Best of Columbia 2016

Posted On July 30, 2016

Our readers have spoken.  You voted and we counted.  The results? Old favorites, surprises, newcomers.  Food, drink, services, retail.  Are your favorites here?  

By Deena Bouknight, Kristine Hartvigsen and Linda Lamb

Food & Beverage


Tazza Kitchen

This chic, friendly eatery in Trenholm Plaza takes pride in its locally sourced foods, and its appetizers provide a farm-fresh start to your meal. There’s guacamole with stone-ground corn tostadas, mussels with chorizo and fresh herbs, and brick oven specialties ranging from veggies to nachos. Want a hearty start? Tazza’s meatballs will do the trick: They include pork, beef, veal and Grana Padano cheese.  782.0760 / tazzakitchen.com

Authentic American


A Five Points fixture, Yesterdays is all about comfort food. We’re talking spinach and artichoke dip like Mom’s, chicken fried steak like Granny’s, Southern fried chicken, from-scratch meat loaf, shrimp and grits, and a choice ribeye served with tossed salad and baked potato. The extensive menu also includes seafood entrees, half a dozen big salads and a variety of sandwiches and burgers. 799.0196 / yesterdayssc.com

Authentic Asian


With several Midlands locations, Miyo's is a special-occasion destination for those craving Asian cuisine – or just wanting a lovely lunch break. Menus include a dazzling array of teas and cocktails, creative takes on traditional Chinese, sushi and sashimi offerings, and entrees ranging from noodle dishes to sweet or spicy Asian favorites. There's even a heart-healthy section on the menu. Locations include the Vista, Forest Drive, Harbison, Lexington and Village at Sandhill; check miyos.com.

Authentic Caribbean

MoBay Caribbean

This island-themed bar and restaurant on Parklane Road features a Jamaican lunch buffet that will energize you for the rest of the day – or at least send you off with a reggae beat. Staples like macaroni and cheese, collard greens and red beans and rice pair with dishes that might be more exotic to some, like curried goat, jerk chicken and oxtail. Patrons enjoy the music, too.   708.8481 / facebook.com/mobaysc/

Authentic Italian

Villa Tronco

Family owned and operated for four generations, Villa Tronco takes credit for introducing pizza to Columbia. But menus at the Blanding Street “ristorante” reflect almost every Italian specialty: homey soups and fresh antipasti; salads with a house dressing so good, they bottle it; traditional sauces and pasta dishes; and veal saltimbocca, marsala, parmigiana, carmella and piccata. Finish with tiramisu, gelato or cheesecake, if you have room. 256.7677 / villatronco.com/

Authentic Mexican

Real Mexico

If anyone in your circle of amigos has heard about Real Mexico, you probably have, too. Lovers of Mexican food who venture to this Bush River Road eatery can't say enough about the generous servings of delicious food and the reasonable prices. Among the faves: chipotle barbeque ribs, shrimp tacos, tamales and pollo loco (chicken covered with spinach, shrimp and cheese). 750.8990


Publick House 

It's a favorite bar – with a sizable selection of beers and wines – but the Publick House on Devine Street bills itself as a family-friendly place to eat, socialize and maybe catch a game on one of its seven big screens. You'll find salads and sandwiches, wings and burgers, and evening and seasonal specials. And with 70 beers available, you just might find your new favorite brew. 256.2207 / publick-house.com

Breakfast Spot

Le Peep

Le Peep, with restaurants in 13 states, claims to offer the best breakfast in the world. You might just be a believer after one look at the menu. The restaurants on Gervais Street in the Vista and in the Village at Sandhill offer eggs every which-way, an “omelet hall of fame,” pancakes plain or fruity, gooey buns and a breakfast banana split. Want something more brunch-y? There are salads and sandwiches, too. 254.1200 (Vista); 550.9685 (Sandhill) / lepeep.com



Sometimes, you just want a tasty, hefty burger. And lucky you, if you happen to be close to Henry's, either on Devine Street or in Sparkleberry Plaza in the Northeast. Sample some Southern-fried pickles – or another Southern-fried appetizer – till your 8-ounce, Angus beef, fire-grilled burger arrives. Variations include jalapeno, Erica's (with a portobello cap), Alpine (Swiss and mushroom), surf and turf (includes shrimp) and Carolina (pimento cheese). 708.4705 (Devine); 563.5674 (Northeast) / henrysgrillandbar.com


Chocolate Monkey

Sweet success for the Chocolate Monkey started in 2009 with its first shop in Tennessee. Smoky Mountain candy makers perfected their fudge and other delectables and expanded to locations that now include Lexington and Harbison. Quality ingredients such as real cream and butter elevate the chocolate, caramel and other confections into treats that make your favorite person feel special. (Maybe you.) 359.7222 (Lexington); 732.6255 (Columbiana Centre) /  chocolatemonkeyshop.com


