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Gaston Grubs: 7 lip-smacking foodie spots you should try

Is it good food that you are looking for? (Bonus points for those that get the Lionel Richie reference) Lucky for you and your taste buds, I am always on the hunt for some serious grub-worthy places in the upstate and western North Carolina. My bank statement reads like a food diary, so this article will share some of the places that are worth all of your monies.

Up first is one of my favorite places for authentic Vietnamese cuisine in Spartanburg–The Lemongrass Kitchen.

If you love Phở  then you will adore this small locally-owned spot just steps away from Morgan Square.  Sometimes all you need to make you happy is a big bowl of noodles and broth.  The ingredients are fresh and the staff is accommodating and friendly. Pro Tip:  They have some amazingly delicious Vietnamese coffee! Don’t like coffee? Trust me, just drink it.

Up next, let drop into the Drop-In Store in downtown Greenville. Located right off of Stone Avenue, the convenience store meets foodie hot spot is a staple to the upstate community. Yes, you buy lottery tickets and other one-stop shop necessities, but this meeting place seriously has some really good grub. It has even been featured by Southern Living Magazine. 

There is no other place quite like it in the upstate. On any day you will see folks in suits mixed in with construction workers right next to millennial techies grabbing a quick bite before heading back to their co- workspace. The owner, Maria—is quite simply a breath of fresh air and a magician of culinary delights.  I performed an incredible disappearing act on these shrimp tacos with a fruit based salsa. You can also get a beer from her tap or buy a bottle of wine to enjoy right there in the store as you eat.

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There is nothing better on a Saturday morning/afternoon (for me) than to go on a run at my alma mater (Furman) and hit up the hip city of Travelers Rest.

One of my favorite places to grub in TR is Hare & Field. Pro-Tip: (They have $12 bottomless mimosas for weekend brunch—so, if you have more than 1 mimosa for $7 …its just simple math.)

Located right off of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, you can hop on and off to take a rest from your run, walk, or cycling adventures. The trendy eatery has a pretty small dining room but has plenty of outdoor  screened in patio seating.  Get the deviled eggs! They change them all the time, but they are always the perfect starter. I had the tomato sandwich—yes, I know tomatoes are not in season. If this southern staple is this good and it’s not in season…watch out!

Let’s hop over to the land of mountains and waterfalls. A few weeks ago, my sister invited the family to have lunch at a place called “Sisters” for brunch in Salem.  I don’t usually use Salem, South Carolina and brunch in the same sentence. This place was cute, casual, and heaping with southern charm. Note the life-sized rooster.  There are no fancy cocktails, no pulsing hipster playlists ,or themed menu items. There are recipes that are named after their employees. The Club hit the spot and got me all fueled for a day of hiking and outdoor activities.

After you are all worn out and need a refreshing beverage, stop by  Jocassee Valley Brewing Company.

They have plenty of great beer and entertainment. They serve light bites at the bar and usually have a food truck posted up outside for your enjoyment.  The brewery also features local and regional musicians in their indoor and outdoor performance areas.

If you are reading this article, food makes you happy. The grub and new Happy Hour offerings at downtown Greenville’s Foxcroft Wine is all you need.

Foxcroft is right in the center of the vibrant downtown area in the old Brazwell’s Pub building. The vibe is relaxed yet adult with gorgeous exposed brick all through the building. You can go in for a glass of wine and some light bites or buy a bottle and take it home. Recently, Foxcroft started Happy Hour on Tuesday-Thursday from 4pm-6pm. They offer specials on select glasses of wines and some of their most popular bites. Suggestions: The truffle fries are life, the house-made ricotta is a must, and need I say give me all the meats and cheeses!

Let’s end this food journey in one of my favorite food cities—Asheville, North Carolina.

I randomly ended up having lunch at Blue Dream Curry House simply because I love curry more than most humans.

They serve curries and cuisine from all over the world, and like most places in Asheville—local beer is always on tap.  Their Tom Kha Gai soup was like art in a bowl and tasted even better.  I opted for their special fried dumplings that were piping hot and packed with flavor. Don’t sleep on this spot!

As always, if you have some spots that I should try—follow me on Instagram @JamarcusGastonTV


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