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Shop Around: New options for USC tailgaters Saturday

Jeremey Schumpert  leans down to take a shot during a game of eight ball.  The Loose Cockaboose is one of the places deemed to be a good place to watch football with a cold beverage in hand.
Jeremey Schumpert leans down to take a shot during a game of eight ball. The Loose Cockaboose is one of the places deemed to be a good place to watch football with a cold beverage in hand.

You'll still be able to get a cheeseburger basket amid cheers of "another Carolina first down" at Jaco's or wedge into Bojangle's for some fried chicken and dirty rice.

But some new options have sprouted in recent months around Williams-Brice Stadium alongside an influx of student condos and town homes.

Here's a sampling:

- Tucked away behind Carolina Walk condos on South Stadium Road sits an old warehouse turned into a modern bar and restaurant. The Loose Cockaboose has eight flat-screen TVs for watching the game if you can't score tickets, an outdoor bar with a stage, a sand volleyball pit and a game of cornhole.

The Loose Cockaboose opened a couple of years ago by Kelly Whitlock, a USC graduate who also owns Kelly's in the Vista.

Whitlock serves a full menu of food and variety of alcoholic beverages. She claims to serve "the coldest beer in town" from a 23-degree cooler.

Don't count on parking in her lot on game day, though, because of all the beer trucks.

- Get a fried bologna and egg sandwich or an array of other menu items from Stadium Grill & Bar at 905 Bluff Road, right next door to University House.

The eatery opened four months ago, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, and already has started attracting students living nearby, said owner David Amar.

The restaurant also has a bar (beer and wine only) and three TVs. Amar said he will extend his hours for late games. He normally closes at midnight, but will stay open until 2 a.m. so fans can hopefully celebrate a victory.

- Fans also will get some love at Doc's Barbeque at 1601 Shop Road, which recently added four flat-screen TVs for fans who want to be part of the action but don't have a ticket to the game. An 800-square-foot deck with a bar and 50-inch flat-screen TV will be built next week and open in time for the Mississippi game Thursday night, spokesman Jesse Bullard said.

The barbecue buffet, which opened several years ago, recently expanded its hours to open on weekend nights, added some lighter fare to its menu and started serving beer.

- Sammi's Deli opened in February at 1629 Bluff Road to cater to the area's growing population. The restaurant, which has half a dozen other locations around Columbia, always has been popular for its late-night menu and delivery. So naturally, it will be open for game-day tailgaters craving those gyros, burgers and wings.

Miyo's expanding

Michelle Wang is expanding the reach of her Asian cuisine restaurants.

She recently opened a Miyo's in the Village at Sandhill in Northeast Richland and began construction on a new location on Sunset Boulevard in Lexington. And the Forest Acres eatery soon will double in size.

Wang said she doesn't want to let the down economy dictate her business: "I feel like I'm doing the right thing to stimulate the economy."

Wang hopes to open the Lexington store by the end of the year. The 4,000-square-foot restaurant will seat up to 100 customers and will have a patio for outdoor dining.

On Forest Drive, she is taking over the space next door that was a scrapbooking store to nearly double the size of the restaurant to almost 5,000 square feet.

"It's definitely a risk we're taking in today's economy," she said. But the economy also gives her the opportunity to negotiate better rents, such as with her Forest Drive expansion.

The expansion will add seating space, a new sushi bar and possibly a party room. Renovations should be complete in November, she said.

Wang wants to inspire others in the business community: "I hope I'm sending a positive signal. Let's try to find opportunities through crisis, ... try to be positive."

You're wearing that?

Columbiana Centre at Harbison is holding a mall-wide promotion this weekend with a chance to win a "What Not to Wear" experience. Shoppers can register to win a grand prize shopping trip to New York to meet with the style team of the TLC show. The mall also is offering shoppers a free style guide, some special sales and a chance to win gift cards.