Blythe Kelly, Cellar on Greene 

Cellar on Greene is a wine bar and restaurant – off Greene Street, of course. It specializes in snacks and desserts just right for sharing, plus a nightly three-course meal. Diners enjoy the cozy atmosphere, fresh, high-quality ingredients and sumptuous desserts. The latter are a specialty of Blythe Kelly's, so no wonder diners have singled her out as a favorite chef. 343.3303 / cellarongreene.com 


Night Caps

The way patrons describe it, Night Caps on Devine Street could give “dive bars” a good name. Lounge on a leather sofa, shoot some pool and chat with the regulars, who tend to distance themselves from the party-hard college students. You can catch something on TV, or opt for outside seating if the weather warrants. Reasonably priced drinks pair with some tasty bar food, mozzarella sticks being a favorite. 771.6575 / Facebook: Night Caps

Coffee House


With shops on Main Street and Saluda Avenue, Drip “hand-crafts” every cup of coffee, espresso or variation thereof from beans they grind on site. It’s a fine place to linger with a friend or do some reading. Consider something sweet or savory to go with your coffee – maybe an egg with sharp cheddar and jalapeno jam on a homemade biscuit, a better-than-ordinary version of bagels or French toast, a turkey and brie sandwich on sourdough bread, or house-made granola. 661.9545 (Five Points); 799.0067 (Main) / dripcolumbia.com

Crab Cakes

Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar

A “small plate” with big flavor, the crab cake at Travinia will satisfy any crab lover. The golden cake is made of jumbo lump crabmeat and served with spinach-roasted tomato orzo, a dainty, rice-like pasta. There’s a rich, tangy lemon buerre blanc on the side. 957.2422 (Lexington); 419-9313 (Sparkleberry Plaza) / traviniaitaliankitchen.com

Craft Brewer

River Rat Brewery

Men who moved goods up and down the canal in Columbia a century ago were called river rats. Since 2014, the name River Rats has been synonymous with craft beers expertly brewed in Columbia by a brewer, brew master, and fermentation engineer. Beer tasting and food available on-site; beers served in local restaurants or at some stores. 724.5712 / riverratbrewery.com 



Award-winning spot for desserts that are both beautiful and delicious, Nonnahs is also a favorite lunch and dinner spot serving upscale Southern cuisine often prepared using local ingredients. This sophisticated eating establishment sports an art gallery as well. This is a popular late-night, downtown gathering site for drinks and dessert after a show. Catering is available. 779.9599 / nonnahs.com

Family Restaurant

Lizards Thicket

In 1977 Bob and Anna Williams began to offer authentic home-cooked meals literally in a home on Broad River. Today the Williams family has 15 locations of what became Lizards Thicket, truly Southern cuisine. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner served – including the tried and true one meat and three vegetables selection. 799.2512 / lizardsthicket.com

Fine Dining

Ristorante Divino

A positive sign that a restaurant will serve a stellar meal is when the establishment is owned by chefs. Although originally founded by a true Italian chef 16 years ago, this historic Congaree Vista area restaurant is currently owned and operated by not one, but three highly experienced chefs. Creative Italian cuisine is presented in an intimate, fine dining ambiance. 799.4550 / ristorantedivino.com

Happy Hour

Cantina 76

Dubbed a Mexican-inspired taqueria (taco) bar, these two locations in Columbia offer everything from novel tacos such as pesto chicken or barbecue brisket to creative enchiladas and nachos – plus much more. Even some of the specialty drinks are distinct, with names such as The Pama, The 76, and The Devine. 708-6004 (Devine Street location); 764.1769 (Main Street location) / cantina76.com

Healthy Fare

Spotted Salamander

This is catering with an “inventive” Southern flair. Nothing packaged and reheated; all items are made from scratch. Menus for lunches, brunches, showers, weddings, birthdays, graduations, and a variety of other themed events are available and can be customized. Plus, there is a daily café lunch available at 1531 Richland Street with everything from small plates of house pimento cheese with toasted baguette to a Seared Market Veggie Salad. 556.2197 / spottedsalamandercatering.com

Light-Night Menu


Even though Bourbon is touted as a whiskey bar, primarily because of its 150-plus selection, it is also a spot for sampling upscale Creole cuisine from early evening to late-night hours. Classics such as gumbo, jambalaya, and étoufeé are offered, as are creative dishes using local ingredients: Crispy Fried Quail Sliders using Hopkin’s based Manchester Farm quail, for example. 403.1404 / bourboncolumbia.com

