Big salads with hearty ingredients such as grilled chicken, crispy fried onions, and Mandarin oranges in the Sesame Oriental salad, or deli-sliced ham, turkey, and roast beef – plus bacon – in the Ultimate chef salad.
A few shareable appetizers are Blue Mountain Raw fries or the Macho Nacho.
Vella’s is also known for its steaks, ribs, burgers and sandwiches. House specials are seafood or chicken dinners including smothered chicken: a grilled chicken breast topped with peppers, onions, and mushrooms and melted Provolone cheese.
There are also weekly specials, including Monday’s all-you-can-eat crab legs and Tuesday’s 50-cent wings. There are sides to choose from, a soup of the day and wine and beer selections.
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How did Vella’s get its start?
Vella’s – in a small, nondescript shopping center along busy Knox Abbott Drive – has become an iconic establishment in the Cayce area dating back at least 50-plus years.
Generations of Columbia-area residents have been calling Vella’s their hangout spot for many years.
What does the place look like?
This is a sports bar. There are televisions in all areas and a massive, full-wall painted mural of all types of sports with likenesses of several sports’ stars, including the late Muhammad Ali. Plus, items such as football helmets, USC paraphernalia and golf clubs serve as decorations.
Maximum seating is 156; there are private booths, tables and seating around the bar.
Who eats here?
Everyone from blue- to white-collar, USC students – as it is not too far up Knox Abbott from campus – and groups of family and friends.
When games are in play on the televisions, the place is bustling with cheers and conversations.
Deena C. Bouknight, Special to Go Columbia
Vella’s Restaurant and Tavern
WHERE: 829 Knox Abbott Drive, Cayce
WHEN: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays. Closed Sundays.
COST: $7.99 to $15.99