A Complete Guide to Upcoming Columbia Food and Wine Festival, April 24-28

Positioned to be its Biggest Year Yet, Limited Tickets to Festival Events Still Available for Purchase

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22 mins read

(Columbia, SC) — Restaurant partners and event details for the seventh annual Columbia Food & Wine Festival, April 24 – 28, have been unveiled, with tickets still available for select events. With its transition to a nonprofit and rejuvenated brand, the festival aims to expand its impact, supporting the culinary community in the Midlands. Spanning five days, the reimagined festival will feature 12 events celebrating various flavor profiles and regional traditions within the greater Columbia area. Certified South Carolina returns as this year’s presenting sponsor. Further information and available tickets can be found on the festival’s new website, columbiafoodandwinefestival.com.

“The Columbia Food and Wine Festival is an opportunity for tourists and locals alike to experience our thriving hospitality scene,” says City of Columbia Councilwoman Aditi Bussells. “This festival specifically showcases what makes Columbia a great place to live, work, play, and visit. Breaking bread together is the best way to bring a community together, and this weekend is the ultimate way to celebrate our nationally recognized culinary community.” 

Since its founding in 2018, the Columbia Food & Wine Festival has hosted 34 events, attracted over 9,600 attendees, and collaborated with 274 culinary partners from across the region. Each year, a variety of dishes from Northeast Columbia to Lexington County and surrounding areas are showcased. In 2023, 51% of ticket purchasers visited from beyond the city limits of Columbia, with 17% traveling from outside the Midlands region. Attendees represented a diverse range, originating from nine states and 102 distinct zip codes.

Restaurant Partners Announced for Festival Events

This year’s festival has a stellar lineup with fun themes to attract every type of guest at various price points. From a daytime, accessible food truck rodeo to a luxe self-care afternoon at Mix, Mingle, and Glow, there is something for everyone. Chefs, mixologists, and restaurant partners for each event are detailed in the following event descriptions. 

Kickoff Dinner at Private Property Sponsored by Certified SC

Wed., April 24 | 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. | Private Property

This unforgettable dining experience is hosted at Private Property in Lexington, where every detail spotlights South Carolina’s culinary culture and traditions. Enjoy a journey through South Carolina’s rich heritage as renowned chefs Trip Chalk of Private Property, Chris Williams of Roy’s Grille, and Mike Ellis of SmokedThe Grand on MainThe Main CourseGood Life CafeThe Players Club, and 518 Smokehouse come together to craft a menu that tells a compelling narrative of the state’s gourmet landscape. Expect to be transported through multiple courses expertly paired with beverages, each dish reflecting the unique flavors and traditions that define South Carolina’s identity.

Iconic Dishes of Columbia: Main Street Edition Sponsored by Main Street District

Wed., April 24 | 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. | Arcade Mall

Columbia Food and Wine Festival’s newest event, Iconic Dishes of Columbia, proudly sponsored by Main Street District, will take place in the historic Arcade Building—a true testament to the city’s dedication to honor Columbia’s past. Curated from the menus of Columbia’s most beloved eateries, each iconic dish captures the essence of our vibrant food scene.

This event’s lineup consists of Cantina 76, Halls ChophouseMarket on MainMOAPeak Drift, Robinson RoomStrudel Shop, and TakoSushi. Enhancing the flavors are locally crafted brews and expertly mixed cocktails courtesy of premium spirit provider Diageo. More than just a tasting event, this soirée celebrates community, history, and the culinary ingenuity flourishing within the Main Street District.

Collaborative Kitchen: Hampton Street Vineyard, Farmers Xchange, Tom’s Creek Family Farm

Wed., April 24 | 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. | HSV

Spend an evening at Hampton Street Vineyard, where local agriculture meets culinary experts in a collaboration that celebrates Farmers Xchange and Tom’s Creek Family Farm. Set in the intimate ambiance of HSV, renowned for its excellent wine selection, you’ll partake in a unique dining experience. Chef Jamie Pyatt’s French-inspired techniques take the fresh produce to produce culinary masterpieces, thoughtfully paired with wines by advanced sommelier Jonathan Lopez for a harmonious blend of flavors that tantalize the palate.

