Here you’ll find a food-centric itinerary for visiting Charlotte’s epicurean neighbor to the south, Rock Hill. From breakfast to dinner (and everything in-between), here are five reasons you should make the short trek and spend a little time in The Palmetto State.
Breakfast Pick: The Yolk Café
1912 Mt. Gallant Road, Rock Hill
Why they’re awesome: Chef Greg Collier is one of the most humble individuals I’ve ever met… and he just so happens to be a mastermind in the kitchen (get to know him better by watching Order/Fire’s interview). Focusing on locally-sourced ingredients, The Yolk Café encompasses an ever-changing menu that is both spontaneous and delicious.
“I wanted to work with farmers and embrace local ingredients – so breakfast made sense. I don’t try to shock people, I try to engage them,” said Collier. As one of the founding members of Soul Food Sessions, Collier owns one of the most innovative breakfast joints in the Carolinas.
What to drink: I like to keep it simple with a cup of coffee ($2.50) and orange juice ($2.10). Bonus (and major props): The Yolk Café serves Javesca Coffee; for every bag of coffee sold, Javesca will supply four meals to those throughout the world that have little to no food. Drink up, friends.
What to eat: The Southern Waffles ($5.99) come with delicious little pecans tucked inside the delicate dough before the dish is cooked… delish! I also really enjoyed the TN Fries ($2.49), which were slightly sweet with the perfect amount of spice and flavor.
Lunchin’ & Brunchin’ Pick: Five & Dine
135 E. Main St., Rock Hill
Why they’re awesome: Owned by restaurateur Selena Kelemen, this eatery is located along the tree-lined streets of downtown Rock Hill. It’s the site of the Friendship 9’s iconic civil rights sit-in and still displays the original stools and lunch counter where everything took place. They are open every weekday for lunch and dinner and offer brunch every weekend from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Expect a good mix of Southern classics and modern fare.
What to drink: Handmade soda ($2.99) or a classic milkshake ($3.99).
What to eat: Donut Sliders ($7.95); cheddar burgers that are sandwiched between two housemade mini glazed donuts.
Dinner Pick: The Pump House
575 Herrons Ferry Rd., Rock Hill
Why they’re awesome: This former-industrial-pump-house-turned-restaurant offers Southern-inspired American cuisine with an unhindered view of the Catawba River.
What to drink: They have an extensive wine list (and the wait staff will help you pair a glass with your meal), along with cocktails and specialty drinks. Make sure to save room for “dessert in a glass” and order the Chocolate Mint Martini ($12).
What to eat: Sharing a range of small bites with a group is a fun way to mingle and nibble through a variety of items. The crispy calamari ($13) was pretty tasty and served with hot cherry peppers. We also enjoyed the fried green tomatoes with warm pimento cheese ($9) and hickory nut gap pork belly with apricot chutney ($12).
Brewery Pick: Legal Remedy Brewing Co.
129 Oakland Ave., Rock Hill
Why they’re awesome: Founded by a lawyer, a landscape architect, two bankers and a computer guy – this homebrewed beer turned “legal” in 2014 and shortly after they converted a vacant auto dealership into the same brewery they operate out of today. LRB spans 11,000 square feet and houses a full menu filled with house-smoked bacon, crisp salads and decadent sandwiches. They make everything they can from scratch, in-house, and also offer house-made root beer.
What to drink: There are so many beers to choose from; check out their year-round list and find what tickles your fancy. Due to my baby bump – I went for the root beer and it was delicious.
What to eat: The Southern Poutine ($8.75) is the perfect blend of smoky-sweet and the crispy fries hold up to the sauce perfectly.
Hard Cider Pick: Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill
1860 Black Highway, York (approx. 18 miles from downtown Rock Hill & worth the drive)
Why they’re awesome: This family-owned orchard is the home of the very first hard cidery in South Carolina. They offer pick-your-own apples, hard cider tasting, yoga in the orchard, and much more. Make sure to check their events page to stay in the know.
What to drink: Their goal is to offer at least six ciders at any given time, but sometimes they will have seven or eight for your tasting pleasure. Bottles of their delicious ciders are available all throughout North and South Carolina in addition to their tasting bar on the property.
What to eat: Fresh & Hot Apple Cider Donuts. Starting the last week of August each year, these perfectly cooked donuts are melt-in-your-mouth fantastic. Please check with Windy Hill directly for hours of operation and pricing.
If you’re looking for a whole day trip (or weekend getaway), check out my 2-day culinary trip through The Olde English District of South Carolina on my blog (which includes more details about the establishments listed above). If you want to follow along with my day-to-day travels, I’d love to connect on Instagram, @sliceofjess (I post on there daily).
Where are some of your favorite stops in Rock Hill? Please share in the comments below, as I simply cannot wait to return and would love to visit some of your recommendations!