When you walk down a city street and on a side-glance notice a restaurant with streams of people waiting outside the doors, it grabs your attention quickly. Tupelo Honey Café, a new eatery that opened in central downtown Greenville, SC, does just that nearly every day at both lunch and dinner time.
As I walked in the door, the first thing I noticed was the unique décor that gave the inside a “flair” that most restaurants lack. It gave it a home-like feel, like you were about to sit around the family table for dinner. There were many natural colors like shades of brown, green, tan, and yellow. The decorations also made it relate to Greenville, with pictures of the bridge and other land surrounding the downtown area on the walls. The host and hostess were very kind and promptly welcomed me to the restaurant when I came in the door.
Since I was with only one other person on my visit, we were seated immediately, although I have heard that the wait can hit a height of two hours for a table. Within three minutes of being seated, our waitress came and introduced herself and took our drink orders. Everything was prompt and correct.
One of the staples of the Tupelo Honey Café dining experience is their complimentary, scratch-made, fluffy biscuits served with homemade blueberry jam. The biscuits are also served with a bottle of their own honey, which turned out to be some of the best I have ever tasted. I have to say that the biscuits were delicious. Layer after layer of the soft bread seemed to melt in my mouth and was full of rich buttery goodness. It was even better when the blueberry jam was spread across the top, which gave the biscuit a sweet and salty combination.
After enjoying the biscuit, I got a good look at the menu. They offer a wide variety of appetizer and meal choices, with soups, salads, sandwiches, entrées, and breakfast options. Some of the main appetizers that they offer include the Colossal Sea Scallops with Fresh Mango Relish, Tupelo House Salad, and the Fried Green Tomatoes. They also have a collection of unique sandwich options like the Grateful Dead Black Bean Burger, the Southern Fried Chicken BLT, and the Shrimp Tacos, which range from seven to twelve dollars in price. The breakfast menu is scrumptious with options like Sweet Potato Pancakes, Eggs Betty, and Grandma’s Maple Granola, and was slightly cheaper than the sandwiches.
However, the most popular option, especially for dinner, is from the ‘Best Entrees Around’ menu. On this menu, they have incredibly creative dishes that bring out a multitude of flavors in a single bite. Most of the entrees range from ten to twenty-five dollars in price. Some of the more famous dishes include the Steak Au Poivre, Heart of Ribeye with Bordelaise, and the Nutty Fried Chicken. On my visit, I decided to try an entrée called ‘Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf’. According to tupelohoneycafe.com, they describe this dish as, “Your Mama never had our local hormone-free, grass-fed beef to make her loaf. But we do. We blend the beef with a little bacon, bake to perfection and top it with our rosemary tomato shallot gravy.” To me, the entrée lives up to their prediction. It came out with a side of their scratch-made macaroni and cheese, a personal favorite of mine, and fresh asparagus to top it off. The combination of the meatloaf with a cheesy side really gave the dish a robust flavor. The asparagus added a little color to the plate, giving it a perfect balance of meat, pasta, and vegetable.
The main entrée was brought out to me in a generally small amount of time from the moment I finished the biscuit. It was nice to see that they practice fast service; too many times I have seen people walk away from a perfectly delicious restaurant solely due to poor service. Every part of the meal was enjoyable, and the check was brought out at a reasonable time. After we paid and finished our meal, I wanted to check one more thing, because sometimes it is one of the most important aspects: the bathroom. When I walked in, I was pleasantly surprised to smell a fresh scent, see clean stalls and sinks, and the paper towels were well stocked. On the way out of the door to the restaurant, I received a yummy chocolate mint. Overall, Tupelo Honey proved to be a very well rounded restaurant and positive experience.