Collaborative Kitchen: Bodhi Thai & Ratio

Thursday, April 25 | 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. | Bodhi Thai

Experience a dining fusion as Bodhi Thai partners with Ratio for a unique blend of Thai and Peruvian flavors curated by two renowned chefs. Chefs Nivit Tipvaree and Javier Uriarte will collaborate at Bodhi Thai, presenting a four-course meal that honors their diverse cultural backgrounds and unique culinary perspectives. Chef Nivit, a master of Thai, sushi, and French cuisines, brings dishes that impress with taste, texture, and presentation. Chef Javier, a 2024 Discover SC Chef Ambassador with roots in Peruvian cuisine, transforms comfort foods into tapas-style delights at Ratio, promising an abundance of flavor.

Asian Night Market

Thursday, April 25 | 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. | Dragon Room

The Asian Night Market, an evening hosted by The Dragon Room, brings the atmosphere of Asia to the heart of Columbia. The Dragon Room welcomes Banh Mi BoysBoku Kitchen and SaloonGorilla Boost, HanabiSakiTumi, and SOJU for the event. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and aromas of a bustling Asian night market as you sample an array of dishes from local restaurants representing Asian cuisine. From traditional favorites to new creations, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Try traditional sake, Japanese beers, and Asian-inspired cocktails designed to complement the dishes.

Collaborative Kitchen: Steel Hands Brewing & Los Chicanos

Thursday, April 25 | 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. | Steel Shed at Steel Hands Brewing

Join us at the Steel Shed at Steel Hands Brewing for an exclusive fusion event combining craft beer with Mexican cuisine. Celebrate the partnership between Steel Hands Brewing, awarded the 2023 Free Times Best Local Brewery in Columbia, and Los Chicanos, the acclaimed food truck and two-time Best of Columbia winner.

Led by Chef Nolan Cunningham, this intimate dinner experience will feature a sensational tasting menu of five beer-infused culinary creations, each expertly paired with a selection of beers, wines, and cocktails. The newly released Tangerine Sour Ale is a highlight of the evening, promising a unique citrus twist. From gourmet appetizers to decadent desserts, each course will showcase the seamless fusion of flavors that Steel Hands Brewing and Los Chicanos are renowned for.

“Our destination brewery is what sets us apart,” says Ashley Lambert, marketing & business development director of Steel Hands. “We’re so excited to showcase cross-over creations from our taproom and hand-crafted brewing traditions that set us apart. The opportunity to partner with Los Chicanos for this event will be an iconic Columbia collaboration.”

High Noon Food Truck Rodeo

Friday, April 26 | 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | WECO

Kick off your weekend in style with an early retreat to the High Noon Food Truck Rodeo at WECO Bottle and Biergarten. Friday afternoon, elevate your lunch break to an outdoor escape with local food trucks, Los Chicanos, The Wurst Wagon, and Venezuelan Good Food. While your ticket doesn’t cover the food, it unlocks many other perks. Indulge in local brews and refreshing High Noon beverages, the perfect accompaniment to your culinary discoveries. Plus, your ticket grants you exclusive entry into a special raffle with a coveted prize: two VIP tickets to Sunday’s Grand Tasting event, where you can experience firsthand the finest culinary delights Columbia offers.

Mix, Mingle, & Glow Sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina

Friday, April 26 | 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. | The Skinhouse

Take a moment on Friday afternoon to unwind and immerse yourself in a world of beauty and bespoke cocktails. The Skinhouse, known for its elegant ambiance and expertise in skincare, presents an afternoon where wellness meets indulgence. Skilled ‘Skintenders,’ experts in skincare and personalized facial cocktails, will greet you and guide you through a dew-it-yourself mini facial. They’ll also curate a customized take-home beauty box filled with carefully selected products, ensuring you feel refreshed after the 30-minute treatment. Sips and bites include personalized cocktails by Tito’s Handmade Vodka bartenders, an Abundant Graze charcuterie board featuring artisanal cheeses and cured meats, green juices from Good Life Café, and hydrating fruit-infused Mom Water. With a focus on rejuvenation, ‘Mix, Mingle & Glow’ promises an unforgettable experience of pampering and indulgence.

