When restaurateur Carl Sobocinski and singer-songwriter Edwin McCain founded the Euphoria food and music festival in Greenville back in 2006, the aim was to showcase a growing culinary scene—and a burgeoning downtown—that at the time felt like insiders’ secrets. Not so much anymore: This year’s euphoria (September 22-25, 2016) features a meal with Michelin-starred chef Curtis Duffy (Grace, Chicago), classes with noted pit-masters, brewmasters, and sommeliers, plus concerts and a 30-mile bike ride led by 17-time Tour De France cyclist George Hincapie, culminating with lunch at elegant Restaurant 17, overlooking the mountains.
Festival atmosphere aside, downtown Greenville’s offerings continue to grow. On the culinary side, an outpost of Charleston-based accessible-gourmet chain Caviar & Bananas (1 N. Lauren St.; 864-235-0404; caviarandbananas.com) and beloved Asheville brunch spot Biscuit Head (823 S. Church St., Ste C; 864-248-0371; biscuitheads.com) have recently opened to acclaim, while much-anticipated 2016 arrivals include and outpost of Husk, from James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock, and Italian-accented Jianna, with an open pasta rolling station and raw bar, helmed by noted chef Michael Kramer, who currently works with nearby spots The Lazy Goat and Table 301. All these eateries are dotted around a picturesque downtown that includes green spaces like lush Falls Park and the 21-mile Swamp Rabbit multiuse trail, both set along the Reedy River. Further adding to the scenery, the Arts in Public Places program has placed over 70 works throughout the city, including Dale Chihuly’s “Rose Crystal Tower,” located at one end of the park. Art buffs should also head to the Greenville County Museum of Art (420 College St.; 864-271-7570; gcma.org) home to the world’s largest collection of Andrew Wyeth watercolors.
With the downtown now buzzing, developers have turned their eyes two miles away to The Village of West Greenville, a once-forgotten textile mill village (and childhood home of Shoeless Joe Jackson) that, thanks to a master plan started in 2014, is now emerging as the city’s creative enclave. The pedestrian-friendly area currently features over 30 unique restaurants, galleries, and shops, with several more to come this year, including ingredients-driven The Anchorage (586 Perry Ave.; 803-445-9198; theanchoragerestaurant.com) and fast-casual spot GB&D (1269 Pendleton St.; 864-230-9455; eatgbnd.com), short for “Golden Brown and Delicious.” The Greenville Center for the Creative Arts (25 Draper St., Ste. A; 864-735-3948; artcentergreenville.org), which recently celebrated one year in the Village, hosts monthly First Friday open studio events and weekly art classes in a range of mediums, while The Mill Village Market (8 Lois Ave.; 864-214-6709; millvillagefarms.org) serves as a hub for locally grown produce stands and community workshops.