Lunch Spot

Oak Table

Located with a bird’s eye view of the capitol, this restaurant is South Carolinian at its core. As an upscale lunch spot, patrons can enjoy a break from staple soups, sandwiches, and salads. Here is served such items as White Truffle Grilled Cheese or a Bulgarian Feta Salad. An entrée might be fried chicken with wilted local greens and seasonal vegetables. 563.5066 / theoaktablesc.com

Outdoor Dining 

Motor Supply Bistro

In the historic Congaree Vista area, this intimate dining experience extends from the indoor hardwood floor and drop lighting ambiance to an outdoor covered patio dining with exposed bricks. The menu changes with the seasons and features what is fresh, like farm-to-fork salads, sustainable farmed and house-butchered meats, and South Carolina seafood. 256.6687 / motorsupplycobistro.com


The Villa

Since 1977, this family restaurant has provided Columbia with authentic, homemade, affordable Italian food. Even though there are flavorful dinners such as Lasagna Florentine and Spaghetti with Meatballs, it is the pizza that is a Villa favorite. Besides offering various popular topping choices, this is one of the only pizza establishments in town that offers an all-anchovies pizza on the menu. 798.6360 / thevillaonbushriver.com


Village Idiot Pizza and Pub

Since 1990, this has been a hangout spot in 5 Points. Another location opened in 2009 in Forest Acres and a third just opened in Olympia at The Mills. Hand-tossed New York Style pizza, as well as calzones, strombolis, and other menu items are served in casual settings. A variety of featured beers are offered on tap or in bottles; wine and sangria is available as well. 252.8646 / villageidiotpizza.com

Raw Bar


As its name implies, seafood is the focus with oysters the specialty. Touted as an “eclectic” restaurant for its variety of raw and cooked seafood prepared simply and creatively, there are actually a few beef items on the menu as well. This is also a full-service bar. Presented in a contemporary, sophisticated stamped-tin ceiling ambiance in the historic Congaree Vista. 661.7741 / pearlzoysterbar.com

Romantic Atmosphere


From its location in a historic 5 Points building that was once the site of the VFW Club for returning veterans after World War I to its solid mahogany 19th century bar from a hotel in Philadelphia, Saluda’s is immersed in history. And, since 1996, it has been making its culinary stamp on Columbia with its white-table-cloth, unparalleled dining experience that includes an extensive menu, and beer and wine list featuring many items sourced locally.799.9500 / saludas.com



This 5 Points restaurant offers a variety to meet individual needs, including a gluten-free menu. Especially sought after, besides some of the hearty portions of grilled meats and seafood, are the salads for freshness and a crafty melding of ingredients: For example, the Spring Salad has grilled Scottish salmon, arugula, farro, asparagus, almonds, green onion, tomatoes, and lemon vinaigrette. 252.2222 / harpersgroup.com


Blue Marlin 

Shrimp and grits go together better than, well, … peas and carrots. Forrest Gump and his pal Bubba would love this creamy Blue Marlin signature combo. Crowd favorites include perfectly breaded Charleston Crab Cakes, the delightful Salmon Ponchartrain with blackened shrimp and scallops, and the Seafood Platter. Don’t forget your collards. Bustling atmosphere. Prompt seating. 799.3838 / bluemarlincolumbia.com


Tombo Grille

There’s a saying that the traffic is extremely light along the extra mile. If that’s true, the staff of Tombo Grille must be happy motorists indeed. Large parties? No problem. Special dietary requests. Ditto. Servers are quick, attentive, and knowledgeable. You’ll be happy to eat your veggies when you sample the Fried Brussels Sprouts. Don’t miss Monday night’s Burger, Beer, and Live Music night and their made-to-order burgers. 782.9665 / tombogrille.com


Ruth’s Chris

Like butter. There’s hardly any other way to describe the steaks at Ruth’s Chris. They will melt in your mouth. Healthy portions of hand-selected, perfectly marbled beef prepared meticulously to order. Generous sides prepared from the freshest ingredients are served family style for sharing. Staff take great care to deliver a memorable experience, making every occasion special. Worth every penny. 212.6666 / http://www.ruthschris.com/restaurant-locations/columbia/



With restaurant dishes, presentation is everything, and when it comes to sushi, it’s an artform. At Miyo’s, the sushi not only dazzles the eyes, it ignites the taste buds. The Angry Dragon combines shrimp and tuna with hints of mango. If you like a higher uncooked fish-to-rice ratio, go for the sumptuous Geisha Roll. Gluten-free and vegetarian options. Authentic, fresh cuisine. 743.9996 / miyos.com

