Local Dish eatery touts farm-to-table concept

joverman@fortmilltimes.comJuly 26, 2012 

— A new restaurant opening in Fort Mill usually generates as much buzz as a bee hive on harvesting day. The opening of Local Dish on Main Street has been no exception.

The eatery opened in June and is touting a farm-to-table concept, with much of the food locally grown.

Local Dish took over the spot Gametime Grill used to occupy downtown. The interior is similar but brighter. Burlap table covers and colorful photos of produce line the walls.

On a recent Friday at lunchtime, the restaurant had a full house. Every table and chair was spoken for. People who arrived after the lunch crowd were given space at the bar, and as tables cleared out more people showed up to take their place.

I arrived with friends before the mid-day lunch crowd filled in and was seated quickly.

The one-page menu is packed with options and all of them have a Southern flair. Appetizers include pimento cheese fondue ($6), deviled eggs ($4) and sweet potato hummus ($4.50).

The sweet potato hummus had the earthiness of a good hummus but with a sweet kick from the potato. It was a nice portion for the price and there was plenty, even for our table of four.

The rest of the menu included entrees, sandwiches and salads, with prices ranging from $6.50 for a spinach salad to $21 for pan-seared scallops. While some of the entrees might seem a little pricey for lunch, the sandwiches are in the $7 to $9 range.

My friend, Tricia, has a rule that if macaroni and cheese is on a menu, it’s your obligation to order it and try it out. I have a similar rule for shrimp and grits, so I knew I would be ordering it as soon as I saw the menu.

The shrimp (of which there were many) were huge and the grits were wonderfully cheesy. There were thick slices of sausage in the dish to give it some spiciness, but it wasn’t overwhelming.

The price ($16.50) was in keeping with both the large portion and the tastiness of the dish.

Fresh and local are buzzwords in the restaurant business these days, but Local Dish seems to be taking the trend to heart. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the eatery’s fruit.

A side of fruit at many restaurants is often a mix of fruits that taste and look like they recently resided in a freezer. At Local Dish, the side of fruit is a treat, including fresh peaches and blueberries that were bought locally that morning.

The vegetable sandwich ($7) ordered by a friend was a definite hit. It had chunks of in-season vegetables on a roll with tomato pesto sauce and can be ordered with fruit, fries, cole slaw or pasta salad.

Local Dish also has a children’s menu that includes fried shrimp, grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken tenders. Kid’s meals can be ordered with fruit or fries, an option that moms will appreciate.

Local Dish has delicious food at a variety of price points. It’s a great option for dining locally.

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