Even though chicken salad is a staple in many cafes and restaurants, there are no two recipes alike. Each establishment has a particular culinary bent and Higher Grounds is no exception.
It packs in the flavor with a variation that includes just a dash of curry to its all-white meat, light mayonnaise and dried cranberries. Chicken salad can be ordered on a sandwich, or taken home in small or large containers. Other sandwiches available at this coffee shop are made using Boar’s Head meats and artisanal breads.
Hearty soups include creamy potato or chili with beans. There is fresh fruit to eat in or carry out, as well as snack packs for quick-grab lunches or pick-me-ups: veggies and hummus, pretzels and hummus, parfaits, granola, fruit salads and more. Muffins and cookies, as well as homemade pita chips and bagels with cream cheese, work as an energy boost any time of day.
Plus, there are all kinds of coffee drinks, cold and hot, as well as dozens of all-fruit and yogurt or ice cream smoothies and ice cream milkshakes. For example, a few popular smoothies are bananas Foster – with banana, spiced brown sugar and caramel – or Pango Monkey – with banana, mango, and peach. Some milkshakes appeal especially for the holidays, such as peppermint mocha or gingersnap white mocha.
One special coffee drink is the Winter Warm Up with frosted mint, Irish cream, and white chocolate. Coffee is roasted in Nashville, Tennessee, and fresh bags of roasted beans are available weekly. Power blends such as pure protein and muscle builders can be added to smoothies.
Occasionally, there are specials; during the recent Veterans Day Parade, each customer received a free apple with purchase.
Who owns Higher Grounds?
First Baptist Church of Columbia, a 200-plus-year-old church adjacent to where the cafe is located.
What does the place look like?
It’s a welcoming setting of modern, sleek bistro tables and bar chairs as well as upholstered chairs situated in conversation settings, providing an opportunity for patrons to enjoy everything from a lengthy breakfast or lunch to a quick snack to study time or small meetings. The décor is comfortable: walls are filled with paintings, prints and signage, all for sale.
There is a counter at which to order, a glass-door refrigerator case with prepared items and snack displays.
Throughout the store are gift items, including jewelry, decorative holiday accents, and scarves. One half of the space is devoted to inspirational and faith-themed books.
Who eats here?
Members and attendees of First Baptist, college students, home-schooling parents and their children, and those living and working in downtown Columbia are the primary customers.
Higher Grounds Books & Beans
WHERE: 1410 Sumter St., Columbia
WHEN: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday; 8 a.m.-9:15 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. Sunday. Closed Saturday.
COST: Under $10