The votes are in.
No matter where you are in Augusta's River Region, and no matter what your palate may be, there is a meal for you to declare the best you've ever tasted. Trust us, we've been there, sitting back after a local meal and convinced that we have never eaten better. Our editors started a list of can't-miss establishments around the region and we asked our Instagram followers to vote for their favorites. Here are the results.
In a city full of barbeque joints, Southbound sets itself apart. Occupying a large space on Augusta's Central Avenue, the restaurant is built around the desire of owners Brian Brittingham and George Claussen to encourage gathering and community. There are a multitude of televisions for watching the latest sporting event or concert, an outdoor area for live music and cornhole, and regular events designed to create a space of camaraderie around their 'que cuisine. Southbound tops it all off with killer food, making for a place that people want to visit again and again. The "Almost Famous" wings, ribs, and chicken are all crowd favorites, and the pulled pork is always popular. Check out the wide range of sauces and customize your barbeque platter to your heart's content.
A collaboration between four friends, whose relationship extends back to high school, Smokeshow is a passion project that puts out serious flavor. Operating from a full-service food truck, the crew sets up at catering gigs, events, and sometimes, wherever they can park and cook--like lakeside during the summer. The menu features pulled pork, chicken, ribs, hash and rice, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, collards, banana pudding, sweet tea, and more. You’ll never know where you might find Smokeshow, so give them a follow on Facebook to see their schedule, which they release weekly.
New Moon Cafe
New Moon Cafe is one of those rare breakfast spots that checks all of the boxes: artsy vibe, great coffee, fantastic food, and a casual atmosphere. In Augusta, New Moon Cafe is nestled in the JB Whites building on Broad Street, a stone’s throw away from The Book Tavern bookshop, and in downtown Aiken, their original location sits comfortably among charming boutiques. Dishing out comfort food featuring fresh and local ingredients, including pastries and bread baked in-house daily, the restaurants are both becoming city staples in their own right. Check out the daily specials for delicious options utilizing seasonal ingredients.
Buona Caffe Artisan Roasted Coffee
Begun as a bootstraps venture by a pair of coffee aficionados, Buona Caffe Artisan Roasted Coffee has come a long way since John and Pat Curry roasted their own beans in a hot air popcorn popper in their home kitchen. In the same spirit of the farm-to-table movement, the Currys have created a place where you can experience the roaster-to-cup experience all under one roof. For each cup of coffee served, freshly roasted beans are ground and placed in a Chemex vessel, where water, heated to an exact specification, is poured over. The whole process takes less than five minutes, and the resulting cup will make you question if you can ever settle for single-serve coffee out of a pod again. Also try lattes flavored with house-made syrups, and look for specials on their social media pages.
Honey from the Rock Cafe
Serving lunch Monday through Friday, Honey from the Rock Cafe is the kind of place that keeps its customers coming back for more, determined to try every one of its expansive offerings. Combination platters are comprised of a meat and either two or three vegetables, or guests can select three or four sides for a vegetable plate. The setup is cafeteria-style, but the quality and taste of the food rivals any upscale restaurant in town. Try the homemade ice cream and made-from-scratch desserts.
Rhinehart’s Oyster Bar
Operating out of two locations - one in Evans, one on Washington Road in Augusta - Rhinehart’s is like a beach bar, relocated inland. With a mission to create a place that was “beyond casual,” owners Craig and Amy have made a name for themselves - and their business - in Augusta’s River Region, offering the promise of a laid-back good time for all who enter the doors of what looks suspiciously like a beachside shack. Fried or grilled, shrimp are most popular, but the fried fish, oysters, jambalaya, crab legs, and tilapia have their own dedicated followings. Rhinehart’s regularly offers food and drink specials to their social media followers, so be sure to look them up online to get the insider connection.
Inspired by a former life spent living in the Southwest and a love of “all things Asian,” Kevin Goldsmith took his interest in the culinary arts and melded these two focuses together, creating something that maybe shouldn’t work, yet absolutely does. Now comprised of six locations, TakoSushi often serves as the obvious choice between indecisive restaurant guests: “do we want Asian food tonight, or are we thinking burritos again?” Here, you can have both: the appetizer menu is split between East and West offerings, but quickly, the novelty of ordering a side of guacamole along with pork potstickers becomes secondary to how amazing the dishes taste. Most impressive is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the sushi: give any one of the creative rolls a whirl and enjoy some of the best sushi to be found in these parts.
Creating one of the coolest corners in Augusta at the cross section of 10th Street and Ellis Street, The Hive is a trendy place where everyone is welcome. The full-service restaurant serves absolutely mind-blowing meals, but the real star of the show here is the bar; featuring 78 taps including an incredible amount of craft beer, seven wines, five house craft cocktails, two sodas, one sake, kombucha, and nitro cold press coffee, there is no better place in town to quench your thirst. Even better, The Hive offers growlers to go of any of its tap offerings, allowing visitors to bring home their favorites.
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