Whether your usual preference is for a “fancy” restaurant complete with tablecloths and cloth napkins, or you prefer a down-home kind of place that reminds you of your mother’s kitchen, you can certainly find whatever your heart (and stomach) desires in the Palmetto State. South Carolina is home to a countless number of fabulous restaurants ranging from one end of the “fancy” spectrum to the other. Here are 13 favorite diners, drive-ins and dives that will send your tastebuds reeling and your tummy into euphoria.
1. Ike's Korner Grill - Spartanburg
It's painted right on the side of the building at Ike's, "Best Burger In Town," and folks tend to agree! This hometown eatery makes its own pimento cheese and takes the time to hand-pat each burger with love. Mmm. That must be their secret ingredient: love. If you dare, order the "Burger Challenge" shown here, but you'd better bring someone to drive you home and then prepare to sleep for several days.
How to get here: 104 Archer Rd, Spartanburg, SC 29303
2. Flopeye Diner - Great Falls
If you love eating at honest-to-goodness hometown places then you'll really love the Flopeye Diner. Firstly lets just talk about the funky outside decorations. You'll know from the moment you pull into the lot that something deliciously creative is waiting inside. Once inside, you'll find wholesome yumminess, like fried bologna, liver mush and country fried steak, to name just a few of the menu items. This hometown diner has been around so long it's a second home to the locals.
How to get here: 511 Chester Ave, Great Falls, SC 29055
3. McClellanville Diner - McClellanville
Just off coastal highway 17 south of McClellanville, this amazing eatery is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. McClellanville Diner is so popular it could easly be called a "destination restaurant." Have just one meal here and you'll see why people are willing to drive so far for their down-home coastal dishes. Another reason? They only serve local-caught shrimp! Yum.
How to get here: 9905 US-17, McClellanville, SC 29458.
4. Summerton Diner - Summerton
For starters, this is just one beautiful plate of food! Anyone who's been to the Summerton Diner will back me up: it all looks this amazing. For an unforgettable "meat and two sides" Summerton Diner is an excellent choice in the midlands.
How to get here: 32 South Church Street, Summerton, SC 29148.
5. Hannibals Kitchen - Charleston
Hannibal's Kitchen proves you don't have to be pretty to have fantastic food. Located right off East Bay Street near the Ravenel Bridge, Hannibal's is an East Side soul food institution. Not sure if you're game for this plate of pork neck, pig tail, collards and rice? Not to worry, you can stick with more mainstream fare, like the best fried chicken in town.
How to get here: 16 Blake St, Charleston, SC 29403
6. Beacon Drive-In - Spartanburg
Thanksgiving Day 2016 marks The Beacon Drive-In's 70th anniversary. Any trip taking you near Spartanburg warrants a detour to The Beacon Drive-In. The second-largest drive-in in the United States dishes up home-cooked meals seven days a week and is so popular they go through three tons of potatoes per week. Wow!
How to get here: 255 John B White Sr Blvd, Spartanburg, SC 29306
7. Sno-Cap Drive-In - North Augusta
There's always a lot going on at the Sno-Cap in North Augusta. This old-fashioned carhop restaurant also offers inside dining, or just stay in your car. In 2015, Sno-Cap celebrated 50 years in business. It's easy to see why when you look at the colossal root beer floats they serve!
How to get here: 618 West Ave, North Augusta, SC 29841
8. Sunrise Drive-In Restaurant - Florence
Generations of families have been enjoying the home-cooked meals at Florence's Sunrise Drive-In. If you go, the Great Calabash Shrimp Dinner (above) is among the favorites on this extensive menu. Not in the mood for seafood? Hands-down, the best burgers in town are right here at Sunrise!
How to get here: 3624 E Palmetto St, Florence, SC 29506
9. Blackmon's Little Midget Drive-In - Camden
For a hotdog you just can't resist in Camden, you can't pass up Blackmon's Little Midget. This drive in has been dishing them up for more than 50 years from this same location. Go all the way with the chili slaw cheese dog shown here. Just ask for "The Sink."
How to get here: 1012 Market St, Camden, SC 29020
10. Dixie Drive-In - Greenwood
Anyone who's ever seen this iconic sign in Greenwood and stopped for a bite knows the classic food dished up by this Greenwood landmark is delicious. They're open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
How to get here: 600 Montague Ave, Greenwood, SC 29649
11. The Rough House - Abbevile
Ask a local for the best hotdog in Abbeville and they won't even have to think about it before answering. That's because at least three family generations of locals have grown up stuffing their faces with hotdogs at this famous eatery. In business since 1932, The Rough House is an icon in these parts. Be sure to leave room for some ice cream for dessert!
How to get here: 116 Court Square, Abbeville, SC 29620
12. Ruth's Drive-In - Hartsville
Ruth's is the "go-to" place in Hartsville when you're craving food like mom used to make. Try the pimento grilled cheese or just stuff your face with the "meat and three sides" at lunchtime. Ruth's also plates up a breakfast that means business.
How to get here: 659 W Carolina Ave, Hartsville, SC 29550
13. Scott's BBQ - Hemingway
No list of South Carolina diners, drive-ins, and dives would be complete without adding Scott's BBQ in Hemingway. Scott's proves you don't have to be fancy to be fabulous. Located in this variety store with their "pit" out back, Scott's (usually) has a couple of tables inside, or if you want, just sit on the big bench on the porch.
How to get here: 2734 Hemingway Hwy, Hemingway, SC 29554