Nestled in a sweet spot halfway between New York and Florida is Florence, South Carolina. This charming southern town was once known for being at the intersection of three railways and is currently at the intersection of Interstates 20 and 95.
With a population approaching 40,000 and a newly revitalized downtown, this All-American city lives up to its motto “Full Life Full Forward”. Best appreciated attractions include the Florence County Museum, Florence Veterans Park, and Pee Dee State Farmer’s Market. Other enjoyable spots are Francis Marion University and Florence National Cemetery.
Stock car fans like Florence Motor Speedway, while NASCAR fans prefer to drive ten miles to Darlington for the famous Southern 500. In addition to Florence Veterans Park, other nice parks within the city limits include Jeffries Creek, Lucas, Maple, and Timrod.
Most travelers love learning about local food cultures and traditions. In Florence, that would be the South Carolina Pecan Trail. Many Florence SC restaurants and specialty stores throughout Florence are proud to highlight the pecan in a variety of unique beverages and foods. Here are my top nine recommended Florence eateries.
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Visiting other destinations in South Carolina? Check out our other delicious guides:
The 9 Best Florence SC Restaurants
160 S Dargan Street // (843) 206-4508
Every Tuesday through Saturday until 7 pm, you will find excellent coffee in an environment that is cozy and casual. Choose a barstool, a stylish silver straight-back chair, or a comfy black wing chair.
What else will you find at Lula’s downtown location? Friendly staff and customers, brick walls, unique art. Look up because some of that art is even on the ceiling. The expert baristas can explain all options, including sugar-free.
Let’s not forget that Lula’s also has frappes, smoothies, bagels, croissants, and more. It is the perfect spot for enjoying the aroma right before you walk over to Andrew H. Griffin Plaza to look at both the fountain and the Lorax.
1500 2nd Loop Road // (843) 799-5579
Seafood and beach life influenced owner Kyle Hardee through his grandfather in a major way. He is more than happy to share great stories of all the above when you visit Tubbs. In fact, he is one of the most likable and most entertaining restaurant owners you could ever hope to meet.
Tubb’s Shrimp & Fish Co. is housed in an old refurbished gas station and filled with seafood and beach décor. Take a look at the tantalizing menu and you could soon be filled with she-crab soup, crab rangoons, or Hoppin’ John. Try the Mexican hush puppies, too.
I tried all that and topped it off with an amazing sweet potato cheesecake topped with crushed pecans. That dessert is complete foodie bliss. Tubb’s has seafood galore that is locally sourced as much as possible and is always fresh.
There are lots of specials and sometimes live music or other surprises. Lots of love and hard work goes into this restaurant. The food, drinks, and service have won several regional awards. Kyle Hardee says it is a most rewarding venture and would love for you to be one of the next friendly travelers who pass through his doors.
551 W Lucas Street // (843) 665-9200
The first commercial craft brewery in Florence, South Carolina features an always evolving selection of more than a dozen choices on tap. Learning about the various brews is truly fascinating. General Manager Vincent Preteroti often tours people through and explains the machinery, the process, and some subtle differences in taste.
If you wish to know more about ale, lager, porter, and stout then Seminar Brewing is the perfect place to find out. If you want a great variety of entertainment options, then this is definitely the destination. From axe throwing to pool and arcade games, there is always a lively twist on a fun night out. The indoor space is large and in charge, while the outdoor beer garden is a lovely and relaxed area that is also neat and sweet.
Seminar Brewing has recently launched its own kitchen. While classic pub grub such as burgers or pretzels exists, there is a purposeful focus on healthier choices. Consider a Chickpea Sloppy Jo with cauliflower nuggets and pasta salad. Per Vincent, the Seminar hosts live music regularly as well as events focused on bringing the community together. It takes the top when it comes to the best Florence sc restaurants.
126 W Evans Street // (843) 665-0846
There are times when one has an affinity for an elevated ambiance. Upscale food and service to highlight hallmark events and celebrations have earned Victor’s a treasured spot in the hearts of loyal patrons. Creating a tasteful and unforgettable dining experience is what they do best.
Victor’s opens at 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday. Craft cocktails or wine pair well with steak and seafood. My meal had a foundation of mashed potato followed by asparagus. This was topped with a beef tenderloin medallion, fresh shrimp, and cajun cream. Be sure to ask about their pecan-inspired options when you visit.
After the meal, it is pleasant to explore Victor’s lovely patio and the beautiful outdoor art at the adjacent James Allen Plaza in the heart of revitalized historic downtown Florence. One of the best Florence sc restaurants for sure!
