Going on a business trip with my husband, I ignored the cities with business meetings attached to them—Greenville and Columbia. I knew I’d be car-less while he was working and was waiting for the weekend in Charleston.
Then we drove to Historic Downtown Greenville for dinner.
Mid-March, the trees in bud, some in brisk colors of mint green or cherry blossom pink. Main Street not only has wide sidewalks, it is a boulevard with clear street signage and banners on the corners letting you know what restaurants or attractions are located on the side streets.
There is artwork in every block—from a sculpture of Joel Roberts Poinsett (who brought Poinsettias to us from Mexico) to Il Porcellino a gift from the Young Friends of Florence, Italy.
Select squares of the sidewalk have quotes from Anonymous to William Hazlitt.
Falls Park on the Reedy River leads you on a pleasant stroll along the river. Find it at South Main Street and Falls Park Drive. Check out the beautifully landscaped overlooks and paths. Electing to walk the Liberty Bridge is a great way to get a unique view of the Falls. With a length of 345 feet, you have an extended time get some great snaps. Read about the work by the Carolina Foothills Garden Club and the City of Greenville to reclaim and develop this park—now twelve years old.
After your park-walk, continue meandering Main Street. Several blocks long, this section of town boasts restaurants of every cuisine imaginable with very few empty storefronts. Our two evenings, we elected to dine at The Cazbah and Ristorante Bergamo.
The Cazbah, with a Tapas menu, also has an extensive wine list for being a 10-table (more seating upstairs) restaurant. The two server/bartenders were hardworking and friendly, recommending wine and helping us with menu choices. We started with a calamari appetizer and salads. I had Seared Scallops, Alex chose Free Range Roasted Chicken—I could have devoured the mashed potatoes. The calamari was tender, not chewy and although the marinara was bland, the other sauce was quite tasty.
My Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad contained more spinach than I could possibly eat, a tangy with slight spice dressing, and thinly sliced mushrooms. I would have preferred the ball of goat cheese un-fried, but it was very lightly done. Alex’s Hip Hop Salad was mixed greens with crumbled blue cheese and house vinaigrette. We would have loved to try a couple of the scrumptiously described desserts, but were too full.
Ristorante Bergamo has an inviting decor and welcoming staff. Scott was our server and was a delight to interact with. Alex had an Insulata Mista Stagione—the sun dried tomato made this dish. I had a Caesar Salad, which can sometimes be too plain or too lemony for me. Not so with this special salad. My main course was the Linguine al Pomodoro & Basilico. I’m not a fan of red sauce except for Pomodoro and this one did not disappoint. Alex’s Pappardelle con Porcini was as excellent—the pasta was as light as we’ve experienced in Italy.
Warm kindness abounds in Greenville—from our dining experiences to popping into CVS for a bottle of water. Smiles are huge and eye contact the norm. And if you’re very lucky, when you’re strolling Main Street while debating the multitude of dining choices, maybe you’ll be like us and receive an impromptu a cappella serenade from a chap hanging out with his friends.