Rock Hill, South Carolina, less than an hour’s drive from Charlotte, North Carolina, and an important town in South Carolina’s Olde English District, is filled with amazing chefs and dishes. One for breakfast, one for lunch, another for a sweet treat, and two for dinner have my highest recommendations. From warm pimento cheese and homemade pretzels to hot apple cider donuts, the tastes will surprise and delight you.
In addition, the entire Olde English District in this part of South Carolina is full of significant attractions that will educate and entice visitors.
1. Enjoy breakfast with the locals at The Yolk
With a diner atmosphere and a slogan touting “a love affair with breakfast,” The Yolk is an ideal place to gather with neighbors and friends or to stop by for a memorable start to a day in Rock Hill. Chef Greg Collier and his wife Subrina are both from Memphis, Tennessee, so they understand the southern definition of a good breakfast and are committed to using locally-sourced ingredients. The Yolk is open every day except Tuesday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. All of the expected morning menu items are available, such as eggs, pancakes, waffles, omelets, sausage, biscuits, bacon and grits, but the combinations and surprising twists will lure you to sample something new. How about a pecan waffle with chicken wings? Or maybe you would prefer brown butter biscuits with smoked chicken gravy and jalapeno jam?
The Yolk is located at 1912 Mount Gallant Road. The appearance outside is deceptively unassuming, but the breakfast offered inside is exceptional.
2. The smell of smoking meats will lure you into Legal Remedy Brewing Company
Legal Remedy Brewing Company is wildly popular for both lunch and dinner visitors. Many will come specifically for the beer, since they have 24 taps ready and waiting. Legal Remedy crafts several varieties on-site, but another claim to fame is the fact that they cure and smoke meats on the property as well. The aromas will have you salivating as you get out of your car in the parking lot.
There is a lawyer theme to the menu with the appetizers under the heading of Preliminary Hearing and the sandwich choices under Jury Selection. The “juvie” menu is described as being “for those who can’t be tried as an adult.” The most popular appetizer is undoubtedly the Southern Poutine, consisting of fries smothered with jalapeno pimento cheese, pepper jelly and bacon that was cured on the property.
You’ll find Legal Remedy Brewing Company at 129 Oakland Avenue in Rock Hill, in a building that formerly housed an auto dealership. It is closed on Mondays, only open for dinner on Tuesdays, but welcomes hungry folks for lunch and dinner Wednesdays through Sundays.
3. Try donuts and cider for a tasty snack at Windy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill
There are three cideries in South Carolina, but the Windy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill was the first. It’s a short drive out of Rock Hill at 1860 Black Highway in York, South Carolina, but well worth the extra minutes. The Hard Cider Bar is open on the weekends during the spring months of April and May. From mid-August through late December, the farm stand is open Thursday through Sunday, and the Hard Cider Bar is open Friday evening from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. The best time to visit the orchard is in the fall when the slogan “Home of Everything Apples” is in full swing.
Apple cider slush and fried apple pies are among the offerings, but by far the most popular items are the hot apple cider donuts, made on the spot while you wait. The Gusmer family has perfected the cider-making technique and the recipe for their donuts. These sweets are well worth the calories.
4. Dining at Flipside Restaurant in the historic downtown district is both upscale and relaxed
Husband and wife duo Jon and Amy Fortes are the owners and head chefs at Flipside Restaurant at 129 Caldwell Street in Rock Hill. Amy considers her “signature dish” to be her pimento cheese. It is served as an appetizer with fried pretzels but is also found on the sloppy Joes and charcuterie boards. She cites the valued work of several local farms in South Carolina as making huge contributions to their success at Flipside because of the high quality of their produce.
The atmosphere at Flipside is laid back, but the culinary offerings are carefully crafted and presented. The balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts and the roasted scallops are frequently suggested, but you’ll also find steaks, chops, chicken and fish on the menu.
Flipside is open seven days a week, but only brunch is offered on Sundays. Reservations are highly recommended.
5. Dinner overlooking the Catawba River at Pump House
Any meal that begins with homemade corn muffins and peach butter is bound to be memorable. The setting alone at Rock Hill’s Pump House is worth making a reservation. The industrial building that once pumped water from the Catawba River now houses a tablecloth restaurant under the careful direction of Executive Chef Michael Griswold, owners Elliott Close and Colby Mosier and manager Chris Johnson. This team has put together an exceptional dining experience.
Fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits are popular menu items, but there is much, much more. Meatballs, scallops, shrimp and pork belly appear on the appetizer list. They are precursors to braised short ribs, rabbit gnocchi, chilean salmon and pan-seared amberjack showing up among other temptations under the entrees. The wine list at Pump House is stunning with selections ranging from 28–2,500 USD per bottle.
Pump House is a place you will want to seek out whenever you are in the area.
Great food and much more in South Carolina's Olde English District
The Olde English District is made up of six counties flanking the corridor from Charlotte, North Carolina to Columbia, South Carolina. Within the district, attractions of historical significance abound. Among them are the Catawba Cultural Center with its display of pottery going back for centuries and Historic Brattonsville and the Kings Mountain National Military Park, both of which played significant roles in the American Revolutionary War. The Landsford Canal State Park is a lovely place to soak up nature along the river and take advantage of the 1.5 mile (2.4 km) walking trail.
History, nature and outstanding food make for great reasons to wander off of Interstate 77. Go and see for yourself.
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