The Best of the Upstate 2017: How You Should Vote for Food & Drink Part 2

BOTU17

We continue along with right way to vote in the Best of The Upstate Voting.

Click Here to read part 1

Click Here to see the ballot and cast your own votes.

Best Fried Chicken

  • Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits
  • OJ’s Diner
  • KFC
  • Publix
  • The Clock on Cedar Lane Road

VOTE FOR OJ’S DINER OR THE CLOCK ON CEDAR LANE ROAD

I can get rid of Bojangles’, KFC, and Publix because they’re all chains.  That brings it down to OJ’s or The Clock.  I personally have never had either, so I’m fine with whichever one gets your vote, but I’ve heard great things about OJ’s chicken and I’ve never heard anything about The Clock’s.  I’d lean towards OJ’s on that alone.

Best Fries

  • Five Guys
  • Grill Marks
  • Trappe Door
  • McDonald’s
  • Henry’s Smokehouse

VOTE FOR HENRY’S SMOKEHOUSE

Five Guys and McDonald’s both go away.  Grill Marks I don’t like overall, so they’re knocked out.  It comes down to Trappe Door and Henry’s.  Both have great fries, but the sauces are more of the main attraction than the fries alone.  Henry’s fries are great by themselves, so they get the win.

Best Frozen Yogurt

  • Blueberry Frog
  • Yogurt Mountain
  • TCBY
  • Twisted Cup
  • Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt

VOTE FOR YOGURT MOUNTAIN

Yes, I get to break one of my rules here.  Yogurt Mountain is a chain and actually owned by Books-A-Million.  But I really like Yogurt Mountain.  As much as I’d like to vote for Blueberry Frog, I haven’t had great experiences there.  I’ve never been to Twisted Cup, so I vote for Yogurt Mountain, in spite of my rules.  If you vote for Blueberry Frog or Twisted Cup, I wouldn’t fault you.

Best Gelato

  • Whole Foods Market
  • Luna Rosa Gelato Cafe
  • Papi’s Tacos
  • Tony’s New York Pizza
  • Your Pie

VOTE FOR LUNA ROSA GELATO CAFE

Tony’s serves Luna Rosa’s Gelato, so vote for the source.  Your Pie and Whole Foods are chains so they’re a no go.  Luna Rosa has the best gelato in town and I guess Papi’s has gelato?

Best Gourmet Pizza

  • Mellow Mushroom
  • Brixx Wood Fired Pizza
  • Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
  • Merrell’s Pizzeria
  • Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria
  • Sidewall Pizza Co.

VOTE FOR BARLEY’S TAPROOM & PIZZERIA

Chains: Mellow Mushroom, Brixx, Grimaldi’s.  I’ve never been to Merrell’s so if you like them, vote for them.  Sidewall is not my favorite.  Their pizzas are good, but they’re expensive.  Barley’s, although a small chain, has incredible pizza in various sizes and lots of variations at a good price.  They’re the winner for me.

Best Greek/Mediterranean Restaurant

  • Ji-Roz
  • Greektown Grille
  • Pizza House
  • The Olympian Grill
  • The Olive Tree

VOTE FOR ANY OF THE 5

I have no preference here and they’re all local, so go for it.

Best Happy Hour

  • City Range
  • Smoke on the Water
  • Chuy’s
  • Bar Louie
  • City Tavern
  • The Hide-Out in Easley

VOTE FOR ANYONE BUT CHUY’S OR BAR LOUIE

I don’t do a lot of Happy Hours, so delete the chains out and take your pick.

Best Hot Dogs

  • Skins Hotdogs
  • Duke’s Doggs
  • J J’s Dawg House
  • Resident Dogs
  • Joe’s Ice Cream Shop
  • Celebrity’s Hot Dog and Burgers

VOTE FOR ANY OF THE 6

Best Hot Dog in the Upstate is at Johnny F’s, so all these choices are wrong anyway.  They’re all local to the upstate, so no conflicts there.

Best Ice Cream

  • Ice Cream Station
  • Bruster’s Real Ice Cream
  • Pink Mama’s Ice Cream Shop
  • Marble Slab Creamery
  • Dillards Farms Inc. Ice Cream

VOTE FOR DILLARDS FARMS INC. ICE CREAM

Bruster’s and Marble Slab are both chains.  Pink Mama’s uses Blue Bunny, Ice Cream station uses the mix-in gimmick.  Dillards has homemade peach ice cream.  That’s all you need to know.