Sunday Brunch


A chap with a massive hangover is said to have invented Eggs Benedict from ingredients on his room service breakfast tray. Hordes of brunch lovers affirm the dish’s power to heal and satisfy every weekend during brunch at DiPrato’s. Classic breakfast choices like fluffy omelets, buttery bisquits, cheesy hash browns, and mouth-watering grits. No reservations. Worth the wait. 779.0606 / dipratos.com


Good Life Café

If you suspect vegan food is blander than cardboard, prepare to have your mind blown. Good Life Café wins new fans every day with its menu of hearty raw vegan dishes that are masterfully seasoned and delicious. Just try the Harmony Bowl (beans, grains, kale, tahini, ginger dressing). The kale salad and cashew-based tacos also get raves. Rich, satisfying fare. 726.2310 / goodlifecafe.net

Water-View Dining

Liberty on the Lake

Something magical happens when the light hits your lager just right, casting a rich yellow glow across the tabletop. Your skin tingles from a day on the water, and you take in another brilliant Lake Murray sunset from the deck of Liberty on the Lake. Burgers are nirvana. Open-air dining. Relaxing beach feel. Stunning views. 667.9715 / libertytaproom.com/locations/irmo-sc/

Wine List

Gervais & Vine

Gervais and Vine has a warm, communal vibe that invites conversation. Offering more than 40 wines by the glass, G&V has a robust Wine Club that introduces new wines of the world every month to its members, along with schooling on food pairings. Succulent menu. Live music events. Great for a date night. 799.8463 / gervine.com/



Tiffany’s Bakery and Eatery

Tiffany’s is the quintessential, hometown family bakery where you imagine the baker humming in a cheerful gingham apron. There’s virtually nothing they can’t do. Need an authentic King Cake? Truly moist Red Velvet Cake? Key Lime Tarts? A custom-decorated anniversary cake? Friendly staff have you covered. Regulars love the petit fours and chocolate chewies. Yum. 736.2253 / tiffanysofcolumbia.com


Spotted Salamander

Make an impression at your next event with Spotted Salamander catering. Simple yet sophisticated. Southern cuisine with an independent streak. Unbelievable deviled eggs. Decadent sweet tea vodka meatballs. Shrimp salad. Everything is scratch-made and beautifully presented. And check out their café downtown. Life-changing “croinuts” fresh daily. Experienced, flexible, professional service. Local ingredients. 556.2197 / spottedsalamandercatering.com

Organic Food

14 Carrot Whole Foods

The folks at 14 Carrot happily share their years of personal experience with all things vegan, gluten-free, or organic. The store carries Certified South Carolina grown products and allows local farms to use their store as a drop-off for their CSA programs. Unbelievably luscious low-sugar smoothies. A holistic pharmacy. 30 percent off produce twice weekly. 359.2920 / 14carrot.net

Ice Cream


When you do something really well, you don’t mess with success. For decades, Zesto’s has been the local go-to for fried chicken and classic vanilla or chocolate soft-serve ice cream. Burgers and other sandwiches are popular as well. Outstanding milkshakes. It’s not on the menu, but ask for the peanut butter, banana, and chocolate shake. Pure bliss. 782.4454 / zestosc.com

Seafood Market

Clifton Seafood

The fish at Clifton Seafood is consistently fresh, as if Poseidon himself speared them with his trident and personally delivered them. Easy to spot because of its packed parking lot, Clifton’s will fillet and season your fish on request. Pick it up raw or order it already cooked. Great hushpuppies. Always busy but fast. 738.1274 / 2213 Decker Boulevard

Wine Store


It can be overwhelming to walk in a store with so much inventory. But the knowledgeable staff at Morganelli’s are happy to personally match your wine with your budget and answer any questions you have. Looking for a flavorful red? Discover the difference between a Beaujolais and a Bordeaux. Learn something new every time. 738.2337 / 3155 Forest Drive

Retail Service

 Appliance Store

Jeffers McGill

It’s nice to have some help around the house. In lieu of that, it’s nice to have a place where you can find just about all the things you need around the house. The McGill brothers still run Jeffers McGill Furniture and Appliances, on Atlas Road, which their late father opened in 1961. You’ll find good service, knowledgeable advice, and reasonable prices on household needs from stoves and dishwashers to couches and recliners. 776.4466 / jeffersmcgill.com


Dick Lamar, Molten-Lamar Architects

Dick Lamar's firm, Molten/Lamar Architects on Lady Street, handles residential, community and commercial projects with a feeling for both the traditions and the particular requirements of building projects in the Southeast. He and his partner in the firm, Richard Molten Jr., are South Carolina natives and Clemson grads. They believe in collaborating with clients to bring their visions to life. 771.7008 / moltenlamar.com

