143 W. Main Street
what they are known for.
upscale, traditional mexican food and tapas
143 W. Main Street
what they are known for.
upscale, traditional mexican food and tapas
Without a doubt, there is a plethora of Mexican restaurants in Spartanburg for you to choose from. So why Mezcal? Well, its smack dab in the middle of a booming downtown that you can’t help but be proud of. Also, it’s got an atmosphere that you won’t find at any of the other taco joints in town. PLUS they’ve taken Mexican fare to the next. level.
You’ll be blown away by the signature look of this restaurant! The tables are pre-set with beautiful green and blue tableware which immediately set the air of fine-dining. At the same time, the service was friendly and relaxed, so I felt right at home. With any new restaurant you might expect a wait, and we were seated right away, but were told that the food would take about 30-40 minutes. Cue the drinks and apps!
They have a fabulous selection of wine and beer (lots of RJ Rockers!), plus cocktails for every craving. Our drinks arrived promptly and we went ahead and put in an order of the seasonal guacamole featuring goat cheese and walnuts, plus the traditional Queso Fundido. They have a version of queso with spicy chorizo and craft beer that I can’t wait to try next time!
The seasonal guacamole was unexpected and so yummy – the goat cheese gave it a tangy and creamy twist, plus the walnuts added a crunch that I never knew guacamole needed. The queso was as queso always is – comforting and scrumptious and I’d like a straw for this please. They come with standard corn chips, but the star of both apps was the fried pita chips dusted with spices. Plus you can add naan bread which is a brilliant variation.
From the Tapas menu, we tried the Stuffed Pepper: a crab stuffed poblano pepper wrapped in jalapeno bacon. I’m a huge spice fan, so I was not disappointed by this smoky hot flavor explosion of crab and pork. And the Empanaditas are exactly what they sound like – adorable little empanada bites featuring chicken, braised short rib and pork belly, all smothered in a mango habanero glaze. You can easily share these, but you won’t want to.
The Huaraches come with a variety of toppings like pork belly and carne asada (below), but they all start with a grilled corn masa dough base. While it was a bit thick, it was a tasty compliment to the steak, black beans, fried avocado (yes), and chimichurri crème fraiche (double yes).
The assortment of sides you can choose from is extensive, from jasmine rice with saffron and smoked paprika, to grilled corn on the cob with chipotle mayo and cilantro, to this amazing Ensalada de Nopales: roasted cactus, red cabbage, red onions, habanero peppers, tomatoes and cilantro. The roasted cactus was smoky and succulent, and such a welcome surprise on a menu in Spartanburg.
The food didn’t take nearly as long as anticipated, everything was delivered by gracious staff, and it’s never a bad thing when you are pleasantly surprised by the amount on the check at the end of a mouthwatering meal. Overall, this is a place to put on your list. Check it off soon, then add it back. It’s that good!! Welcome to Spartanburg, Mezcal! And, as always, if you’re looking for more Spartanburg restaurant reviews, look no further.
119 N Church Street
mon-thurs 11am-3pm & 5-9:30pm
fri 11am-3pm & 5-10pm
sat 12-3pm & 5-10pm
what they are known for.
Pokenori has made a huge splash in the Spartanburg restaurant scene. It’s new, innovative, and above all, insanely delicious. Their twist on sushi is as fresh as the ingredients they are serving up!
I’ll admit, I was a bit overwhelmed on my first visit (and there have been multiple). There are many, many selections...and what makes that exciting is that you can design your favorite meal and order it over and over, or you can get something different every time you visit.
Your meal can be ordered as a rice bowl, salad, or yes, a sushi burrito. Check out “The Signatures” if you are feeling overwhelmed by the choices before you. “Spicy Ahi” will get you spicy tuna with lettuce, sweet onion, cucumber, masago (those tiny orange fish eggs which are standard in the sushi world), and sriracha aioli. “Umami Poke” features raw salmon with lettuce, mango, carrot, cucumber, masago and spicy ginger. I can’t wait to try the “Honey Wasabi Shrimp and Scallop” which has both shrimp and scallops, lettuce, masago, cucumber, sweet and green onions, and wasabi aioli – perfect for those that aren’t fans of raw seafood!
