM! If you want to go even more laid-back, visit Sticky Fingers, who will be preparing a delicious Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings. Not feeling Turkey? They will also be offering their regular menu of amazing BBQ favorites.

The weather on Thanksgiving Day promises to be gorgeous, with sunny skies & highs in the mid-60, so you may opt for dining al fresco. The Green Room, with its cozy outdoor seating and its delectable menu, is an excellent choice.  Start things off with a Southern classic appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes, served with Herbed Cream Cheese & Red Pepper Relish.  Move on to something a little unexpected, like their Braised Short Ribs, served with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes & Bacon Brussell Spouts. Thanksgiving traditionalists need not fret, The Green Room will be serving Brined & Roasted Turkey, as well as the expected sides such as Herbed Stuffing and Macaroni & Cheese (which is considered a vegetable here in the South) as well as Pecan Pie (although I tend to opt for the sinfully delicious Chocolate Brownie, a la mode & topped with a yummy Blackberry Sauce). The bar will remain open late for those wishing to hang out and get in the “Holiday Spirit” of the alcohol-inspired sort.

Speaking of the Holiday Spirit, several bars will also be open Thanksgiving Day for those who want to escape all the “family togetherness” for a little while, or who maybe just want to get together with friends (who I call my “urban family”). Downtown watering holes that will be welcoming guests on the 22nd include such local favorites as Sharkey’s Pub, Barley’s Tap Room (upstairs only), Blue Ridge Brewing Company, On The Roxx, City Tavern & the bar at Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen.  As always, if you imbibe in too much of the Turkey of the bottled, Wild variety…PLEASE take a cab home! We want you around to enjoy many more good times Downtown. Well, have fun & be safe Downtownies…and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

More Info on Restaurants:

■High Cotton: 550 S. Main Street, 335-4200 – Open 1PM-7PM –

■Spoonbread Restaurant at The Westin Poinsett: 421-9700 – Open for Brunch 10:30AM-2:30PM & for Dinner 5:30PM-9:30PM- Brunch Cost: $29.95 for adults, $14.95 for children 7-12; Dinner Cost: $32.00 –

■The Green Room: 116 N. Main Street, 335-8222 – Open 11AM-8PM – Cost:  $30 for adults, $12 for kids under 12 – (Bar to remain open late)

■Soby’s: 207 S. Main Street, 232-7007 – Open 11AM-7PM –

■Sticky Fingers: 1 S. Main Street, 331-7427 – Open Noon – 7PM – Cost: $17.99 for adults, $8.99 kids 4-12 –

■Devereaux’s: 25 E. Court Street, 241-3030 – Open Noon-4PM – Cost: $28 for adults, $14 for children 7-12 –


{June 15, 2012}   Feed The Carnivore Within

car·ni·vore (kärn-vôr, -vr) noun:  somebody who eats meat: somebody who is not a vegetarian and likes to eat meat…lots of meat!

This Sunday is Father’s Day and there is almost no better way to bond with Dad than by consuming vast quantities of meat…beef specifically. Now, I know nothing beats getting together in the backyard with all the guys in your family to grill up some former animal over an open flame. But what if you don’t have a grill…or even a backyard? Well, no worries…there are restaurants Downtown that serve up burgers so sinful, you may feel the need to go to church after eating them!

I occasionally do the vegetarian thing – I eat Boca burgers, Portobella mushrooms disguised as burgers, even beans and rice mixed together, flavored and fried to resemble burgers. But nothing brings me back to my carnivorous tendencies quite like the Beefalo Burger served at Barley’s Taproom.  What is a Beefalo, you may ask? A Beefalo is a grain-fed cross between a steer and a buffalo, resulting in meat that is leaner, very flavorful and higher in iron and protein than ordinary beef.  Topped with spinach and served on a tasty whole grain bun, this burger is actually pretty good for you! When your Barley’s server asks you what side you’d like with it, pick the potato salad…trust me on this one. Add a pint of beer chosen from their wonderful selection of unique pilsners, porters, ales and stouts (I always enjoy it with a Guinness, myself), and you’ll have a meal that’ll make Dad think you might be a pretty great kid after all.

Another burger that awakens my hidden carnivore is the Bohemian Burger at…you guessed it…The Bohemian Café. If you take Dad there for Father’s Day, be warned that The Bohemian is only open 11AM – 2PM for brunch on Sundays. But the special trip is worth it for this half pound of hand-pattied Black Angus sirloin, cooked to order and served with a juicy tomato, crisp lettuce and a red onion on a fresh roll. To truly send your taste buds to burger nirvana, add blue cheese crumbles and applewood-smoked bacon –YUM! When the server tells you that the burger comes with chips, you may be disappointed, but trust me your disappointment will quickly fade as soon as you bite into one of the delectably crunchy little bits of salty perfection. Many patrons visit this café just for these homemade potato chips! If your appetite is particularly hearty this day, and, if you’re a fan of blue cheese like me, ask for a side of blue cheese macaroni…you’ll be glad you did!