Art Gallery


Havens Framemakers and Gallery on Gervais Street specializes in helping clients to find all the elements they need – frames, mats, glass – to display and protect their most cherished works of art. And you might actually find your most cherished artwork there. Havens takes pride in spotlighting the work of South Carolina artists, from gorgeous nature scenes and landscapes to lively abstract paintings. 256.1616 / havensframemakers.com

Assisted Living Center

Still Hopes

Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community, home to nearly 400 residents, has retained its faith-based mission while expanding its scope of services. The West Columbia campus offers a vibrant life for retirees who are still active, with cottages, apartments “concierge suites” and a bustling dining room. But a continuum of care approach also provides a gentle, nurturing environment for those who need more medical care. 796.6490 / stillhopes.org, Facebook


Benjamin “Ned” Nicholson, McNair Attorneys

Benjamin “Ned” Nicholson, of the large McNair Law Firm, specializes in complex business and construction-related litigation and arbitration. He also is a certified mediator, with skills that can help clients avoid having to go to court when possible. Nicholson's community involvement has included devoting time to Rotary, the S.C. State Museum Foundation and the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation. 799.9800 / mcnair.net

Bridal Boutique

Evelyn’s Bridal

Planning a wedding can have its nerve-wracking moments, but the folks at Evelyn's Bridal & Formal Wear in Lugoff try to keep their part of it relaxed, low-key and beautiful. They’ll make an effort to understand how you want to look for your special day, and then help you achieve it. The store carries hundreds of bridal gowns in sizes 2 to 28. There also are lots of choices for bridesmaids, mothers of the bride and debutantes.  438.8141 / EvelynsBridalonline.com

Bridal Registry


If your wedding guests are gifting you with selections from Nonesuch, you're a lucky couple indeed. Three generations of Southern women run the store, promising a combination of classic tradition and contemporary style. Their Devine Street boutique exudes elegance in home furnishings, tableware, art, antiques, bed linens and more. 254.0772 / nonesuchltd.com

Car Dealership

Jim Hudson Lexus

This Killian Road dealership believes in luxurious service to accompany its luxurious new and used vehicles. It boasts a fleet of 50 loaners and shuttle service to the airport. If you have to wait around, you can lounge by a waterfall, watch a 60-inch TV, have coffee or tea, and pick up a Lexus souvenir in the gift shop as a reminder of what you get to drive every day. 888.791.8218 / hudsonlexus.com/

Clothing, Kids

Little Lambs and Ivy

“Dress them cute before they grow up!” If you embrace that motto for your kiddos – and don’t even want to think about the grunge and torn jeans to come – Little Lambs on Devine Street will help you keep things cute. There are swaddle sets and swimwear, adorable smocked dresses and spiffy boys’ shorts, not to mention toys and books that are just as sweet as the clothing and accessories. 343.7070 / mylittlelambsandivy.com

Clothing, Men


Jaunty Fred Astaire greets you on the Brittons Facebook page, so take your cue from him. Brittons puts a Southern spin on high-quality apparel that’s traditional, yet fresh. It’s definitely the place to go for the gentleman whose sartorial splendor includes a snazzy bowtie. The friendly staff will help you strike just the right note. (Fine clothing for ladies, too.) 771.2700 / brittonsofcolumbia.com

Clothing, Women

Copper Penny

Colorful, lively, fun. Even if you don’t feel that way when you walk in to Copper Penny of Columbia, you probably will be when you walk out. The vibe in this Harden Street shop is flippant and fashion-forward, with mix-and-match pieces that let you stand out in the crowd but still feel comfortable. Put the finishing touches on your look with snazzy shoes and accessories. 376.4411 / shopcopperpenny.com

Consignment Clothing


Revente’s Second Chances is a Five Points favorite where you’re bound to find some fabulous deals. Top-quality clothing and accessories – in the “gently used” category as well as new – will help you add sparkle to your wardrobe at reasonable prices. Regular customers love the place for its fashion discoveries, friendly staff, and oh yes, those great Revente’s sales. 256.3076 / reventessecondchances.com/

Consignment Furniture

Main Street Home

Find some good deals on home furnishings and décor at this Broad River Road store with 16,000 square feet of merchandise. There are consignment items, closeouts and manufacturers’ samples. Don’t confuse its merchandise with thrift shop stuff: the wood tables gleam, the sofas are immaculate and the bunk beds show no signs of wear and tear – yet! With a variety of style options, you’re sure to find something you can’t live without. 749.7501 / mainstreethome.net

Day Spa


If only every day could include some time spent at OCCO Luxury Spa, relaxing amid sleek serenity and the kind of attention that makes you feel pampered. Services at the Pulaski Street spa include massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing and airbrush tanning. You can even arrange special-occasion sessions – say, for a birthday or a bachelorette bash – that include lunch and mimosas in a private room. 787.7546 / occoskinstudio.com

