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What happened & what's on the horizon in Midlands dining, shopping

2018 went out with a bang, and 2019 is starting strong

While may of you may be happy to see 2018 fade into the history books, there was some good things to come out of last year. And 2019 seems to be getting off to a good start.

Here is a list -- not comprehensive -- of retail and restaurants that opened in the latter part of 2018, and a glimpse of what's to come.


Hall’s Chophouse on Main Street. The long-awaited, high end steak house known for its service opened in the former Oak Table location at the corner of Main and Gervais, across from the State House. Hall’s doubled the size of the original restaurant space, leasing an adjacent 4,500-square-foot space for private dining and special events

smallSUGAR, the latest creation by chefs Sarah Simmons and Aaron Hoskins opened at 709 Gervais serving fresh-made breads and pastries, and breakfast and lunch, seven days a week. 

READ MORE: Sarah Simmons' smallSUGAR in soft opening phase 

Citta del Cotone serves Neapolitan style pizza in a small space in Columbia’s Cottontown neighborhood. The restaurant features uniquely Italian wine and beverages and a wood-fired oven that can bake a pizza in 90 seconds. 2150 Sumter St. 

READ MORE: New pizzeria opens in Columbia's Cottontown 

Rare Variety Café, at 4622 North Main, is a vegan restaurant that owner Keith Alexander hopes to be the center of a community food hub. Plans call for opening a fresh food market and meeting place next door to the café. Alexander and Bonita Clemons are growing ingredients for the restaurant on site in a series of raised beds.

READ MORE: New North Main restaurant to feed the mind, body, and soul of the community 

Bayleaf Eclectic Indian Cuisine, 530 Lady St., features a mix of Indian cooking styles, every dish is made from scratch. Open seven days a week, there are vegetarian options available. 

Evil Weiner hot dog spot in Five Points has a menu based on horror movie Scream Queens – the Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween) toppings include pickled veggies and yellow sriracha sauce; the Linda Blair (The Exorcist) has Jack Daniels house-made chipotle BBQ sauce with pulled pork finished with wild flower honey. Find them at 725 Saluda Ave.

Hotel Trundle is Columbia’s first boutique hotel. The establishment occupies three historic buildings at the corner of Taylor and Sumter streets and features locally sourced amenities and rooms feature custom crafted beds by Bricker and Beam.

TopGolf Swing Suites at The Venue on Main added another entertainment component to Main Street’s steadily growing nightlife scene.

READ MORE: TopGolf Swing coming to Columbia's Main Street 

Steel Hands Brewing. 2350 Foreman St., Cayce, is the largest brewery in the Midlands boasting a 2,500-square-foot taproom, outdoor gathering space with a stage and seating, restaurant, and room for expansion. Opening in early December, the brewery features live music on Fridays. Oh, yeah, and ales and lagers. 


Ruby Tuesday on Devine Street, in front of the Gamecock BiLo closed abruptly in December. Plans are for the building to be razed and a mini-strip mall to take its place. No new tenants have been officially named but there will be space for a restaurant, dentist’s office and a third space

White Duck Taco Shop at The Mills on Whaley closed right before Christmas, citing financial reasons. The Asheville-based taco shop opened in 2016 and served tacos made from fresh ingredients and unique combinations such as pork belly and watermelon, a mole-roasted duck, and the signature Bangkok shrimp.

READ MORE: White Duck Taco to close 

Delaney’s Music Pub closed in November after 20 years in Five Points. The place was known for serving up authentic Irish pub grub and featuring live music.


Julia’s German Stammtisch, serving authentic German cuisine, moved after almost two decades from the Ft Jackson Blvd location to 120 Sparkleberry Crossing.

Moctezuma’s Taqueria plans to move from Rosewood to Julia’s former location at 4341 Ft Jackson Blvd

READ MORE: Palmetto Seafood Co. reopens, 2 restaurants on the move 


Hendrix at 1649 Main St. is an upscale dining establishment that will feature a rooftop bar. The restaurant is still in the soft opening stage but hopes to open the first Thursday in February. 

Home Team BBQ will be a welcome addition to the Five Points scene. The Charleston-based eatery is locating in the former Harper’s restaurant in the heart of Five Points, at the intersection of Harden, Santee, and Devine streets. Owners are planning to open before St. Patrick’s Day.

READ MORE: Home Team BBQ coming to old Harper's location in Five Points 

Black Rooster is Kristian Niemi’s French bistro concept at the new Brookland development on Meeting Street in West Columbia. The food is inspired by Niemi’s travels through France. The restaurant will feature a rooftop bar. No firm opening date is set, but Niemi is hoping for late March/early April. 

Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles, owned by Kitwanda Cyrus and husband Tyrone Cyrus, will open a second location at 1260 Bower Parkway in April. Kiki served presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden during their campaign tours in 2015, and Nikki Haley named Cyrus a SC Chef Ambassador in 2017.

Primal Gourmet in Irmo will open a second, larger location in West Columbia. The meal plan/grab-and-go business features fresh, locally sourced ingredients and an ever-changing menu. The new location will have a dining area and a market featuring fresh vegetables, meats and fish. Opening in May.

Hazelwood Brewing Company, Main Street Lexington, purports to be a farm-to-brewery enterprise. Opening in Spring 2019 

Savage Craft Ale Works, 430 Center Street West Columbia, will inhabit two historic buildings off State Street and feature an outdoor beer garden. Expected to open Summer 2019.