With just the right amount of nip in the air, now is the perfect time to walk along one of Columbia’s most happening thoroughfares: Gervais Street.
Beginning by the railway tracks, leisurely work your way up Gervais by starting out at one of the street’s newest eateries, smallSUGAR. Named after a pumpkin traditionally used for pies and canning, this all-day cafe’s plates are rooted in fresh and local produce. Co-owner and chef Sarah Simmons drives to Rogers Vegetable Farm in Sumter and Freshly Grown Farm in Columbia weekly to collect ingredients that go into the shop’s gluten free, dairy free, and vegan offerings.
Where to find it: 709 Gervais St. 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Sunday.
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Take all that energy produced by protein-rich dishes and sugary goodness and target it at Craft Axe Throwing. It’s the newest trend that will be making its mark on the Vista this December. Think of darts, but with axes, and much larger targets. The closer your hatchet gets to the bull’s-eye, the more points you win. Customers will also be able to reserve a target online. For an hour of axe throwing, you’ll pay $20, making this activity not only a game that anyone can play, but a fun experience that almost anyone can afford.
Where to find it: 700 Gervais St.
Being a pseudo-lumberjack can be tough work. After an hour of target practice you may need to refuel. For that, head to Menkoi Ramen House. For those not in the Ramen know, this delicious comfort food can be broken down into three simple components: noodles, soup, and toppings. On Gervais, Menkoi’s large portions range from chicken soup base to soy sauce base with pork or vegetables, and even salt based — all for under $10. It’s the best bang for your buck this side of Central Columbia.
Where to find it: 1004 Gervais St. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-10:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-2:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
And speaking of sides, after you’ve warmed up with Ramen, cross to the other side of the street for some seriously good cocktails at 929 Kitchen and Bar. This Korean restaurant, known for its lunch specials and modern take on Asian classics, is bringing those same powerful flavors to their drinks. Melt away the early December chill with drinks like War of Roses and Busan Sunburn. Or try the Leviathan, which is a delicious Mezcal concoction with violet liquor and lemon that turns this craft cocktail a pleasant shade of blue. It’s served in a stemmed gobbler glass and garnished with a red Swedish fish. It is a beautiful fishbowl of a drink that would motivate anyone to just keep swimming, preferably up and down Gervais.
Where to find it: 929 Gervais St. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5 p.m.-12 a.m. Monday-Saturday; 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.