A Gourmet Soiree Sponsored by Sculpted by WH Aesthetics

Friday, April 26 | 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. | The Gourmet Shop

Experience what is sure to be an unforgettable night of refined tastes and harmonious pairings during Parisian-inspired “A Gourmet Soiree.” Spend the evening with two of Columbia’s finest, Hendrix and The Gourmet Shop, indulging in the iconic pairing of oysters and bubbles as you sip, slurp, and savor your way through one of the most iconic pairings of all time: oysters + bubbles, oui oui!

At the heart of this culinary adventure lies the meticulous sourcing of ingredients. Hendrix Executive Chef Frank Bradley, known for his passion for collaboration with local farmers and artisans, has personally cultivated relationships with each oyster grower to procure the finest quality our state has to offer. Joined by special guest Andrew Jones, owner of Bird Island Oyster Company, expect nothing short of perfection in every shell. Champagne and cocktails curated by none other than Gabe King, Hendrix beverage director, professional sommelier, and master mixologist along with Bryan Della Volpe, The Gourmet Shop’s wine connoisseur and manager.

“This will be a special night for all involved, bringing a taste of Paris to Columbia through cuisine and ambiance. It’s rare for us to open The Gourmet Shop for dinner, and I’m looking forward to showcasing the thoughtful curations our team has put together with our friends at Hendrix,” says Amy Beth Franks, owner of Gourmet Shop and 2024 Experience Columbia SC ambassador. “Collaborations like this are the heart of this festival! As one of the original co-founders of the festival, I have enjoyed watching it grow and am excited to participate in a different way as a featured restaurant.”

Petals & a Picnic

Saturday, April 27 | 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. | Hampton Preston Gardens

“Petals & a Picnic,” a family-style brunch nestled in the stunning grounds of the historic Hampton Preston Mansion, is the perfect event to embrace Spring in Columbia. Renowned James Beard-nominated restaurants Spotted Salamander and Lula Drake unite their acclaimed chefs—Jessica Shillato and duo Rachael Harrison and Ashley Bundrick—to create a festive brunch menu.

Sip botanical-themed or choose from a thoughtfully curated selection of wines and champagnes. While dining beneath blooming florals, engage in a hands-on activity: create your own flower arrangements to capture a piece of spring to take home.

Bovinoche: Butcher & Bourbon

Saturday, April 27 | 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. | City Roots

‘Bovinoche: Butcher & Bourbon,’ an event set against the rustic charm of City Roots Farm led by Chefs Wes Fulmer and Kristian Niemi (Bourbon, Black Rooster, and The Dragon Room), celebrates the art of open flame cooking. Bovinoche, meaning communal and open-fire cooking, takes center stage in this culinary occasion. A stellar lineup of chefs from Parabellum, The Hollow, The Peculiar Pig, and visiting from Chicago — Kimski and Slow Motion for Meat, will showcase their mastery over fire. Each chef will experiment with the technique, expertly preparing an array of meats from varying cuts.

Indulge in fresh tastings straight from the fire, each bite a testament to the chefs’ skill in open-flame cooking. Complementing the savory delights are cocktails from Heaven Hill Distillery and Luxco, designed to complement the smokiness of the menu. Enjoy this fiery affair with live music, setting the stage for an evening of relaxation and enjoyment.

Grand Tasting

Sunday, April 28 | 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Robert Mills Estate & Hampton Preston Mansion

Join us for the grand finale of the Columbia Food and Wine Festival, as the Grand Tasting invites you to savor the essence of Columbia. Set between the charming Robert Mills Estate and Hampton Preston Mansion on Sunday, April 28, this event promises an afternoon celebrating the city’s culinary superstars.

