Three new places to dine have opened in the Columbia area in recent months, some of which opened more quietly than others.
Vacchio’s Greek & Italian Bistro & Lounge
1505 Charleston Highway, Suites A-5 through A-7, West Columbia
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Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday-Saturday; noon to 10 p.m. Sunday
Last fall, Guido and Peggy Vacchio quietly opened Vacchio’s Greek & Italian Bistro & Lounge in West Columbia. The couple serves authentic, house-made Greek and Mediterranean food such as spanakopita, calzones, pizzas, baklava and more, all from recipes created by the Vacchios themselves. The restaurant previously was located in Gaston and known as Vacchio’s Pizzeria Restaurant.
1840 Hampton St.
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday
A strictly breakfast and lunch place with a dedicated 1950s theme, Hampton’s Diner serves handcrafted burgers, chicken and waffles and a fish sandwich made with blackened tilapia topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions, tomato, provolone and a basil pesto mayonnaise on a toasted hoagie roll. For breakfast (which is served all day), check out the grit smorgasbord — a heaping bowl of stone-ground grits with your choice of toppings. Daily lunch specials include tummy pleasers such as meatloaf and chicken pot pie.
Richland Library, 1431 Assembly St.
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Chef Sarah Simmons’ made her much-anticipated re-debut in the Columbia dining scene when The Cafe opened inside Richland Library last month. Located on the first floor of the library near the Hampton Street entrance, The Cafe features some Simmons favorites including flatbreads, salads and paninis such as The Italian — complete with salami, ham, bologna, provolone and a pepperoncini aioli.