Flipside Cafe

New American
Worth a detour

Sometimes it’s hard to find anything on a menu you really want to eat. Other times, like at Flipside Cafe, the plethora of intriguing dishes is downright frustrating. This is a restaurant that demands multiple visits; and by the time you’ve tried everything good on the menu, the menu changes to the next season and there’s a whole new roster of temptations.

As a person interested in iconic regional eats, I had to try the Buffalo, New York, specialty sandwich, beef on weck. (Yes, there is a Buffalonian in the kitchen.) It’s a good one, piled high on a roll crusted with caraway (kummelweck) seeds. The beef is sliced thin, velvet soft and flavorful, although I wish it were rarer; and the au jus could be less salty.

But this is South Carolina, so what about shrimp & grits (my nomination for Official State Dish)? They’re sultry and seductive, with powerful smoky punch delivered by andouille sausage, charred peppers, and smoked tomatoes. Shrimp boil is a similar local passion, but with potatoes instead of grits. Other distinctly regional items include white cheddar pimento cheese (served with warm pretzels), a BLT made with fried green tomatoes, and crab-stuffed Carolina trout. Morning menus feature buttermilk biscuits & gravy, grits laced with pimento cheese and bacon jam, and fried chicken & waffles.

Many of Flipside’s most intriguing dishes are less about the South and more about classic comfort food: buttermilk blueberry pancakes at breakfast, a succulent bacon-wrapped slab of meat loaf accompanied by creme fraiche mashed potatoes, 12-hour braised beef short rib, a stately wedge salad of impeccably crisp iceberg lettuce, smoked bacon, blue cheese, et al.

All this artfully prepared fare is presented in informal, town-cafe surroundings (bare tables, cushionless chairs) by a staff who seem actually to enjoy making customers happy. It’s a fun experience in every way (except maybe for the setting in a drab shopping center); and I am eager to return and try all the things I didn’t eat last time.

Note: Flipside Restaurant, with a similar menu but a more upscale dining experience (with tablecloths), is located at 129 Caldwell St. in Rock Hill. (803-324-3547)

What to Eat
Flipside Cafe, Wedge Salad
Wedge Salad
Crunchy iceberg lettuce is festooned with smoked bacon, blue cheese, crisp veggies, and ranch dressing.
Flipside Cafe, Tomato Soup
Tomato Soup
Tomato soup is thick and foamy, intensely fruity, spangled with crunchy sweet basil and cheesy croutons.
Flipside Cafe, Shrimp & Grits
Shrimp & Grits
Both andouille sausage and smoked tomatoes add sultry panache to shrimp & grits.
Flipside Cafe, Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf
Bacon-wrapped meat loaf comes with creme fraiche mashed potatoes
Flipside Cafe, Beet Salad
Beet Salad
Blood oranges and lemon honey give beet salad a vivid citrus tang.
Flipside Cafe, Shrimp Boil
Shrimp Boil
Smoky shrimp boil is woven with peppers and onions and includes andouille sausage
Flipside Cafe, Beef on Weck
Beef on Weck
Gravy-sopped beef on weck is piled high and dressed with horseradish.
Directions and Hours
Summer, Fall, Winter
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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