Dentist, Adult

Gee Family and Cosmetic Dentistry

“Friendly,” “personable,” “fast,” “comfortable.” Those words from Facebook reviews are the kind of feedback you want to hear about a dentist. Dr. George Gee, his son, Dr. Nicholas Gee, and their staff are known for their ability to somehow make going to the dentist a pleasant experience. Specialties include “6-Month Smiles,” an adult alternative to traditional orthodontics, along with cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening. St. Julian Place office, 254.6763 / geefamilyandcosmeticdentistry.com


Palmetto Dermatology

Dermatologists have branched out, and over the years, Palmetto Dermatology has done it well. A longtime Columbia-area practice, it offers a variety of clinical and cosmetic services to help people deal with their skin, hair and nails. Diagnosing/ treating skin cancer is a specialty, but your needs might be more esthetic. Whatever your concerns, Palmetto Dermatology can help you at its main office in West Columbia or its satellite clinic in Newberry. 796.2500 / palmettodermatology.com

Exercise Facility

MUV Fitness

“Muv it and lose it” was the theme of a recent challenge at MUV Fitness centers, and the winners proved that working out regularly has its rewards. People have different priorities when it comes to gyms, but Muv Fitness fans say they like the variety of equipment and friendly staff members who encourage them in their efforts. Locations include Columbiana Drive, Forest Drive, Augusta Road, Lexington, Irmo; visit muvsc.com or Facebook.

Eye Care/Vision Center

Columbia Eye Clinic

Vision care is serious business. Columbia Eye Clinic, with three locations, takes pride in being the largest ophthalmology practice in the Midlands and offering complete eye care. Whether you need eye surgery or just a new prescription for your contacts, Columbia Eye Clinic promises to provide you with efficient service and the most up-to-date care possible.  779.3070 (Pickens Street); 252.8566 (Summit Centre Drive); 806.0080 (Lexington) / columbiaeyeclinic.com

Flooring Company


As its president and founder, William L. Cogdill Jr., likes to say, “We are flooring.” The company has been beautifully covering Columbia-area floors since 1970. The company provides consulting, information about trends, and a wide variety of flooring choices from carpeting to area rugs to laminates and hardwoods. Through the years, it has kept up with evolving fashions; currently, for example it offers as one of its selections bamboo flooring, which is sustainable, environmentally friendly, and durable. 779.5606 / cogdills.com


Pineview Florist

This family-owned and operated florist serves the West Columbia and the greater Columbia area with a combined 60-plus years of experience. Even though professionals at Pineview keep up with the latest color and floral trends, customer service – treating patrons as extended family – is key. Flowers for every occasion great or small. 796.9394 / pineviewflorist.com

Funeral Home


J.R. “Buddy” Thompson started this business in 1928 with a focus on personal service. Many hard-working family members and professional associates later, there are three locations, including the original site built in 1935 on State Street. Thompson continues to be a community centered company with a focus on veterans. 996.1023 (Lexington location); 791.0650 (West Columbia location); 776.1092 (Greenlawn Memorial Park location) / thompsonsfuneralhome.com

Furniture Store

Whit Ash

Located in the heart of the Vista, Whit-Ash is a furniture company that has been providing everything from lamps and decorative accessories to whole rooms of furnishings to customers all over South Carolina. There is over 40,000 square feet of home furnishings available in vignette settings and by category. Plenty of free parking. 779.5123 / whitash.com

Garden Center

Wingards Market

Wingards Market is much more than just a garden center with live plants, soil, bedding, water features, etc. There is a 1,200-square-foot climate controlled produce area and a gift shop. Professionals are on hand to provide advice about what to plant, and where. However, there are also ongoing workshops and events for do-it-yourselfers to glean ideas and skills. 359.9091 / wingardsmarket.com

Gift Store

Just the Thing Boutique

This mother/daughter duo store on Devine Street offers the quintessential South Carolina look in gifts, accessories, and jewelry: bright sorbet hues and monogramming. Monogram necklaces in a variety of styles are trendy, as are insulated cups, mugs, and hats. For the beach trip there are personalized towels and blankets. 771.9969 / shopjustthething.com

Home Accessories Store


Wanting something not exactly like everyone else’s? Verve is a home furnishings store with distinct, eclectic, stand-out items – but not too far out. The store offers a mix of art, antiques, furniture, lighting, rugs, mirrors, and decorative accessories. Plus, there are design services available. There are “new arrivals” regularly with one-of-a-kind, unique items to give a room a focal point or a completed look. 799.0045 / verveinteriors.com

