Forest Acres is a city apart from — and surrounded by — Columbia .
Mainly a residential community, most of the businesses in Forest Acres can be found along Forest Drive, Beltline Boulevard and Trenholm Road — with Trenholm Plaza being the main shopping destination. So, where should one go for a meal or a snack after an afternoon of shopping or a morning of Little League or on the tennis courts at Trenholm Park?
Here are some suggestions for dining in Forest Acres:
Early risers can grab a full breakfast at Eggs Up Grill in the Lowe's Foods shopping center on Forest Drive, The Original Pancake House in Trenholm Plaza or Lizard's Thicket at 3147 Forest Drive. For grab-and-go, try Breugger's Bagels at 4601 Forest Drive.
Lunch? Well, there are a few original options here ... Linda's Deli at The Other Store at the corner of Bethel Church and Atascadero, near Trenholm Park, is a neighborhood favorite. Expect soups made fresh daily and sandwiches and salads made to order. The wait will be worth it.
Also try The Happy Cafe at 4525 Forest Drive. This spot started as a hangout inside Happy Bookseller and remained in business — and expanded operations — after the independent bookstore closed. Wednesday is tomato pie day, and you can get pulled barbecue chicken on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There's also a grab-and-go selection of heat-and-serve casseroles and dishes.
Dinner and drinks? Got you covered. Settle in on the patio at Tazza Kitchen in Trenholm Plaza for some upscale/casual bites such as cast-iron goat cheese (yummy, melted cheese with marinara sauce and fresh bread served bubbling in a mini cast-iron skillet) or smoked pork nachos. You can go light or heavy on the meal and pair your food with some good wine or a craft cocktail.
Go local with Pasta Fresca at 4722 Forest Drive. The pasta and sauces are made from scratch, and the restaurant features daily specials and live jazz on Tuesdays.
Want to step up your game? We're talking charcuterie boards and finer wines here when it comes to Tombo Grille and Rosso Trattoria Italia.
Tombo has been around, at 4517 Forest Drive, since 2002 and features a diverse selection of small plates (fried chicken livers with grits, anyone — or lobster pot pie?) and nightly specials.
Rosso, in Trenholm Plaza, highlights local, seasonal produce and handmade pastas prepared over a wood-fired grill or in a wood-burning oven. The prosciutto con fichi pizza (thin crust with prosciutto, mozzarella, goat cheese, fig puree, arugula and lemon vinaigrette) is a local favorite.
You say you just want pizza? There are about a half dozen pizza places on Forest Drive between I-77 and the Forest Acres city limits near Boyer Drive. May we suggest — because we like different pies from the different locations — Schiano's at 4839 Forest Drive (for the pepperoni lover's pie), Village Idiot at 4517 Forest Drive (for the Jason featuring pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions and extra cheese), or The Pizza Joint at 3246 Forest Drive (for the Tree Hugger with artichokes, black olives, green peppers, mushrooms, onion, spinach and tomatoes).