Best Indian Restaurant

  • Persis Biryani and Grill
  • India Palace
  • Handi Indian Cuisine
  • Saffron Indian Cuisine
  • Swad Restuarant

VOTE FOR INDIA PALACE

I’m a huge fan of India Palace.  I’ve only ever eaten the buffet at Saffron and, while good, isn’t as good as India Palace.  They have a huge menu and offer meat, which Swad doesn’t.

Best Italian Restaurant

  • Portofino’s Italian Restaurant
  • Jianna
  • Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant
  • Capri’s
  • Della Ventura’s Restaurant and Pizzeria

VOTE FOR GIOVANNI’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT

I consider Olive Garden not being on here an overall win.  Jianna is an Italian-style oyster bar masquerading as an Italian restaurant.  They don’t have the expanse of pasta entrees in order to be an actual Italian restaurant.  And I didn’t even know there was a Capri’s still open.  Giovanni’s is a gem tucked away on Woodruff Road that does old-school style Italian.  They get the victory here.

Best Japanese Restaurant

  • Irashiai Sushi Pub & Japanese Restaurant
  • Oriental House
  • Miyabi Japanese Steak & Seafood House
  • Tsunami Restaurant
  • Kanpai of Tokyo
  • Joy of Tokyo

VOTE FOR MIYABI JAPANESE STEAK & SEAFOOD HOUSE

I have an affinty for Miyabi going back to college so even though they are a regional chain, they still get my vote.  I want to vote for Irashiai, but this isn’t the best sushi category, it’s the best Japanese restaurant.  Miyabi’s hibachi crushes the competition.

Best Jerky

  • Bacon Bros. Public House
  • Sweet & Saucy
  • House of Jerky
  • The Beef Jerky Outlet
  • Greenville Jerky and Vine

NO PREFERENCE

Why is this even a category?

Best Late Night Menu

  • Waffle House
  • Sully’s Steamers
  • Liberty Cafe
  • The Hide Out
  • The Flat

VOTE FOR WAFFLE HOUSE

Yeah, Waffle House is a chain, but each Waffle House has its own feel and aura that makes it feel local and unique but familiar.  There’s no other place that has the range of menu at any hour that Waffle House does.  I think this also says something about the state of late night food in The Upstate.  How can I not get good pizza past midnight or a shawarma at 11 PM?

Best Local Brewery

  • Birds Fly South Ale Project
  • Brewery 85
  • Quest Brewing Co.
  • Swamp Rabbit Brewery & Taproom
  • Thomas Creek Brewery

VOTE FOR BIRDS FLY SOUTH ALE PROJECT

Another disclaimer of me spending a morning with these guys.  My favorite beer from The Upstate comes from Swamp Rabbit and Birds Fly South so, it comes down to those two.  Birds Fly South is making different and more interesting beers right now than Swamp Rabbit so they get my vote.

Best Margarita

 

  • Azteca Mexican Restaurant
  • Gringo’s Cantina
  • Tipsy Taco
  • La Parrilla Mexican Restaurant
  • Chuy’s
  • Willy Taco – Feed & Seed

VOTE FOR ANYONE BUT CHUY’S

I’m not a big margarita or tequila fan.  I’d probably lean towards voting for Tipsy Taco or Willy Taco because I’ve enjoyed the tastes I’ve had of those margaritas.

Best Martini

  • Takosushi
  • Blu Martini Bar & Nightclub
  • Bar Louie
  • Halls Chophouse
  • Bonefish Grill
  • Vault & Vator
  • Soby’s

VOTE FOR ANYONE BUT BAR LOUIS OR BONEFISH GRILL

I’m not a big martini drinker either, so just don’t vote for chains.

Best Meat & 3 Veggies

  • Clock Fine Foods of Moonville
  • Southern Fried Green Tomatoes
  • OJ’s Diner
  • Stax’s Original Restaurant
  • Adams Bistro

VOTE FOR ANY OF THE 5

The only one of these where I’ve had a meat and three, which is a meat and two unless you add another veggie, is Southern Fried Green Tomatoes, so I don’t feel I’m equipped to say which is best.  I’ll probably vote for them, but I’m sure that cases can be made for each of these places.

 

That’s the end of part two.  The last edition will be coming tomorrow.  So until then: GO VOTE.

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