Home Audio/Video

Upstairs Audio & Video

Joseph Azar was a college student with an entrepreneurial spirit when he started his audio and video company in 1972. Since then, the business has grown to include educational Learn to Listen clinics and manufacturer clinics so that customers can be the most informed. Upstairs Audio & Video offers everything from record player repair to home theater installation. 256.3277 / upstairsaudio.com

Home Builder

Fortress Builders

The goal of Fortress Builders is to provide customers with quality homes at affordable prices. The company consistently is recognized for awards – including The State’s Best two year in a row. It provides home plans, smart homes, custom homes, and a design center. Plus, there are Fortress Builders communities located all around the Columbia area, including Hunters Run in Blythewood and Lake Carolina in the Northeast. 461.1525 / fortressbuilders.net

Home Cleaning Services

Molly Maid

For homeowners in the Midlands and in West Columbia, there is a host of professional residential cleaning services available. Anyone interested is provided a free estimate of services. Specialized cleaning, such as after an event or to ready an apartment, as well as “green cleaning” alternatives, are options. There are also flexible plans to fit a variety of lifestyles and budgets from one-time assistance to weekly cleanings.731.1212 / mollymaid.com

Home Security Provider 

National Alert

Unfortunately, no one can be too careful these days; sometimes it is necessary to consider security solutions. National Alert Security Systems of Columbia, formed by a current reserve deputy with the Richland County Sherriff’s Department, gives customers many options to stay safe: surveillance cameras, burglar alarms, and GPS based tracking devices – to name a few. Free evaluations are available. Services for both residential and commercial sites. 629.4000 / nationalalertusa.com



A 4-Diamond AAA experience is located right in the heart of downtown’s financial, entertainment, and historic district. This elegant setting is within walking distance of many restaurants and shops. The ambiance is a combination of historical architecture and modernity. There are 222 guestrooms and two presidential suites, as well as 24-hour business and fitness centers. Plus, there are meeting rooms and an executive board room, and an outdoor saltwater pool. 744.7800 / hiltoncolumbia.com

Insurance Provider

Keenan Suggs Insurance

Insurance can be complicated, no matter what the circumstances. Keenan Suggs has a professional team of trained insurance specialists who can handle commercial and personal insurance, as well as employee benefits and benefits enrollment. The company was founded in 1949 and has remained an independently owned company since. Headquartered in Columbia, but with offices in Greenville, Charleston, and Raleigh, N.C. 799.5533 / keenansuggs.co

Interior Designer
LGB Interiors

Linda Burnside’s skill is not only in interior design, but also as a photographer. Her detailed, creative mark is on luxury resorts and boutique hotels around the world. Her sense of global infusion permeates residential projects so that homes become destinations. From one room to an entire residence, she offers a full-service, turn-key service.929.5322 / lgbinteriors.com

Jeweler/Jewelry Store


Entering the ornate, historic building on the corner of Main and Hampton Streets is a visual treat. The icing on the experience is case after case of exquisite jewelry. The business was founded by a Swedish immigrant in the late 1800s, and the building was acquired in 1905. Most Columbia residents know the Sylvan’s store by its distinguishing exterior landmark: a four-sided sidewalk clock installed in 1906. Besides being a destination for choosing engagement and wedding rings, Sylvan’s is also well known for unique jewelry, estate items, and time pieces. 779.2250 / sylvan.com

Kitchen/Bath Remodeler

Palmetto Construction & Renovations

Owned by Jim Evatt, Palmetto construction and Renovations was founded 15 years ago as a full-service renovation and construction business. He desires to make the construction experience a pleasant one for clients. He and his staff not only keep their ears and eyes open for new products and methods to pass onto clients, but they are always seeking ways to save them time and money. 917.5755 / pcrcolumbia.com

Landscape Designer

Blue Moon

Customer service is the primary focus of this award-winning landscaping and lawn maintenance company that has served Columbia since 1987. Founder Trent Hutchinson says that whatever a client is seeking to achieve on a property, he and his team of professionals provide a range of services to accomplish the job. Offered is basic landscaping consultation and guidance from small projects to large scale installations. 776.3838 / bluemoonlandscaping.com

Lighting Store

The Lite House

No matter the ambiance a client is seeking to convey, Lite House provides just the right lighting. Professionals have been assisting customers in choosing everything from lamps, to ceiling and wall lights, to fans and exterior lighting since 1973. The Lite House also offers landscape lighting solutions to bring attention to outdoor features as well as enhance safety measures. Plus, special lighting controls can be installed. 798.5400 (Bush River Road Location); 788.3213 (Two Notch Road Location) / thelighthouse.com