If you go down the rabbit hole of creating your own dish, don’t fret. They move the line quickly but they do not rush you, so take your time! First up is choosing your protein like raw tuna or salmon, tempura shrimp, scallops, and tofu. Next, your basic veggies: lettuce, sweet onions, green onions, cucumber, carrots, edamame, cabbage, jalapenos…you get the idea. After that, you get some more complex toppings like crab salad, seaweed salad, mango, pickled ginger, radishes, pineapple, etc. Then there are the sauces…sriracha aioli, wasabi aioli, spicy ginger, sweet teriyaki…YUM. And last, but very important, your crunchy toppings like sesame seeds, lotus crisps, garlic crisps, shredded nori, onion crisps, and wonton crisps. Crunch-factor should not be overlooked!
Good news and bad news: the above lists are not exhaustive! This is the most customizable meal you will find in Spartanburg.
I’d be remiss not to mention the décor of this new space. Its light and airy, contemporary, and right in line with the Japanese-Hawaiian fusion they aim to serve up. There is ample seating inside for small or large groups, plus outdoor seating in the alcove where LIT coffee was set up for a little while.
You may already be planning a visit to Pokenori for your next lunch meal, but don't discount them for dinner! They have wine and beer...date night anyone?!
What a welcome Pokenori has received so far, and I know it’s just going to get better for them. Thanks for being in Spartanburg, and y’all be sure to check them out!
And if you’re looking for more Spartanburg restaurant reviews, look no further!
201 Wall Street, Suite D
mon-fri 7:30am - 3pm
what they are known for.
breakfast and lunch dishes, fresh baked pastries
New to the Spartanburg restaurant scene, HenHouse Brunch has made a name for itself on Wall Street downtown. The day I visited, I waited in line for nearly 20 minutes and only barely found a seat! This did give me ample time to take in the décor which is quite charming; quirky prints and a chalkboard menu surround the counter where you order. After making my menu decision, plus picking up a pastry for the road, I took a seat and eagerly awaited my order: the Hipster sandwich and a side of She Crab Soup.
When it arrived, I loved the casual presentation right off the bat. The sandwich was served on a waxed paper-lined metal tray with wooden utensils, with the soup piping hot in a plastic container. The Hipster features roasted red pepper, egg, cheddar cheese, scallions, wilted spinach, roasted tomato, and harissa sauce on a brioche bun. The bread was thick and fluffy and soaked up lots of flavor from the veggies and the spicy roasted pepper sauce. The star of this particular meal for me was, surprisingly, the She Crab Soup. The creaminess was unmatched and the roasted corn on top added a sweet and salty crunch that I couldn’t get enough of!
On another visit not too long after this one, I tried The Benny: poached egg, Canadian bacon, and hollandaise on an open-faced croissant. The sauce and the egg yolk soaked right into the nooks and crannies of that croissant making for delicious decadence in every bite.
One of the most common responses I get when I tell people about Hub City Bites is, “Tell me about a restaurant I don’t know about…what do I need to try?”
And that is one of the things I try to accomplish with this blog – bringing to light some of the places that you might not know about. If you are one of the lucky ones that knows about this one, then kudos! But for those that don’t…
If you’re like me, sometimes you just get the craving for a Philly Cheese Steak. If you’re truly like me, it’s all the time… But listen, if you get one of those cravings, run, don’t walk, to The Real Deal! It’s tucked back on the end of a small shopping strip on Asheville Highway, and you could easily pass it the first time.
There are a few seats inside the shop, and I typically take my sandwich to-go, so take your pick! It truly is a sandwich shop with a straight forward menu. My choice is nearly always a traditional Philly Cheese Steak with grilled mushrooms, onions and jalapenos.
The last time I was in there, I was in line with a man who is originally from Philadelphia but has been in Spartanburg for over two decades. He’d just recently discovered The Real Deal two weeks prior and had been in nearly every other day since! He claims that what makes these sandwiches so authentic is the bread, and while I’ve never has the chance to go to Philadelphia, I agree that the bread is absolutely perfection. Crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, and absorbs all the yummy juices from the meat, cheese and veggies. Also, unlike up north where you’ll find piles of cooked steak ready to be warmed for your sandwich, The Real Deal cooks each sandwich to order.
