By Nicole Letts
Food tourism has exploded in the past few years. Thanks in large part to social media, travelers are enticed to hidden locales. These visitors have an appetite for fresh, new flavors and menu items that represent local experiences. South Carolina’s Old 96 District has plenty of provisions to pique curiosity and satiate appetites. Should you be looking to experience the flavors of Old 96 District for yourself, head to these seven local spots!
McCutcheon’s Cheeseburger House Burger
Slinging patties since 1963, this old-school institution in Greenwood will fulfill your needs for a classic cheeseburger. Look for the neon “open” sign on the unassuming roadside diner. Head inside and pull up a chair at the counter to enjoy people-watching as you dine. Burgers all the way are topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, cheese, and condiments. Fries and onion rings are golden brown and crispy. Don’t miss a side of their famous coleslaw for a tangy treat.
Georgia Sweet Heat Pecans from 96 Pecan Company
This roadside stand is akin to stepping into Willy Wonka’s factory. Whether it’s pecan brittle, pecan logs, chocolate-covered pecans, or glazed pecans, there is a pecan flavor for anyone and everyone found in Ninety Six. However, the most surprising, interesting, and downright delicious iteration is the Georgia Sweet Heat. The sugar-glazed pecan is sprinkled with a hearty heap of cayenne rub giving the perfect balance of spice and sweet.
Indigenous Underground’s Soul Rolls
As a place that describes itself as “celebrating Southern eclectic cuisine,” it’s no wonder that Indigenous Underground landed a spot on this list. Located in the heart of Abbeville, this chef-driven restaurant is a concept by Chef Erica McCier. McCier is an Abbeville native, and the restaurant pays homage to her South Carolina roots. The most well-known dish is Chef McCier’s soul rolls served with house chili sauce. Leavy, tender, salty collard greens are wrapped in a crispy eggroll shell. The result is a delectable snack that kicks off the remaining meal in just the right way.
Cinnamon Roll from Daily Bread Bakery
Let your nose be your guide from Washington Street and into Daily Bread Bakery. Intoxicating sugary aromas of baked goods will have your mouth salivating and your stomach growling. Make your way to the counter where items are on display, and rest your eyes on the cinnamon roll. This ooey, gooey cinnamon-sprinkled delicacy is the best way to start your Abbeville day.
A Cup of Coffee from Thru the Flame
Abbeville’s best-kept secret is housed in a former school. Thru the Flame is David and Benita Chupp’s passion project. The Chupps are the proprietors behind Sharon Manner, a gorgeous full-service bed and breakfast. But on any given day, you’ll also find David roasting coffee for B&B guests as well as a few of his local vendors. The coffee is served pour-over style (Benita insists it’s the best way). To get a cup for yourself, you’ll have to stay the night at Sharon Manner, but it’s well worth it!
Carolina Moon Crooked Cow Chocolate
Some might say that the Rabbit Spit moonshine is the hottest item at Edgefield’s Carolina Moon Distillery, but for those seeking a sweeter spirit, turn to the brand’s line, Crooked Cow. All of Carolina Moon’s products are distilled, bottled, and packaged on-site at the Edgefield distillery including the Crooked Cow bourbon creams. These cream-based liquors are best served chilled or over ice, but word on the street is they’re lovely over ice cream, too.
Seasonal Butter from Christine’s Farm to Fork
This restaurant is an Edgefield newcomer with staying power. Helmed by Christine Smith, the restaurant offers Southern menu items that are seasonally inspired. Meals start with cornbread muffins and a side of freshly made butter. The butter changes based on what’s available at Christine’s farm. Over the summer it’s strawberry butter! Once strawberries are gone for the season, Christine will sub in another flavor. It keeps diners on their toes and returning again and again to see what’s up her sleeve
Nicole Letts is an Atlanta-based freelance journalist focused on the modern American South. Some of the country’s top magazines and digital publications have published her work, including AAA Explorer Alabama, Architectural Digest, BBC Travel, Fodor’s Travel, Garden & Gun, Good Grit, Southern Living and many more. She is also the author of the new book, Unique Eats and Eateries of Alabama. When she’s not writing, you can find stitching cheeky needlepoint canvases or perusing local antique shops for her online business, Grandmillennial Shop.