Around Columbia, it seems like everyone has his or her own way of making pimento cheese. Some go the traditional cheese-pimento-mayo route, and others dress it up with additional spices or bacon. Sometimes it’s a dip, and sometimes it’s slathered atop a burger patty.
When it comes to one of the South’s most beloved food icons, we don’t discriminate. But we did want to taste test the wide variety of pimento cheese offerings around town. And boy, did we.
No Name Deli – Pimento cheese sandwich
No Name’s sandwich has a generous helping of pimento cheese stuffed between two slices of plain bread. The mayo-based cheese is gloopy and flavorful with a kick of spiciness. Overall it’s filling and messy. Eat with two hands, and keep napkins nearby.
▪ Get it: 2042 Marion St.
Di Prato’s – Pimento cheese with pita chips
Di Pratos has a reputation for having one of the best – if not the best – pimento cheese in town. Dianne Light’s restaurant and deli go through about 500 pounds of the stuff per week.
The pimento cheese is dense and chunky with a blend of five cheeses, but what really makes it are the pita chips it’s served with. Crunchy and salty on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside, they are the real MVP.
▪ Get it: 342 Pickens St.
Most Likely To Make You Forget Regular Grilled Cheese Exists
Michael’s Café & Catering – B.Y.O. Grilled Cheese
Spring for the pimento cheese for an extra $1.50. The sandwich is lightly toasted on the outside but not super melted on the inside because the grated cheese is chunky. It’s basically a deluxe Southern upgrade on a normal grilled cheese. You’ll probably never go back to Kraft after trying this.
▪ Get it: 1620 Main St.
Most Likely To Hit The Spot
Rockaway Athletic Club – Pimento cheeseburger
It ain’t fancy, but it sure is good. Rockaway’s signature pimento cheeseburger is a slightly runny, cheesy mess that hits the spot every time.
▪ Get it: 2719 Rosewood Drive
Best Breakfast Option
Jake’s Bar & Grill – Smothered Chicken Biscuit
You can only get it on Sundays, but it’s worth the wait if you can eat pimento cheese for breakfast, right? The smothered chicken biscuit oozes pimento-cheese-infused sausage gravy, which can be sopped up by the fries on the side. The BAE biscuit with pimento cheese is another solid option.
▪ Get it: 2112 Devine St.
Bourbon – Creole pimento cheese
Bourbon’s pimento cheese schmear-y spread has a Tabasco-like heat that lingers after each bite.
▪ Get it: 1214 Main St.
Oak Table – Pimento cheese with crostini
Oak Table’s pimento cheese is super smooth and creamy. It’s served warm and is more like queso than your typical PC dip. The chives and char on top give it a smoky flavor. At $11, it’s a bit higher price point, but worth it.
▪ Get it: 1221 Main St.
Best PC Burger
Pawley’s Front Porch – Caw Caw Creek burger
Dig into the jalapeño pimento cheese, pickled green tomato, applewood-smoked bacon and grilled onions. Or, for a slightly different take, get the Isle of Palms burger that has regular pimento cheese with jalapeño bacon. Note: If you go during peak lunch and dinner hours, be prepared to wait.
▪ Get it: 827 Harden St.
Gourmet Shop – Make Your Own Sandwich
You gotta love the pimento cheese here. Order it off the “Make Your Own Sandwich” menu. We recommend toasted sourdough with lettuce and bacon. The pimento cheese texture is spot-on, with a homemade-esque grated cheese. You also can buy pimento cheese from the deli case by the pound.
▪ Get it: 724 Saluda Ave.
Most Likely To Prevent A Hangover
The Whig – Jalapeño pimento cheese fries
Absolutely smothered in cheese, with a slight kick from the jalapeño, these fries can be a full meal for two people. Great with a beer, or sopping up the beer already in your system.
▪ Get it: 1200 Main St.
Tallulah – Pimento cheese and crackers
The pimento cheese at Tallulah’s has a hint of smoky heat. Ask for extra toasted crackers to even out the cheese-to-bread ratio. Bonus: it’s half price during happy hour.
▪ Get it: 2400 Devine St.