BGR The Burger Joint’s burgers start with high-quality ingredients—most importantly, all-natural beef from grain-fed cattle, free to run in the fields and given zero hormones, fillers, or antibiotics. The prime beef is dry-aged, blended, and ground fresh to form patties that are grilled over an open flame, and then placed atop buttery, locally made brioche buns delivered fresh each day. The menu focuses on the Legendary Burger, which includes gourmet toppings such as avocado, applewood bacon, and grilled jalapenos. For nonbeef eaters, the menu's selection of burgers also includes turkey and veggie varieties, as well as The Greek, a seasoned lamb patty topped with tzatziki and feta. Burgers are also available in a lettuce wrap or on a salad in a healthy salad bowl.
Diners can request all of BGR The Burger Joint's freshly made fries—from thick-cut yukon gold potatoes to asparagus fries—be topped with parmesan, rosemary, roasted garlic, or a tiny tiara. The staff hand-spins shakes with Gifford's or Breyers ice cream to create extra-thick treats for finishing off meals, and some shops curate their own selection of bottled vintage sodas and offer beer and wine.
Sweet Grass Diner's mission to help keep neighboring businesses thriving holds strong in its menu, which bursts at the seams with home-cooked meals comprising eggs, dairy, and fresh produce supplied by local farms. Helmed by Ray and Karan Stratford of Brioso Fresh Pasta, the diner’s kitchen turns a cheek to the owners' usual Italian fare and instead churns out breakfast all day, sating appetites with fresh-made pancakes, waffles, and farm-fresh eggs. Grilled-chicken sandwiches, hearty chili, and chicken-fried steak doused in sausage gravy all vie for palate popularity from visitors hungry for lunch and dinner. Bread pudding and lemon-meringue pie meet diners at meals' end, granting a sweeter farewell than an unexpected hug from the ice-cream man
The eclectic menu at Friar's Tavern eschews culinary borders, boasting dishes from around the globe. Chefs cook up deep-fried ham and cheese Monte Cristo sandwiches dusted with powder sugar and beer-battered fish and chips with the same skill as their cuban sandwiches and hearty calzones. Their menu also comes with a challenge: if guests can consume their six-pound, stone-oven-baked calzone in 30 minutes or less, it’s on the house. After meals, guests can belly up at the full bar to sample 12 draught beers or hide billiard balls from very hungry friends in the pockets of five regulation-size pool tables.
Within the kitchen of Clemson Sushi Bar, chefs prepare the same creative sushi rolls and Asian cuisine offered at sister restaurant Calamari’s Sushi & More. They sear filets of oh-so-fresh tuna, simmer miso soup, and fry sizzling calamari. They also fashion specialty rolls such as the Monster roll, a medley of shrimp tempura, bacon, tuna, salmon, and shrimp—all served by a waiter wearing a Frankenstein mask. Vegetarians can also nosh on meat-free snacks such as rolls filled with marinated carrot and asparagus.
At Smoke & Blue, diners pile plates high with buffet-style barbecue in a family-friendly setting. The cavernous wood-paneled dining area seats 300 people at long tables with checkerboard tablecloths, and the eatery welcomes buses, RVs, and large spaceships. On the weekends, family-oriented bluegrass, country, and rock bands take the stage as patrons dig into plates of smoked chicken, pulled pork, and spare ribs with sides of sweet-potato soufflé, creamy coleslaw, and collard greens.
Just More Barbecue, boasting a buffet-style menu, loads plates with prodigious piles of juicy meats fresh from the grates of a meticulous 14-hour smoking process. Challenge a plate's holding capacity with Just More Barbecue's all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet ($10.95), which provides diners the chance to choose any items save for baby-back ribs from the buffet line, including chopped pork, beef, and smoked spare ribs more tender than a newborn lullaby. Baby-back rib dinners ($10.95) slathered in savory homemade sauces test the structural integrity of dinnerware alongside a choice of three plate partners, such as baked beans and corn on the cob. Smaller platters ($7.95) cater to modest appetites and hold a choice of one meat and two sides dishes, and budding eating champions can kick off careers with a child's meal ($1.95), complete with a half serving of one meat, one side dish, and one imaginary encounter with an argumentative dinner roll.