2106 W Lucas Street // (843) 407-4686
Owner Fran Snell named Julia Belle’s in honor of her great grandmother, who always made meals seem like a family reunion. That is exactly what Fran aims for in the restaurant. Bright chairs of yellow, blue, and green face simple tables with blue and white tablecloths. One section of the wall has a vibrant floral wallpaper, while others are blocks of red, green, and blue.
As if that weren’t enough to make you feel cheerful, Fran’s twinkling eyes and authentic smile will make you think y’all are old friends. She cares deeply about everyone who walks in. She makes sure they are truly fed well. Monday through Saturday from 8 am until 9 pm you will find great portions of fabulous food at a reasonable price.
Most folks like the blue plate or chef specials. Others are partial to the sandwiches and salads. Still, others rave about the famous White Russian Pecan Pie. I much prefer the breakfast choices. The Carolina Crab Cake Benedict served over buttermilk biscuits and skillet potatoes is a heaping helping of heartiness.
2513 W Lucas Street // (843) 407-4205
Great news, y’all! Fran and Warren Snell have recently opened another new restaurant. The Farmer’s Market Barn & Grill is in the historic big red barn at the Pee Dee State Farmers Market. They are open from 10 am until 3 pm Tuesday through Saturday. The barn is over 100 years old and originally housed mules.
Locals and travelers are thrilled to find such menu items as fried green tomatoes, grilled shrimp salad, pecan chicken breast sandwich, and seafood combo basket.
The owners love sourcing fresh produce so close at hand. They offer hope, joy, and some of the area’s best food to everyone who comes through the door. The Farmer’s Market Barn & Grill has a casual vibe with both indoor and outdoor seating. The food is cooked to order, served with a smile, and simply delicious.
2005 Babar Lane // (843) 662-2454
Pecans grow extremely well in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. For almost one hundred years, Young’s has grown, shelled, and done quite well-selling pecans. Maturing through a few growth spurts, ownership changes, and rebrandings, today Young’s Premium Foods survives and thrives.
Customers can order by every imaginable means. The most charming and personable way is to visit the store in Florence. Sample pecans in 16 flavors. You will be completely amazed at all the cute gift items, in addition to the pecans.
Inside, talk to Judy in the bakery and get a sandwich for lunch (10 am-2 pm Mon-Sat). I learned some great tips from her about making both pralines and sourdough bread. She loves working at Young’s and getting creative with bread and cookies. Young’s is a fascinating store to visit in person for gifts, for lunch, and especially for pecans. Is it one of the best Florence sc restaurants? Definitely!
234 W Evans Street // (843) 629-8326
Talk about a one-of-a-kind place, THIS is it! Before you walk in the front door you will love the “pinkness” of Top Hat Special-Teas on the outside. Once inside, your eyes are drawn to the cabinet displays of Royal Doulton teapots and tea accessories that could grace a museum. Now you wonder whether this is about to be edible and educational or fun and fantastical.
Simple answer: it is both! Owner Laurie Crouse works diligently to be sure her stylish tearoom is inviting and exciting. Favorite lunch fare seems to be a tuna puff or some chicken salad. I had quiche with potato chips and a watermelon slice. My tea of choice was a delightful mint. This was followed by an oh-so-yummy pecan scone with lemon curd and Devonshire cream.
Weekdays from 11 am until 3 pm come casual and feel like family. Or get all fancy and enjoy a Victorian tea. There is a choice of either four- or six-course tea. Laurie also does catering and the tearoom can be reserved for private parties. The city of Florence is fortunate to have such a beautiful lady and such a charming tearoom. One of the Florence sc restaurants to remember and revisit over again!
114 N Dargan Street // (843) 702-2023
What does chocolate look like? If you just visualized a dull brown rectangular bar, then Chocobella can welcome you to a creative and colorful new experience. Artist Ranny Starnes and co-owner Marvin James are causing all sorts of sensations in downtown Florence with their imaginative gelato and bonbons.
Their specialized Belgian chocolates and artisan gelato have an amazing aesthetic. Think eye-popping and jaw-dropping meets ethereal and elegant. Chocobella creations cover every color of the rainbow. The gelato has names like Cotton Candy and Mango Sorbet. The beautiful bonbons cover everything from cake batter to key lime pie and from passion fruit to pistachio.
While the production process is quite a science, the result is all art. You really must come in on Wednesday through Saturday to see for yourself what these talented folks can do with milk, sugar, and cocoa butter. Ask about their most recently pecan-inspired choices. You’ll appreciate sweet treats in a whole new way.
Angela worked in radio and counseling until taking arthritic disability. She now writes about exuberant people, places, food, and art in the southern United States. Her travel website is EmbraceSouthernStates. When not traveling or writing, she can usually be found at home in Florida painting or playing with her dog Gizmo.