Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Friday was opening night for the newest restaurant in Columbia, The Oak Table. Its owners are known for their success with two other Charleston restaurants, but this one could have a long-term effect on our economy.
"There's so much rich diversity in South Carolina, from our fisherman, our farms. So, for us in the business, there's this great abundance of resources all over the state," explains Steve Palmer. He's a managing partner with Indigo Road Restaurant Group, who owns The Oak Table.
"Actually, being in Columbia, we're closer to the middle of the state, so we have all the farmers around us," adds Executive Chef Joseph Jacobson, "We have fisherman coming from Charleston, Murrell's Inlet."
It's the emphasis on local that often draws people in to a restaurant when they're traveling, and The Oak Table is the newest spot for tourists to get that experience when they visit the Capital City. "It gives them a great reason to come to your community and it also gives them a great experience that they'll take back and tell their friends and neighbors, explains Ric Luber.
He's CEO of the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports and Tourism, and sees the opening as another step in Columbia's culinary revolution. "I think it's growing by leaps and bounds now, exponentially. So, we're really proud of what we have now and there's more to come," Luber says.
With restaurants like Chelsea's, Cola's and now The Oak Table opening in downtown Columbia in the past few months, it's a new way for the Midlands to draw travelers in who spend money here and create jobs. Says Luber, "We got 65,000 people in the hospitality industry and here's another piece of that growth. We're always growing and we're always hiring in the hospitality industry."
And for Palmer and Jacobson, it's a new place to introduce folks to the way they do food. Explains Palmer, "Somebody that's more of a steak and potatoes type of guy is going to feel comfortable, but also the foodie is going to find some really unique dishes."
The Oak Table is just across from the State House. They're only open for dinner now, but will start serving lunch on October 8th and Sunday brunch on October 14th.