Local Guide: Lindley Russell

Lindley Russell    The Greenville Graze

IG: @thegreenvillegraze 

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Hey there! I’m Lindley and I am the face of The Greenville Graze. I have always been biased towards this city and all it had to offer. In the past few years, people from far and near have also began to take notice of all Greenville has to offer and, as a result, it has quickly transformed into a total hub for new restaurants, bars, bakeries, breweries, food festivals, etc. My exploration of Greenville is never ending and I am truly having the time of my life discovering all the things that make Greenville the city it is. Sharing it is half the fun so check out my Instagram to see all my yummy finds (@thegreenvillegraze).

 

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But First, Coffee:

101 Espresso Bar – This little coffee shop recently opened over the summer but it already has my heart. Before taking my first sip, I was completely won over by the staff and their passion toward the business. They are all very knowledgeable in what they are selling and are very eager to educate the customer. Aside from the impeccable customer service, the coffee, made using beans from Panama, is so incredibly delicious (and I am very picky about my coffee!). They offer the usual lattes, cappuccinos, frappes, etc. but my favorite is their Greek Nescafe Frappe. It’s a little different than your average coffee but I promise it’s insanely good.

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Greek Nescafe Frappe @101espressobar

 

Swamp Rabbit Stops:

TReats – On the Travelers Rest end of the Swamp Rabbit, my absolute favorite stop is TReats. They offer a HUGE selection of smoothies (my favorite is the Main St. Mango) and fresh pressed juices that are perfect for an on-the-go treat after biking or running the trail. Another perfect quick treat are their protein energy balls made with oats, honey, peanut butter, coconut, dark chocolate, and whey protein. They are seriously so good that it’s hard to believe they’re healthy.

Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery – Towards the Greenville end of the trail, my favorite stop is without a doubt Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery. They also offer a large variety of quick, yummy treats including (but definitely not limited to) smoothies, sandwiches, scones, doughnuts, and other baked goods. If you happen to pass by Thursday-Sunday, their brick oven pizza is a must-try. Best of all, it’s all locally sourced!

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Strawberry Donut @swamprabbitcafe

Diamond In The Rough:

Irashiai Sushi Pub – When a sushi craving hits, most people look to Downtown Greenville to fill their void. However, just ten minutes from the bustling streets of Downtown Greenville is where you will find my all-time favorite sushi restaurant. The size of their menu and rolls (seriously, they’re huge) is second to none. If I had to narrow it down to my favorite rolls, I would suggest the Red Dragon, Big Chill, and Godzilla. If you weren’t already convinced, they also have a hefty appetizer selection. My top picks are the Ahi Hawaiian and Mussels Yaki (pictured below).

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Mussels Yaki @ Irashiai Sushi Pub

Healthy Eats:

Southern Pressed Juicery – SPJ offers a gigantic selection of cold pressed juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls, and other healthy yummy snacks. My love for SPJ blossomed after trying their smoothie bowls. Their bowls are super thick and loaded down with good-for-you toppings (no skimpy toppings, here!). My absolute favorite bowl is The Green Monstah, which is topped with the most delicious cacao-kale granola. I never knew kale could taste THAT good. Aside from smoothie bowls, SPJ also offers sweet snacks like donuts and brownies made with clean, wholesome ingredients so there’s no need to feel guilty.

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Green Monstah @southernpressedjuicery

Cheers To The Weekend:

Downtown Greenville – If you’re only here for the weekend, I highly recommend you spend your time Downtown Greenville. I know that’s a bit broad but this little city has so much to offer at all times. There are fun, upbeat workout classes at CycleBar or coffee and a yummy breakfast at Caviar & Bananas in the morning. You can explore the beautiful Falls Park in the afternoon. The night brings a slew of things to do; you can eat at one of the many award-winning restaurants or spend the night at the ballpark watching the Greenville Drive play. Downtown Greenville seriously has so much to offer (much more than a weekend can hold)!

Local Guide: Jhami Sullivan

Read Jhami’s blog: Adventures of a Southern Fellow

IG: @mr_j_sully

FB/southernfellow

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I enjoy Jhami’s IG feed immensely because he is always eating and drinking adventurously and it opens my eyes to menu items I may never have thought to order. Word of caution: don’t scroll through his feed if you’re at all hungry.

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Favorite Hole-In-The-Wall:

While Greenville is being looked at as the next big “foodie” town because of places like The Anchorage, Bacon Bros., Restaurant 17 and pretty much all of Table 301 making the “Top…” list, we can’t forget those hole in the walls that draw in all of the locals. My favorite hole in the wall is actually relatively new, Grindhouse Grill, located on Augusta Road. Grindhouse Grill specializes in burgers with 100% grass-fed and grass finished, pasture raised, no antibiotics, no added hormones and non-GMO beef! They also have a burger for the veggie fans!