Mortgage Company

Midland Mortgage Corporation

There’s nothing like it, the peace you feel in the early morning as the coffee brews in your new kitchen and the house is quiet. Midland Mortgage treats customers with empathy and respect. They specialize in residential mortgages and take their customers step-by-step through the financing process seamlessly to keep stress at bay. 765.1680 / midlandmortgagecorp.com

Pediatric Dentist

Wild Smiles

What child isn’t fascinated by the long tusks of an elephant or the allure of a jungle tree house. Wild Smiles is a welcoming place for a child’s first dental visit. Staff make learning about dental health fun. Sedation available for nervous patients. A wonderful, friendly oasis. Compassionate care. Ee-e-e-oh-mum-oh-weh! 619.0047 / wildsmiles.net


Sandhills Pediatric (Laura Ledlie)

When you put your child in the hands of another, it’s about trust. Strong trust. Sandhills Pediatric earns parents’ trust over years of quality, compassionate, gentle care. Relationships with Sandhills truly last a lifetime, from birth to adulthood. Through fevers, ear infections, colds, routine checkups, and well-child visits, families consistently rely on Sandhills to maintain their children’s health. 252.1801 / sandhillsped.com

Pest Control

Clark’s Termite & Pest Control

Those headstrong cockroaches that think they will survive the apocalypse haven’t met a Clark’s Pest Control technician yet. Faster than a speeding meteorite, Clark’s will eradicate unwanted pests promptly, affordably, and completely. Also offering construction and yard treatment services that focus on the exterior and perimeter of a home, keeping use of chemicals to a minimum. 866.781.4991 / clarkspest.com


Molly Harrell Photography

If you enjoyed the free Midlands edition of Skirt! magazine, you’ve seen Molly Harrell’s photography. She has a gift for putting her subjects at ease. Even brawny men will pose for her wearing a skirt. Chances are Molly has caught you in her lens at various events around Columbia. She has a studio at Tapp’s Arts Center. Honest, lush, authentic images. 479.1269 / mollyharrell.com

Plastic Surgeon

Brett Carlin (Carlin Plastic Surgery)

“The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence,” said actress Blake Lively. So true, whether you want a neck lift, tightening after weight loss, or reconstruction after cancer. If we feel good about how we look, we feel more confident. Dr. Carlin will answer all questions thoroughly. Great bedside manner. Compassionate, attentive, precise. 926.0969 / carlinplasticsurgery.com

Pool Company

Jack Oliver's Pool Spa & Patio

Nothing’s more fun in the summer time than a pool party. Jack Oliver’s has a full line of products and services to tickle your outdoor fancy. High-end, durable patio furniture, hot tubs, saunas, grills. They can design new pools or remodel your existing one. Construction and hardscaping expertise. The oasis of your dreams. 251.0272 / jackoliverpools.com

Real Estate Agency

Coldwell Banker

With more than $1 billion in sales in the Midlands last year, Coldwell Banker delivers. Network of resources vastly expanded with acquisition of Russell & Jeffcoat in 2016. More than 14 years of experience in the Columbia area. Ranked No. 1 in sales volume among Midlands residential real estate companies in 2015. Highest professionalism. Unparalleled integrity. 799.8035 / coldwellbankerhomes.com/carolinas

Salon for Women

Process Hair Salon

Love your hair. Love your stylist. Process Hair Salon in Forest Acres employs hair and makeup artisans who will exceed your highest expectations. Full range of services including cuts, color, hair extensions, waxing, eyebrow shaping, beard trims, children’s styles. Excellent array of hair-care products. Free bang trims between appointments. Intimate and luxurious atmosphere. 563.5463 / processhairsalon.com


Salon/Barber for Men

Circa Barbershop

Get the vintage barbershop experience right down to the comfy 1940s chairs and penny tile. Circa Barbershop in the historic downtown Arcade Mall is the real deal. Relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy a beverage while getting the best fade haircut available anywhere in the state. Great attention to detail. Razor shaves, beard trims, even sleek women’s haircuts. 730.3256 / circabarbershop.com


Ben Lippen

Ben Lippen School has been educating students from a Christian perspective since 1940. The school’s rigorous academic program challenges the more than 740 students in grades Pre-K through 12. Ample opportunities beyond the classroom are available to students, including academics, athletics, fine arts, leadership, and service. The student body is culturally diverse, with ten nationalities represented in the international boarding program. Ben Lippen has prepared more than 3,600 alumni for college and beyond. 807.4000 / benlippen.com

Shoe Store

Gwen Rawls Italian Shoe Boutique

Admit it. She had you at Cesare Paciotti. Gwen Rawls gets you. Her elegant boutique in Forest Acres has a carefully curated selection of Italian footwear and handbags that would pass muster with the discerning ladies of <i