Groucho's is a Southern institution, with over 30 locations across North Carolina and South Carolina. The inventive sandwiches and signature sweet tea keep patrons returning again and again. For the ultimate Groucho's experience, order one of the famous "dippers," served warm on a sub roll, piled high with meat and cheese, and accompanied by your choice of dipping sauce (we recommend the Formula 45). If a regular dipper is too large, don't overlook the junior versions on the menu. And if that's not calling your name, don't worry, you're sure to find something you like among the other many specialty sandwiches and salads on offer.
Recommended for Lunch because: You can't go wrong with Groucho's for lunch. There's something for everyone on the menu, and the service always friendly. It's a real neighborhood joint.
Maggie's expert tip: Service can be slow during the lunch rush. If you're going to be pressed for time, arrive early or consider ordering your food to go.
With several Upstate locations to choose from, Tropical Grille is a beloved local favorite. Serving health-conscious Cuban cuisine, the food here is simple and the vibe is relaxed. On the menu, you'll find everything from various "chops" – chicken, veggies or pork served over rice with your choice of sauce – to wraps, sandwiches and salads. Sauce choices include classics like hot sauce, sweet and sour, and salsa, as well as more inventive options like guava BBQ and garlic cilantro. A number of fresh sides are available to accompany your meal.
This West End café has a reputation as a spot for ladies who lunch, but it's a great destination for anyone who likes good food in a relaxing setting. Lunch offerings include a chicken salad sandwich, crab cake sandwich and a baked brie plate, as well as a variety of other sandwiches and salads. Fruit plates are popular and the menu variety will please any appetite. Best of all, their cakes and other sweets are sure to knock your socks off. More specifically, patrons travel far and wide for their sweet potato cake.
Recommended for Lunch because: Brick Street Cafe is a Southern favorite, with a relaxed vibe, tasty fare and desserts to die for.
Maggie's expert tip: The ambiance here is relaxed, so if you're looking for a quick lunch, be advised that the service here can be slow.
Willy Taco began making a name for themselves when they opened their doors in Spartanburg in 2013. It didn't take long for Greenville to catch on, and Willy Taco responded by converting the old Feed & Seed building on Laurens Road into their second outpost. Committed to fresh food and zero waste, this Mexican eatery just delivers. From the creative margarita menu to the generously-portioned tacos, you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't give this place a try. For instance, where else are you going to find a Guns N' Rosemary margarita (with blackberry-rosemary syrup, house lemonade and a "gunpowder" rim)?
Recommended for Lunch because: Willy Taco offers an incredibly creative menu, full of fresh and flavorful food. And it doesn't hurt that the beverage menu makes for a great excuse to day drink.
Maggie's expert tip: Try the lunch special, two tacos served with black beans and rice, for $9.50 if you're extra hungry.
Bill and Judy Balsizer are the driving force and the two chefs behind this popular downtown deli, which is consistently packed with folks intent on indulging in the fresh, delicious fare. Known for gourmet sandwiches, soups, and entree salads, Two Chefs offers temptations like the Stone Ave Burger, grilled Italian turkey sandwich and Asian chicken salad. You'll also discover fantastic baked goods, meals to go, wines, and gift baskets. There's a second store, Two Chefs Deli, at 8590 Pelham Road.
Recommended for Lunch because: Two Chefs is committed to serving delicious deli fare using fresh, local ingredients. And the market component of this eatery makes it a must-try.
Maggie's expert tip: If you're gluten-sensitive, you'll be glad to know that Two Chefs offers organic, gluten-free options.
Incredibly popular for lunch, the Pita House is always crowded. Still, the service is fast and the patrons are never rude. Plus, the Mediterranean food is consistently fantastic. Garlicky hummus, fresh-baked pita bread, stuffed grape leaves and hot falafel will appease your appetite for something unusual. When you place your order at the counter, keep an eye out for a table. Turnover is quick, but seats are at a premium. The best deals are plates, which come with a sampling of several foods. Share with some friends, and don't forget the baklava. Be sure to bring cash; they don't accept cards.
Recommended for Lunch because: Pita House offers a little something different for lunch, with its tasty Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Not to mention, it's a Greenville staple.
Maggie's expert tip: Lunchtime can be very crowded, with the line often going out the door. Go early or late if you don't want to wait.
Sully's Steamers in downtown Greenville has a monopoly on the steamed bagel sandwich, and that's okay because they have perfected it. With a creative menu, chock-full of local references and intriguing options, this is a place you'll want to visit again and again. It's where locals gather for lunch, and it's where we take our out-of-town visitors, because a Sully's sandwich is an experience. You'll find simple steamers like the Tiger Paw, with cream cheese and cinnamon sugar, as well as specialty sandwiches like the ever-popular Griswold, with turkey, bacon, BBQ, pepper jack, provolone, lettuce and a parm peppercorn sauce. Beware: these sandwiches can be messy to eat, but you won't even care.
Recommended for Lunch because: Sully's steamed bagel sandwiches are inventive and appetizing, perhaps even addictive. Once you've tried one, you can't help but return.
Maggie's expert tip: If you're crunched for time and want to avoid the lunch rush, order online and pick up your order instead. It will probably be ready by the time you get there.
ASADA began as a food truck, affectionately nicknamed Lola, before moving into a brick-and-mortar location. Lola still makes her rounds, but it's nice to know you can enter the cozy, counter-service space on Wade Hampton Blvd. Serving Mission-style dishes, ASADA offers some of the best and most innovative Latin American cuisine in Greenville. You'll find tacos, nachos, quesadillas and burritos (which are humongous) – all with your choice of protein – in addition to a long list of sides and vegetarian alternatives. Eat al fresco on the small porch out front, or indoors where you can admire paintings by local artists (which are also for sale).
Recommended for Lunch because: ASADA offers high-quality food in incredibly generous portions, and at very reasonable prices. It's a great deal for lunch and you won't find anything else like it in Greenville.
Maggie's expert tip: It can be easy to miss ASADA as you're driving. Look for the bright blue IHOP next door as a landmark for where to turn into the parking lot.
Nestled along Main Street, this quaint cottage dates from the 1890s. Once a private residence, its position on the edge of Falls Park offers lovely views of the Reedy River. The historic building has an adjacent patio which is one of the city's most popular dining spots and provides a relaxed atmosphere for a leisurely lunch or weekend brunch. On the menu, you'll find Southern-inspired items like Mary's Meatloaf Sandwich (our favorite), hot chicken salad or a crabcake BLT. The staff here are friendly and helpful, making Mary's a shining example of Southern hospitality.
Recommended for Lunch because: The Southern sandwiches and specials on offer at Mary's combined with the charming ambiance, make this restaurant a top pick for lunch.
Maggie's expert tip: Mary's has an alternate location in Simpsonville, open for lunch Monday through Friday, if downtown proves to be too far of a trek.