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Take yourself on a Columbia culinary adventure

With new and exciting restaurants opening regularly and a robust roster of local favorites (including two 2023 James Beard Award finalists), we’re penning a love letter to Cola’s food and bev scene.

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Bird's-eye view of food spread on a wooden table, with steak and fries at the center

If this food spread at Terra has your mouth watering, same.

Photo by City Social Co.

Last month, we presented readers with a challenge: to enjoy our city’s outdoors like you were on vacation. Now, we want to revisit that challenge, with a tasty twist. Columbia not only boasts plenty of avenues for outdoor adventures, but it’s also full of unique, diverse, and downright delicious options among our local food and bev scene.

From the Vista to Devine St. to Decker Blvd., we’re home to several distinct food districts, and we can also now claim a handful of James Beard Award finalists. In case you missed it, Aaron Hoskins, Sarah Simmons, and Elie Yigo of City Grit Hospitality Group (think: SmallSUGAR, CITY GRIT, and Il Focolare Pizzeria) were recently announced as finalists for Outstanding Restauranteur, and Lula Drake made the list of finalists for Outstanding Hospitality. This may be a first in Columbia history, but honestly, we’re not surprised.

While we eagerly wait for the winners to be announced in early June, we look forward to passing some time at these local gems — which brings us back to our challenge:

This weekend, and throughout the spring and summer, let’s plan to dine out like we’re tourists in our own city. Whether that means treating yourself to a progressive meal (think: a drink and an appetizer on the patio at Terra, an entree while you watch the sunset over the city skyline at Black Rooster, and a slice of bourbon cream pie and a nightcap at The War Mouth) or committing to trying one local spot you’ve never been to each week, the challenge awaits.*

Plan your restaurant route

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