It's no question that South Carolina's capital city is booming. Recent years have made the state's center home to numerous national franchises (including the recently added Cava) and a plethora of locally-owned independent restaurants. With the culinary scene of the Soda City on the rise, we have compiled a list of new additions coming to Columbia, SC within the year that you need to put on your radar. 


Masa hails from Camden, SC, with the highly anticipated Columbia restaurant aiming to be their second location. Their namesake "Masa," referring to the corn flour dough that is used to make tortillas, reflects the core of the business to offer simple and authentic food to customers at an affordable price. Base prices on the Camden menu do not exceed $10, still managing to deliver variety and flavor to the table. The Columbia location is expected to open this summer in the Rosewood neighborhood, bringing the same quality to a new community. 


That's right. The southern sit-down staple is coming to Cola. Tupelo Honey specializes in made-from-scratch southern classics and has expanded to more than fifteen states after its inception over twenty years ago. While the official Columbia menu has not yet been released, be sure to expect some fried chicken and grits. I had the chance to taste it for myself during a day trip to Asheville, North Carolina last spring. I can attest that the food is as good as the name. If I can welcome any chain to Columbia with open arms, I am glad for it to be this one. The Bullstreet District hopes to open its new addition in early 2024. 


About five years ago, I stumbled into the flagship location of Vicious Biscuit in Mount Pleasant, SC. Biscuit culture in Charleston is largely dominated by King Street's "Callie's Hot Little Biscuit," which is certainly earned, but whose prime location also makes it a tourist hotspot. My visit to Vicious was initiated as an attempt to beat the snaking lines of Callie's. The result was me proclaiming the newfound institution to be home to a "life-changing biscuit." After two years of living in South Carolina, I can honestly say that no biscuit comes close to what I discovered those five years ago.

The arrival of the Carolina-grown franchise to Columbia is long-awaited and will certainly not be taken for granted by me. Vicious Biscuit offers an experimental menu of biscuits with lowcountry flavor, featuring staple ingredients of the state, such as pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes. The counter service restaurant also offers brunch cocktails and a full espresso bar to quench your thirst. Vicious Biscuit brings some serious competition to the brunch scene in Cola. The new Forest Acres location hopes to open this fall.


Black Rooster has been high on my list for fine dining in Columbia for the past few years. The brainchild of restaurateur Kristian Niemi manages to make French(ish) cuisine accessible to customers, seamlessly fusing authenticity with local ingredients. Now, Niemi's newest venture is coming to the Vista in 2023. The Dragon Room will feature a menu of Asian tapas and cocktails, bringing flavors from a number of different Asian countries to the table. If Niemi's food isn't enough to sell you, the funky atmospheres of Black Rooster and Bourbon that The Dragon Room is likely to emulate should.


The last spot on our list is filled by an anticipated expansion that continues to be the most inconspicuous. Duke's Pad Thai has rose to prominence in recent years after being voted the honor of "Best Takeout in Columbia in 2022." Now, they are expanding next door at their Cayce location with their latest project: Little Bee Bun Mee. Their social media remains mysterious, but recent posts hint at "banh mi buns" in addition to a menu of the traditional Vietnamese sandwiches. The new concept from the creators of Duke's is shooting to open this spring. If the sandwich shop is anything like its pad thai counterpart, expect agreeable prices and immense flavor.