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The “Hang 05” from Grindhouse Grill

 

Greenville also seems to have a very inclusive nightlife community, as most-places do not cater to a specific category of people. But as a member of the LGBT community, Blu (also known as Blu Martini) has become a favorite “hole in the wall” spot for me, as they host Proud and Out at Blu on Wednesday nights, where you can enjoy simple things such as bingo early in the evening, or fun times with drag queen nuns, depending on the weekly schedule.

Favorite Local Band:

I am not a huge music person, but I do enjoy live music every once in a while. One band that continuously stays on my radar is The Jamie Wright Band- so much that she is playing my wedding! Jamie Wright can be found singing all over the Upstate from Seneca and Anderson to Downtown Greenville and Spartanburg. Jamie’s soulful sounds and beautiful voice can often be found at Rainer’s in Downtown Greenville on Friday or Saturday nights and Halls Chophouse during brunch almost every Sunday.

Favorite Brunch Spot:

Oh, how I love brunch! Brunch is bae. Breakfast meets lunch meets mimosas! Yes, please. My favorite brunch spot is a difficult choice. On Saturdays, I would say my favorite brunch is Bacon Bros. Public House. Bacon Bros and all of it’s locally sourced pork goodness is not open on Sundays. While open for lunch and dinner throughout the week, they offer a brunch-focused menu with locally sourced products on Saturdays from 11-2.

Sundays, however, are another ball-game. The Anchorage, The Bohemian Café, and Southern Culture, the order depends on the day. The Anchorage offers some great brunch classics using locally sourced products and the sweet patatas bravas with chimichurri are sooooo good. The Bohemian Café is just a solid brunch choice in Greenville- think the classics done right. They also have a bloody mary bar! Southern Culture takes the brunch classics and gives them a little bit of an extra southern fare, but with bottomless mimosas starting at $12!

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Greenbriar Farm Steak Sandwich with Sweet Patatas Bravas from The Anchorage

 

Dream Neighborhood:

As a native Greenvillian and growing up just off of Laurens Road and watching Greenville grow into the city it has become, it has become really difficult for me decide what area is my favorite and which would be ideal for me to reside. I have two areas that would be my dream neighborhoods, Augusta Road and North Main.

The Augusta Road area offers unique shopping from locally owned shops like 4rooms and Roots, owned by recent HGTV stars Wesley Turner and Daniel Schavey, and Gage’s on Augusta, along with chains such as Talbots and Chico’s. There are also great places for dinner or drinks along the popular corridor, such as The Common Cure, Grindhouse Grill, The 05 and Divani’s.

The North Main area offers access to several corridors in the area- Cherrydale, Wade Hampton Boulevard, and Downtown. Some of my personal favorite businesses that I would frequent even more living in the North Main neighborhood are The Community Tap to enjoy wine and local food trucks, Asada to indulge in their sangria and chimichurri wings, Stone Pin Company, and Universal Joint eat, drink and socialize on the patio. Plus, to be honest, it would be pretty cool to get a golf cart and go to dinner, like some of the residents in this area.

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Chimichurri Wings from Asada

 

Favorite Locally Sourced Eats:

Locally sourced eateries have started popping up all over this beautiful city and it is so hard for me to choose my favorites with places like Bacon Bros, The Anchorage, Stella’s Bistro, and Stella’s Brasserie filling this category, but if I had to narrow it down to my top two, I think I would choose Kitchen Sync and Restaurant 17. Kitchen Sync is locally-owned, locally-sourced, and Greenville’s only green certified restaurant. While the pork chop is my personal favorite, my sister believes in the shrimp burger and the house-made ketchup for the fries.

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Grilled pork chop from Kitchen Sync

 

Restaurant 17 provides the high-end aspect of locally sourced here in Greenville. While offering beautiful views of the mountains in the Travelers Rest area, Chef Nick and his crew at Restaurant 17 offer phenomenal seasonal dishes with food from local farms. With a seasonal changing menu, it is so hard to choose a favorite, but so easy to want more!

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Steambuns from Restaurant 17

Local Guide: Brooke Walter

 

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed following Brooke and the rest of the “girl tribe” over at “It Takes A VILLEage” (they also all have seriously great IG feeds). A little about Brooke in her own words:

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I moved to Greenville two and a half years ago and count it as one of the best decisions I’ve made both personally and professionally.  I’ve never felt so at home, and felt welcomed right away.  Greenville has a blend of everything I enjoy: a thriving arts scene, restaurants fit for a foodie,  and space dedicated to outdoor enthusiasts. My hobbies include tennis, reading, photography, and going out and exploring all the new places popping up around Greenville! I love the vibrancy of our city.

Favorite Outdoor Spots:

Poinsett Bridge – Either a great short excursion, or stopping point on your way up to the Table Rock/ Caesar’s Head area, the Poinsett Bridge is both an interesting historic site and great photo spot. It is the oldest surviving bridge in SC.

