What’s good here?
Familiar fare with a twist is the menu focus for 2108 State St. Bar and Grill. The collard egg rolls feature mango mustard. The hush puppies are stuffed with crayfish and crab on the Munchies section of the menu.
There are wings, salads, chicken bites, and a variety of tacos, such as ones with grilled Portobello mushrooms and avocado. Sandwiches include a Po’ Boy du Jour, the Yardbird with fried, grilled, or blackened chicken. There is a selection of flame-grilled, no hormone beef burgers, including the 2108 Burger with “our famous” bleu pimento cheese, bacon and fried green tomatoes.
Even sides are unique: in-house waffle cut fries, ginger jicama slaw, Cuban potato salad, chips with pico de gallo, and fried green tomato wedges. Lunch and dinner specials are the creations of chef and owner Geoff Sandifer, who also developed the regular menus.
A Saturday brunch features Fireball Pancakes with cinnamon and whiskey maple syrup, Spinach & Tomato Frittata, Steak and Eggs, and Plate of the State, which has two sausage patties, three bacon strips, a slice of frittata, hashbrowns, and bleu pimento cheese grits. The Grandpa Burger has a half pound of fresh ground beef topped with sharp cheddar, applewood bacon and a fried egg. There is a full bar, with happy hour running from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Trivia night is on Tuesdays at 8 p.m.; karaoke is every Wednesday night, and occasionally there is live entertainment. Plus, 2108 offers a special Bloody Mary drink, and a $10 bottomless Mimosa specials.
A.C. Flora graduate Sandifer attended Johnson and Wales culinary school and USC and helped kick start several upscale restaurants in the Columbia area. Then he worked as the Governor’s Mansion chef during the second half of Mark Sanford’s administration.
Last year, he decided to open the laid-back “neighborhood kind of restaurant” where patrons could get a “really good burger” and just relax. “I’ve always been involved in very high-end food presentation, so I just wanted to have something that’s more low key, but where the food is still very fresh and unique. We have some crazy concoctions here, but everything – from the breading to the sauces – is made from scratch,” says Sandifer.
On the side, he is able to work his culinary magic through select catering opportunities. The award-winning chef will sit down with an engaged couple, for example, and learn likes and dislikes, shared special meals, theme ideas, etc., to develop a custom menu for a special party and/or wedding reception. He has also catered a variety of other events, but admits that he is choosy. “My motto is that life is too short not to have fun and enjoy doing it.” His wife, Paula, works with him. The couple has two children, 4 and 3.
In quaint Cayce, which once thrived as a railroad town, there are rows of historic buildings on State Street. Sandifer remembers his father bringing him to Cayce as a boy to watch the trains. The site of 2108 was previously the Cayce Bait and Tackle. On the side of the building is a full size mural by McClellan Douglas that includes a depiction of the infamous lizard man, which is an urban legend that involves supposed sightings of a human/lizard creature.
Inside the restaurant, which seats about 100 total, there are several paintings by Douglas of Columbia cityscapes and gamecock images. There are also paintings by Ernest Lee. The color scheme is garnet and black.
Employees from nearby SCANA and Amazon are lunch regulars at 2108, as are those employed by the quarry and other Cayce businesses. Former employees of the Cayce Bait and Tackle are regulars as well. Evenings draw friends and family from Cayce and Columbia; game weekends pull in crowds to watch games together on televisions sets in the dining areas and at the spacious bar.