Since dates come in all different shapes and sizes and with various price tags, we’ve rounded up our favorites in the Columbia area to give our readers our Top Pics for Hot Dates. Be it your first date – a no pressure morning jog together and stop for a cup of joe, or a fancy 10 year anniversary or special occasion celebration, we have the inside scoop and an invitation for you to visit some of our favorite spots!…
Owner Tony Raffa has made his debut in Columbia after first opening in Washington DC and Athens GA. This young entrepreneur opened his doors downtown with coffee and made-to-order donuts catering to the college crowd (and local patrons) who flock to get their day started right with “donuts your way”. A unique concept much like a frozen yogurt shop. For one set price, you can customize your perfect creation. Start with a chocolate or vanilla donut base, then pick your flavored glaze or coating and add limitless toppings. Here are just a few variations to tempt your tastebuds – Lemon Coconut, Cinnamon Sugar with Pecans, Chocolate with Raspberry Drizzle, or for the true donut enthusiast, Maple Bacon!!
And to sweeten the deal even more, Zombie is passionate about giving back to the community through supporting local charitable organizations and allowing visitors to vote for monthly nominations that they give to.
650 Lincoln Street
Columbia, SC 29201
In the 17 years that Columbia has been “home base” for us, we’ve watched the downtown scene grow and develop and love the new faces we see on the block!!
Grill Marks came on the scene a few years ago and is best known for their upscale burgers crafted from a custom blend of chopped Certified Angus Beef, resulting in something more akin to a “steak on a bun” than a common hamburger. Noted for serving ‘The South’s Best Burgers’ and being one of ‘The 31 Best Burger Joints in America’, Grill Marks also serves fresh salads, and “undressed” options for the health conscious or gluten free diner who prefers a lettuce wrap and to go easy on the carbs. And while they are famous for their burgers, it is perhaps their “Freakshakes” that set them apart as no competitor on the scene comes close to competing with these architectural, artistic and culinary wonders!! Get a load of that thing!! Grill Marks makes their own ice cream in house and spins each milkshake to order.
We recommend dining al fresco on the patio with beautiful exposed brick walls and a great “people watching” vantage point near the Vista.
711 Gervais St
Columbia, SC 29201
Located on the corner of Main Street and Taylor sits the Main Street Public House. This place is hopping on weekends as its become a popular dining experience for dinner parties and group gatherings as the place to mix and mingle. Serving up refined casual cuisine which is described as “quality without pretension”, they are open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner as well as brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Main Street Public House offers unique spins on classic favorites and has been recognized and awarded for a number of their culinary achievements such as their outstanding “shrimp and grits” which I can personally attest is the best Ive ever had!
Their chef sources the freshest , seasonal ingredients and shops local whenever possible, utilizing both new and old world techniques throughout the well versed menu. Almost everything is made entirely from scratch and Main Street Public House also proudly serves premium, NY style pizza in their custom brick oven (one of only two in the state!!). The menu boasts a wide assortment of hand crafted cocktails, unique wines and a vast variety of quality brews on tap. For the later crowd (which we are not because, well….7 kids) the Main Street Public House brings in live music from regional musicians and DJ’s.
This has been our go-to for a couple of special occasion dinner dates because, well, Italian food…it’s my love language! On our most recent visit, our waiter, Gabriel, took a moment to share with us that the intimate dining experience is enhanced because of the relationship amongst staff. “We are like family” he said as he knowledgeably offered suggestions from the wine menu and answered questions about our entree selections. “Its a work environment we all love” he expounded, which gives the quaint restaurant a homey, comfortable, yet elegant ambiance. The emphasis on family and team comes directly from the inspiration of the restaurant…It was was opened by Adam Huneau whose great grandmother (for whom the restaurant was named) passed on not only the secret family recipes, but a great devotion to family!
We’re partial to the Mushroom Crespelle if you really want a decadent splurge, but we have never been disappointed. The menu offers authentic Italian cuisine, including homemade sauces and Abruzzo pastas, in homage to the family’s Italian heritage. Really, you cant go wrong selecting from classics that will tantalize your tastebuds and set the tone for a romantic evening!
Due to its popularity, Alodia’s has just opened a second location and is serving lunch, dinner and brunch on Sundays!
101 W. Main Street
Lexington, SC 29072
Call: (803) 957-1986
2736 North Lake Drive
Columbia, SC 29212