Ms. B’s Southern Kitchen – West Columbia, SC

This was a real unexpected find for us, but we are so thankful we stumbled upon it!

It was a pretty typical Sunday morning for us. We go to an early church service in Lexington, so we are usually driving around town looking for something new and exciting for lunch, but are not really even that hungry yet. Sometimes we will hit Walmart or a grocery to kill time till “lunchtime”… but last week we decided instead to enjoy the pretty day and just drive. We drove from Lexington, down 378 all the way into West Columbia and were honestly headed toward downtown, hoping to find something to eat, when we passed by the sign for Ms. B’s Southern Kitchen.
l The building was nothing special and we probably would have passed right by it, except for the sign, which has an image of an old mason jar on it, that caught our eye. Then we saw the term “southern kitchen” and really became intrigued. Being from Alabama, and living in the heart of Columbia, we LOVE real, honest-to-goodness southern food. There are a lot of restaurants around town that claim to be authentic but just serve meat and canned vegetables so they can call it southern, so we were skeptical. But then we saw the bottom of the sign where it said “the way it used to be”. My wife and I both grew up with down-home southern grandmothers (and aunts, and cousins, and friends) who knew their way around a kitchen so we know exactly what that phrase SHOULD mean, so we decided we at least had to try it out to see if they really meant it.

First thing we noticed when we came in was that the place was HUGE! Like the outside of the building, there was not a lot about the decor inside that made you think this was going to be the best food ever. Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 11.57.30 AM
*(it used was previously the longtime home of the Sunset Restaurant, as you can see from the still lingering impression on the roof shingles…) Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 11.58.16 AM
Several large dining rooms with lots of old tables and booths. (I say old tables, because the tables had ads printed directly on them. I sat down right where a large ad for a Pager company was printed… offering the latest in Motorola Pager technology and service!) It was fun though reading through the fun old ads while you ate, as well as enjoying their wonderful mix of 70s classics overhead. We got to introduce our kids to several new bands they were not familiar with in the process. like ABBA, The Commodores, and The Fortunes.

When we arrived (before noon on Sunday morning) it was not crowded at all, so we were a little bit concerned that this could just be a cool sign, hung on an old, mediocre restaurant. We were immediately greeted by a friendly, energetic host who told us about the food, specials, how to order (large chalkboard menu behind the counter) if we wanted or how to get the buffet. We looked at the wall a while and checked out the buffet (which looked great) but being that we were still not that hungry, we decided to order off the wall/menu.
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The Fried chicken was delicious.  Tender, juicy and flavorful, but without being greasy. The Fried catfish was a little under seasoned compared to all the other food but was fresh, and tasted great. Fried chicken sandwich and seasoned fries were big hits with both my kids. As good as the meats were, the sides were really the stars of the meal. Collards are very popular around South Carolina, so we had high expectations. These were easily some of the best (if not the very best) collard greens we have eaten. Tender sweet and seasoned perfectly. I added a bit of pepper sauce to mine out of habit before tasting them and it did not really even need it. My wife said hers were perfect as they came out, not needing one bit of salt or pepper or anything.  I got the baked potato casserole which is exactly what it sounds like… potato, cheese, bacon and more baked and mixed together. Simple, but tasted amazing. The sweet potato casserole my wife got was different but tasty.  We had never had one like it before with hints of orange in it, and loaded with raisins. Very sweet and seemed almost more of a dessert, than a vegetable.  The cornbread was not at all what we were used to either, but was really good. Just a touch of sweetness and a very smooth, almost cupcake like consistency, different than the grainier cornmeal consistency of most cornbread, made it also seem like a sweet treat to go with the meal rather than just a corn muffin on the side.  And of course the drinks were served in their signature mason jars (pulling the picture on the sign into the meal nicely)

We will definitely go back, and have already started telling our local friends about it.  But we will do things differently next time.  While it worked well for us to get meals off the menu (which you can see here: MENU) since we were not that hungry, next time we will for sure get the buffet.  Normally we do not go in for the all-you-can-eat buffet concept, but there are so many different meats and veggies alone that we want to try from their menu that we need the buffet, simply so that we can try a little of everything. Plus, the buffet comes with a salad bar and desert bar as well if you do not commit like I will to fill up on the delectable southern cuisine!

In a short conversation with the manager as we left, I found out that Ms. B’s has been there about 2 years, and is owned by the same folks who own Doc’s BBQ and also Pawley’s Front Porch, which is one of our FAVORITE local restaurants, so it was no surprise that the food was great!  Oh, and a to the lack of a crowd in the huge restaurant when we arrived early on that Sunday morning… by the time we were done, the rooms were filled with hungry customers and the line was forming at the door to get in, with people who obviously had been there before and knew well what they would be getting!   It is a little cheaper for lunch during the week than on Sunday or at dinner (which is only on Thursday and Friday nights) but worth it no matter when you come.  But alas, they are closed on Saturday.


Visit them in person at 1213 Sunset Blvd, West Columbia, SC 29169
And be sure to “Like” them (and find out more) on Facebook


Tupelo Honey Cafe – Asheville, NC

Tupelo Honey
First let me say… there are SO MANY AMAZING restaurants in and around downtown Asheville, NC.  This is just the first of many that I will be checking out and sharing with you here… but it is a wonderful one to start with… The TUPELO HONEY CAFE.

One word of warning. Do not come here to eat if you are in a hurry, because you will almost certainly have to wait a good long while for a table. That is because it is so good, everyone wants to eat here! But DO WAIT! It really is worth it! Tomato Pie
A special the day we came that is not normally on their menu, a tomato pie was so tasty!

Grits Okra AsparagusCorn Green Beans and Salad
Veggie plates are always a fantastic choice here since so many choices are on the menu. The grits are smooth and succulent, and a perfect compliment to the asparagus and okra. The corn was super sweet and green beans were too! 
Red Shrimp and Grits
I think the biggest surprise was my Shrimp and Grits. I have ordered it in many different restaurants around the Carolinas, but it us usually with brown gravy and sausage.  This is the chef’s signature dish, called Brian’s Shrimp and Grits » Seven large delectable shrimp served over goat cheese grits with a spicy roasted red pepper sauce.
Different, yes. Delicious, ABSOLUTELY!

If you are ever in or near Asheville, NC and have only 1 meal there, make Tupelo Honey Cafe your pick.  You will not be sorry!  *(though more great options to be featured soon!)

Downtown Asheville
12 College Street
Asheville  North Carolina  28801