Gourmet market and cafe headed to Main Street

9 new businesses and restaurants coming to Columbia

Locals and tourists will have several new places to shop, dine and stay. Here are nine businesses opening soon in Columbia, S.C.
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Locals and tourists will have several new places to shop, dine and stay. Here are nine businesses opening soon in Columbia, S.C.

Main Street is getting what many downtown boosters have advocated for years — a market.

A developer is planning a gourmet market and cafe called Market on Main in the former Zoe’s Kitchen location in the Meridian Building and on the adjacent former site of the House of Fabrics.

“We love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow,” a post on the market’s Facebook page said.

“We can’t wait to deliver this gourmet & specialty market for Main Street Cola late this fall!” it said. “We will provide urban provisions for those living nearby, a cool cocktail program plus an outdoor venue, and an exceptional gourmet kitchen with some ethnic flare.”

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Developer Josh Willoughby of Willoughby Farms & Foods said in a letter to Meridian tenants that the market will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in a “large open gourmet kitchen featuring seasonal cuisine, beautiful and lively bar, specialty retail market (and) large covered outdoor patio.”

It said the chef will be Howard Stephens, formerly with Village Gourmet Cafe and the Oak Table.

It hopes to open late this fall, with hours from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and extended hours Thursday through Saturday. The market will be closed on Sunday.


Willoughby demolished the House of Fabrics building at 1312 Main Street adjacent to the Meridian Building in June to make way for the market.

Matt Kennell, president and CEO of Center City Partnership, confirmed that the project is a go. He said the market and cafe would also have outdoor rental event space.

“It brings a really well-thought-out bodega,” he said. “It provides another fresh food option for Main street residents, workers and students. There are about 1,000 students in the Hub down the street.”

Kennell added the market will have outdoor plaza — “a beautiful place to eat” — that would also be available for special events.

“The outdoor space will make it stand out,” he said. “It will rival (the Columbia Museum of Art’s) Boyd Plaza as the best outdoor space on Main Street.”

The market is being built by Mashburn Construction Company

Jeff Wilkinson has worked for The State for both too long and not long enough. He’s covered politics, city government, history, business, the military, marijuana and the Iraq War. Jeff knows the weird, wonderful and untold secrets of South Carolina. Buy him a shot and he’ll tell you all about them.