Speaking of blue cheese, another mouthwatering burger worth a try can be found at Liberty Tap Room. This laid-back, testosterone –friendly pub certainly has its share of tasty burger options. You may find it hard to choose between the Freedom Burger, the Swiss Burger, and the Cowboy Burger, but it’s the Red, White & Blue Burger that keeps me coming back for more! This Cajun-crusted certified Angus patty, topped with blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato, crispy onion straws and even MORE blue cheese in the form of dressing poured on top is so delectable, it outta come with a warning label!  Add a perfectly poured beer from their vast selection on tap and you have a meal fit for a burger-loving king!

Are you drooling yet? Well, if you have a heart condition, you may want to stop reading here, because the next two burgers will make you have to double up on your cholesterol meds.  The first burger worthy of owning your own personal defibrillator for is The Stone Burger (also known to regulars as the Krispy Kreme Burger) at Grille 33/The Channel. Now, Grille 33/The Channel is known far and wide for their delicious patties of beef, all named after Greenville streets and landmarks, and each more mouth-watering than the one before.  Brian “Head” Welch, formerly of Korn, often makes a pilgrimage to this humble establishment just to experience them. But this one miraculous creation rises above the rest. The 8 ounces of juicy certified Angus beef, topped only by  a thick slice of sharp cheddar cheese (no veggies needed), is served up on every southerner’s favorite breakfast item, a glazed Krispy Kreme donut. I KNOW…A KRISPY KREME DONUT!!! How crazy is THAT?! Improbable though it may sound, this impossibly delectable burger is so “sacri-licious”, just by eating it you will have certainly committed at least six of the Seven Deadly Sins.

If you venture north up Main Street, you’ll find Northgate Soda Shop and another burger you will happily clog your arteries for – the Pimento Cheese Burger.  So seriously scrumptious, this burger has already enjoyed a good bit of notoriety from burger aficionados from all over the US – George Motz even waxed poetic about this local favorite in his book, “Hamburger America”.  But North Main residents have long known about this heart-attack inducing little bit of hamburger excellence. As soon as you walk into the Northgate Soda Shop, with its retro décor that seems frozen sometime in the 1950’s, you know that you’ve stumbled upon something truly special. And once that amazing, “old-school” burger (the recipe is over 40 years old) is set in front of you, with that tangy mix of mayo, cheddar cheese and pimentos oozing over the bright red tomato and farm-fresh lettuce onto the grilled bun, you’ll be sure you’ve died and gone to heaven…and not just regular heaven, but Carnivore Heaven Supreme! Just taking one bite of the moist burger covered in cheesy meltiness will make you feel sorry for all the poor souls who have yet to venture to this little piece of Downtown to discover this wonderous delight! Now, I’m waxing poetic…but really…it’s THAT FREAKIN’ GOOD!

Now, I’m not saying these are the only choices for burgers in Downtown Greenville, just some of my personal favorites. I hear that the West End Burger at Smoke on the Water and the Gastro Pub Burger at Nose Dive are near perfect, I just haven’t had the opportunity to try them yet (looks like there may be a Part Deux to this article in the future) and Sharkey’s Pub, Corner Pocket and Blue Ridge Brewing Company also have tasty burgers, but with limited space, I had to narrow it down to the ones that most inspired “burger lust” in my carnivorous little heart! Many of these fine establishments also offer delicious alternatives with yummy veggie burgers…but this article is all about the beef!  So I suggest that you take this opportunity to impress Dad with a little “Burger Exploration” yourself…you’ll strengthen your bond with your “old man” and maybe even discover some beef patties worthy of a little “burger lust”of your own! Happy Father’s Day!

More Info…

Barley’s Taproom: 25 W Washington Street; (864) 232-3706 (Across from the bus station)

The Bohemian Café: 2 W Stone Avenue; (864) 233-0006 (Next to Horizon Records)

Liberty Tap Room: 941 S Main Street;· (864) 770-7777 (Next to Fluor Field)

Grille 33 / The Channel: 221 N Main Street; (864) 552-1990 (Across from The Hyatt)

Northgate Soda Shop: 918 N Main Street; (864) 235-6770 (In North Main neighborhood)

et cetera