What’s Good Here? Savalis Restaurant and Lounge Downtown

05/21/2014 12:00 AM

05/20/2014 7:37 PM

What’s good here?

Breakfast, lunch, dinner and live entertainment. Savalis opened earlier this spring in the building that housed Mac’s on Main for 15 years – across the street from the Richland County Courthouse. Food is fresh and Southern – but without the unhealthy aspects associated with Southern home cooking and traditional soul food.

Owner Ella Grover says the cooks will not be using fatback or bacon in the recipes, but fresh herbs and seasonings. The breakfast menu offers such staples as a Daily Special for $4.99 with two eggs, grits, a choice of meat and white or wheat toast.

There are also breakfast sandwiches and pancakes offered in the a.m. Lunch choices involve salads, sandwiches, burgers, and plates. There are daily specials as well, such as meatloaf on Mondays, beef stew on Tuesdays, and honey baked chicken on Wednesdays, smothered pork chops on Thursdays, and barbecue ribs on Fridays.

For dinner there are prime rib, salmon, crab cake, fried chicken, shrimp, and scallop selections – among others. Each meal includes a wide selection of sides, including sweet green peas, mashed potatoes, wild, yellow, or white rice and two kinds of cornbread. There is a dessert creation of the day; recently, cheesecake bites were topped with pineapple and a caramel glaze.

What else?

Savalis offers a full bar, as well as weekly entertainment such as jazz, comedy, poetry, and karaoke. Catering is offered, and the downstairs Red Room provides space for private parties. Grover plans other activities for patrons such as a weekly wine, cheese and crackers evening.

How did Savalis get its start?

Grover has been involved in the restaurant industry for 17 years. When she realized the building would be available on Main Street in downtown Columbia, she decided to develop the Savalis concept that combines good food with lively entertainment.

What does the place look like?

An elevated stage dominates the large window of the restaurant, while the dining room is open to a mirrored bar at one end. Spot lighting hangs over some tables. The ceiling is exposed; there are ceiling fans throughout the dining area. The color scheme is black and red set against neutral gold walls. There are various paintings and drawings of jazz musicians. Signed black and white photography of musicians line the stairway to the Red Room downstairs – named for the decorating scheme that focuses on a Gamecock motif.

Who eats here?

Savalis draws different customers different times of the day. However, the target clientele is 25 years and older. A significant percentage of patrons flow from the nearby courthouses: lawyers, politicians, jurors, clerks, etc. Others are residents of downtown, or are enjoying the resurgence of Main Street with its increasing number of shops, restaurants and entertainment.

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