Table Rock – Table Rock is home to some of my favorite views and also my favorite hike in the upstate. It is challenging but oh so rewarding!

Caesar’s Head – Home to many hiking trails, but more so known for its scenic overlook (that requires no hiking at all from the visitor center). Stunning panoramic view.

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“Poinsett Bridge & Caesar’s Head”

Favorite Caffeine Fix:

Greenville is home to so many wonderful caffeine fixes, and constantly adding more with the likes of 101 Espresso Bar and Barista Alley in nearby Greer. However, my personal favorite is The Village Grind, with their carefully curated selection, delicious doughnuts, and rustic interior.

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“The Village Grind”

Date Night:

There are so many great spots in the area to suit different moods, but I love Vault & Vator for its intimate environment and craft cocktails. The low lighting and limited seating capacity makes it a great spot for a couple to enjoy drinks.

(And no cell phones allowed! So you can have real conversations!)

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“Vault & Vator”

Favorite Local Shopping:

I’m a huge fan of shopping local, but even more so in finding that “one of a kind” piece. In my opinion, there is no better way to do that then consignment shopping, where duplicates would be hard to find. My two favorites in the areas are Labels Designer Consignment and Saige.  Both have an excellent curation of designer clothes for a fraction of the price!

Best Spot for Locally Sourced Eats:

This was one of the hardest for me to decide, as I am a true foodie at heart! For locally sourced, I have to go with Bacon Brothers,  with personal bias as it’s close to my house, but also for the richness of flavor of every entree I’ve tried there. Their charcuterie board is both savory and a sight to see, and it has constantly rotating ingredients. Their burger is my favorite in Greenville!

Local Guide: Christen Eats



Christen Clinkscales – @christeneats – Christen Eats

Locally Sourced Eats

Farm Fresh Fast – One of my newest obsessions is Farm Fresh Fast, a quick-service restaurant that prides itself on its healthy, locally-sourced menu. Farm Fresh Fast uses the freshest local ingredients to make clean-eating delicious. Looking for something hearty and guilt-free? Try their Almost Heaven burger made with grass-fed beef, stuffed with low-fat cheese, and topped with lettuce and house-made pickles. Or their newest menu item, the Heritage Smokehaus Sandwich made with local pork, sugar & gluten-free BBQ sauce, and red cabbage slaw. They also have vegetarian & vegan dishes and offer meal-prep services.

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“Almost Heaven” Burger

 

Best Cocktails

Vault & Vator – When it comes to sipping on craft cocktails, no one does it better than the speakeasy. With dim lighting, cozy couches, and jazz music, Vault & Vator‘s vibe is the embodiment of the modern cocktail lounge. There is a dress code. And no cell phones use inside. So you’ll have to discreetly snap that pic of your cocktail. And trust me, you’ll want to with Instagram-worthy drinks like the JJ Smash. My advice: order the Bartender’s Choice by picking two words from their list like “smoky and sweet” or “fruity and fizzy.” They won’t disappoint.

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“JJ Smash”

 

Up on the Roof – If you’re looking for cocktails and a view of #yeahTHATgreenville, there’s no better place than Up on the Roof. This rooftop bar not only has great views, but bottled cocktails to die for! Grab a seat on one of their couches by the fire pit and order something pretty, like “It’s Strawberry Thyme,” a gin drink with Cointreau, muddled strawberries, and thyme. Or “Saints and Sinners’ with whiskey, prickly pear vodka, blueberry simple syrup, lime and grapefruit juice. If whiskey and gin aren’t your taste, they have vodka, rum, and tequila cocktails as well.

up on the roof

 

Date Night

Stone Pin Company – Looking for an unconventional date night? Stone Pin Company is right up your alley – pun intended. This boutique bowling alley is the perfect date spot- even a first date should you be so bold! Order “The Lebowski” with espresso vodka, Kahlua, and cream at the bar while you wait. Or “Split Happens,” a citrusy rum drink that’s totally apropos. Once you hit the lane, order the McMoat, a flatbread that basically tasted like a Big Mac. YUM! If you aren’t afraid of getting messy, get the ‘Smokey, Mark it a Zero’ nachos to share. You won’t strike out with those.

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“Smokey, Mark it a Zero” Nachos

 

Farmers Market Finds

No Evil Foods – One of the coolest booths at the Saturday market is without a doubt No Evil Foods. They sell completely plant-based meats – low in calories and fat, packed with protein, and devoid of cholesterol. Not a vegetarian or vegan? Me either. But I dare you to sample their products and tell me you don’t like them. One of my personal favorites is El Zapatista – their plant-based chorizo. I’ve used it in tacos and on top of a pizza. There’s also Italian sausage, chickenesque, and smoked BBQ. Check them out next time you’re at the market!