What makes The Real Deal so unique is its simplicity. From the no-frills shop to the brown paper bag-wrapped sandwiches, they keep it real. I hope you have a chance to check it out soon!
And if you want more Spartanburg Restaurant Reviews, look no further!
Be sure to keep an eye out for the next RJ Rockers beer dinner because these are events that you Spartanburg foodies do not want to miss! This collaboration with HenHouse Brunch was the third dinner in the series, the first two being with Southside Smokehouse and The Farmer’s Table. How I wish I’d been at those! Included in your ticket price is a pint of beer to enjoy while you wait for the first course to be served, so be sure to get there early to enjoy your pint.
The 5-course dinner featured dishes from HenHouse Brunch paired with delicious local brews from RJ Rockers. Kate White, Public Relations Manager with Rockers, said they bring the restaurant staff in to taste the beers which they then create dishes to match. Rockers also created a special beer just for this dinner, one that I’ve already petitioned for them to recreate!
The first course was a trio of deviled eggs – Avocado Lime, Grandmama Style, and Bacon Jalapeno. The avocado lime egg was super creamy with a slight hint of lime and a bit of spice, while the Grandmama style was on the sweeter side. I’m a sucker for spice so I saved the bacon jalapeno for last – I could have taken a lot more spice, but there’s nothing like a good egg/bacon combo. The beer paired with this course was the bestselling Son of a Peach, and those sweet, peachy flavors tied in nicely, especially with the bacon.
The second course was a hefty slice of brioche toast topped with a creamy spread cheese and avocado, bacon, tomatoes, arugula, a perfectly cooked duck egg, and lots of honey balsamic drizzle. There’s nothing better than a runny yolk, folks. The beer paired with this course was the special release, only for this event, and it blew my socks off: a Basil and Blood Orange Saison. If you’re not familiar with this type of beer, it tends to be tart and citrusy with more carbonation. This one had a heavy note of orange with a slight hint of basil, and I’d love to have it in a bottle by the pool this summer *wink wink*.
The third course was a Shrimp Panzanella Salad, loaded with chunks of bread that soaked up the juices of the dressing, tomatoes and grapefruit. It had a spice that lingered in a good way and was cut nicely with the crisp Palmetto Trail Pale Ale which has notes of grapefruit. Note: proceeds from the sale of this beer support the Palmetto Conservation Foundation’s “mountains to the sea” trail in South Carolina.
The fourth and main course was a garlicky brisket and sweet potato hash. The brisket was braised in RJ Rocker beer adding a nice depth of flavor, which was balanced by scooping a few of the pickled mustard seeds into each bite. You could tell they made this for the smooth, dark Brown Eyed Squirrel Ale with its smoky finish.
Last, and best course in my opinion, was the Espresso S’more Brownie paired with the Half Calf Coffee Milk Stout. The toasted marshmallow truly smelled and tasted like it had been over a campfire! The brownie was dense and fudgy with the espresso bringing out the coffee notes in the beer, which is brewed with Spartanburg’s own Little River Roasting coffee. Served alongside a light and simple vanilla gelato, this brownie was the perfect way to end the meal.
Be sure you are following RJ Rockers on Facebook to get notified of the next beer dinner and buy your tickets quickly! It’s such a treat to get to enjoy a meal in one of our local breweries. RJ Rockers is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3pm-8pm, Thursdays and Fridays from 3pm-9pm, and Saturdays from 12pm-8pm. And of course head on over to Wall Street to try HenHouse Brunch from 7:30am - 3pm, Monday-Friday. They know how to do a beer dinner right - from the table setting to the presentations of the beers and food – many kudos to the staff at Rockers and HenHouse Brunch for a fun evening!
Full disclosure: I was offered free tickets to this event to cover it on the blog. Giving me free food and drinks – while always appreciated – does not guarantee a positive review. All opinions are my own.