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Can really good food be found in rural South Carolina?

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Can really good food be found in rural South Carolina?

cfieldfoodie | Jun 25, 2012 08:15 AM

Ask that a year ago and I'd say doubtful. Having dropped out of the San Francisco hustle and opting for the peace, quiet and stress free life on a small hobby farm, I realized early on that any good tasting ,non- fried, fresh and healthy foods would have to come from my own kitchen. I love my small town but foodies, they ain't.

But two eateries have opened on Main Street, Chesterfield SC in the past year that may signal significant changes ahead. First let me tell you that Chesterfield is about 60 miles southeast of Charlotte, NC. Population 1,300 but Main Street is one block long. It's an old, charming and very friendly village. Most people drive right by it on Highway 9 on their way to Myrtle Beach and don't bother to take a small diversion on the business route though town. Too bad, because you're missing a lot.

Back to the food front. First to change to food scene is the Bank of Chesterfield Restaurant and Bar on Main Street at the corner of Park. Downstairs is a proper sit down restaurant complete with table cloths, real cutlery, glasses and fresh flowers on each table...something rather rare in these small rural towns. There's even a fireplace in the dining room for cozy evening during the winter.

Upstairs is a proper sports bar with more giant flat screen tvs than you can count so you'll never miss any game. This is clearly a hangout for the locals but they certainly welcome strangers and you'll be sure to make new friends. The windows upstairs overlook the old Courthouse building and a fully lit pecan tree in the adjacent town green, There's even a deck where you can wine, dine and enjoy a perfect sunset above the tree tops. Lovely indeed.

Both dining areas have full menus and full bar service. The food is wonderful and I recommend the steak (either rib eye or filet). Perfectly cooked and seasoned. Vegetable sides include roasted asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes that are cooked to perfection. My dining companion opted for the chicken pasta...such a misnomer because this dish tastes like it could do justice at any big city high priced place...depth and nuance of flavours. But the prices here are so reasonable you'll do a double take when you get the low bill. The menu also offers a variety of dinner salads which are outstanding.

All in all, this is a wonderful surprise to find when so many other places in rural South Carolina neglect the vegetables or care in preparation.

The only negatives...The Bank of Chesterfield is only open for dinners from Wed. through Saturday.

The second new food delight is Pig & Vittles...just a few doors down from The Bank on Main Street. This is a tiny place with five indoor tables and two sidewalk tables--- with a reliable menu including BBQ sandwiches and plates, gourmet hot dogs (try the Korean dog dressed with kimchi), pimento grilled cheese sandwiches (trust me, it's probably the best thing you've had in a long while). There are daily market salads (recently tomato and cucumber). Everything is local and seasoned with fresh locally grown herbs and prepared with thought and care which could give the vendors at SF Ferry Plaza Market a run for their money.

All this bodes well for foodies who don't want to have to rely only on urban or tourist areas for good food

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