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“No Evil Foods” @ the downtown Greenville Saturday Market

 

Nellie T’s Pimento CheeseNellie T’s Pimento Cheese is another great Farmer’s Market find. If you’re a true southerner, you can’t get enough of the caviar of the south. My personal favorite is their blue cheese spread made with Clemson Blue Cheese. It’s perfect for on top or inside a burger. If you can take the heat, get the Spicy spread. Pair any of their cheeses with their amazing Skillet Jam – just add bacon and you will be the hit of the party. They also make different kinds of nut butters as well like Salted Caramel Peanut Butter.

Local Guide: The Local Greenville

Hidden Gems

Grateful Brew – serving two of my favorite things: coffee and beer. But excellent coffee and local craft beer (growlers as well). The 1970’s ambience and feel set it apart from anything else going on in Greenville and I love the vibe. No food served here, but nearby places deliver (Pita House is next door, another hidden gem) and they have a line-up of food trucks on their events calendar. www.gratefulbrewgvl.com; IG: @gratefulbrewgvl *pictured below

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Joe’s Place Bookstore – just moved to a new location in the Pettigru District; the renovations on the house are so well done and character is oozing from every nook and cranny. Another place where you can enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine (are you sensing a pattern with me?) while getting cozy with a book. They also do an array of events like trivia night, game night and book clubs. www.joesplacellc.com; IG: @joesplacebookstore *pictured below

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Date Day/Night

Hampton Station – this once abandoned cotton mill has turned into one of my top day or nighttime picks to frequent as of recently. In the Water Tower District, just outside downtown, it’s home to Birds Fly South Ale Project and White Duck Taco Shop (match made in “tacos and sour beer loving” heaven). Great outdoor lawn area and outdoor seating. Favorite pastime = stuffing my face while watching the Lion’s Roar Crossfit folks sweat it out. Other businesses (like Dapper Ink and The Noble Dog Hotel) are already here or set to open soon. Word on the street is that an indoor farmers market will be starting up and that an extension to the Swamp Rabbit Trail will make access to Hampton Station even easier. www.hamptonstation.com;  IG: @hampton-station *pictured below

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Village of West Greenville – Fridays from May-August feature the “Villive Summer Concert Series” and if you can also swing it on the first Friday of the month, many of the art galleries will be open to the public during this once a month giant gallery crawl. The Village’s food scene is one of my favorites in Greenville. Hitting up Eat GB&D and/or The Anchorage while you’re there is a must-do. www.villagewgvl.com; IG: @villagewgvl *The Anchorage pictured below

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Greenville Drive Game @ Fluor Field – One of the first things we did when we moved here seven years ago and I still remember being in awe of how cool the ballpark was and how tight-knit this community felt. There isn’t a bad seat in the house and on Friday nights there are fireworks. IG: @greenvilledrive

Where To Stay

Swamp Rabbit Inn – self-proclaimed “coolest, modern B&B, hotel alternative, upscale hostel in downtown Greenville” and I couldn’t agree more. This is the place you need to stay at if you want something different from a hotel or AirBNB when you come visit. Walkable/bikeable to downtown (the Inn also rents bikes) and they host “Truck Inn Tuesdays” during the summer. www.swamprabbitinn.com ; IG: @swamprabbitinnsc

Caffeination

Methodical Coffee – Whenever I have an hour to spare before my day gets going, this is the place you will most likely find me. There is something that fills me with joy when I see those little blue and white coffee cups, everyone that works there legitimately seems to love their jobs and most importantly, their coffee selection is hands down the best. (Sidenote: they offer brewing classes for those of us who still can’t figure out the right way to do a pour over at home). www.methodicalcoffe.com ; IG: @methodicalcoffee *pictured below

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Farmers Market Finds

*The Travelers Rest market has become my go-to as it has grown tremendously and most of my favorites all set up shop here. It is also far less packed than the downtown market, but perks for downtown are shade and a larger variety of vendors. Biggest tip for either: get there early!

Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery – the fresh loaves of Stecca. Get there early or else they will be gone! I love to pick up basil and garlic while I’m there and make homemade pesto. And then eat the entire loaf without sharing. www.swamprabbitcafe.com ; IG: @swamprabbitcafe

Naked Pasta – makes one of my weekend dinners a no-brainer. Take-and-bake lasagnas, freshly made pasta, ravioli and sauces. So obviously I carb up at farmers markets. www.nakedpastasc.com ; IG: @naked_pasta

Looking Forward To…

Liability Brewing – excited for the entire Westone project, but particularly looking forward to the newest brewery that is going to call Greenville home. www.liabilitybrewing.co ; IG: @liabilitybeer

Husk – my very favorite Charleston restaurant is currently under construction in one of my favorite spots on Main Street downtown. www.huskrestaurant.com ; IG: @huskgreenville