Over 60 local restaurants, breweries, and mixologists come together to offer delectables and samples, the best of what the Columbia region has to offer, including: 929 Kitchen, Abundant Graze, Ally & Eloise Bakeshop, Bierkeller, Black Rooster, Boku, Bourbon, Congaree Milling Company, Dragon Room, Dupre Catering, Farmers Market Flavors Fru-ge-ley, Gaj Kitchen, Goodlife Juices, Halls Chophouse, Hampton Street Vineyard, Hanabi, Hendrix, Home Team BBQ, Hunter Gatherer, Il Giorgione, Kaminsky’s Dessert Café, Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles, Kao Thai, Lula Drake, Market on Main, Masa, MOA, Motor Supply, Pearlz Oyster Bar, Peculiar Pig Farm Catering, Ratio, Smoked, Something Small Catering, Spring Valley Country Club, TakoSushi, Terra, The Devine Cinnamon Roll, The Grand, The Hollow, The Retreat Lake Wateree Dining, The Strudel Shop, The Warmouth, Village Idiot Pizza, Za’s on Devine.

Enjoy live music, artisan pop-up shops, hundreds of bites and more, experiencing firsthand the stories of Columbia’s food scene. VIP and Early Access pass holders can enter one hour early at noon, providing time to preview the gardens and savor the first sips of what is sure to be an unforgettable culinary adventure.

New: Hoodies, Aprons, and More Merchandise Available for Purchase on Website

The festival is offering a lineup of new merchandise, embodying the refreshed branding of the Columbia Food and Wine Festival. From baby onesies to crewneck tees, bucket hats, kids attire, baseball caps and more — the collection offers products for patrons to represent the festival in every season. Whether cooking in the kitchen or lounging in style, an apron or hoodie will keep the festival alive all year.

The brand-new website is the exclusive destination for purchasing merchandise. Updated with a sleek design and user-friendly interface, this online site is a one-stop-shop for all things Columbia Food and Wine related.

Columbia Food and Wine Festival Tips

Over the past seven years, the festival has responsibly grown in size and scale to reflect the growth of the culinary scene. With that growth, Columbia Food and Wine Festival offers attendees an array of tips to make the most of this year’s festivities. From navigating the diverse culinary offerings to savoring the finest wines, here’s how to indulge in an unforgettable experience at this year’s event.

Purchase your tickets early as they will sell out! Every year the festival has grown to accommodate the increased demand for tickets because it has consistently sold out in advance of the event. Gather your crew to map out your #ColaFoodandWine plan, and secure your tickets online.

Arrive on time, especially for seated dinners. Seats are not assigned or reserved for seated dinners, so guests who are attending in a group should plan to arrive with time to find their seats. For tasting events, arriving early gives guests more time to explore all the bites and activities.

Plan transportation in advance. For all who plan to imbibe, the festival encourages rideshare options or assigning a designated driver. Prioritizing safety is essential.

Finally, come hungry and ready to try new dishes! Whether it’s a restaurant you’ve never been to, an international cuisine you have yet to try or a surprising ingredient that has yet to grace your pallet, take a step outside your comfort zone or discover a new restaurant to add to your rotation. This award-winning festival showcases the finest plates and pours Columbia has to offer, earning recognition as a must-attend event for foodies across the Southeast.

Now a Nonprofit, Festival Continues to Give Back

Since its start in 2018, the Columbia Food & Wine Festival has focused on highlighting the region’s culinary community as its primary goal. Prioritizing the well-being of its culinary partners, the festival offers chef stipends and shares profits with local business owners. Under the ownership of The Post and Courier Foundation, the festival recently transitioned into a nonprofit limited liability company. This transition has expanded its capacity to give back more significantly and allowed continued support for the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Foundation (SCRLF), a beneficiary since 2020.

In conjunction with its charitable designation, the Columbia Food & Wine Festival has revived its strategic growth committee, comprised of hospitality, tourism, and creative professionals who steer the development and execution of events while guiding the festival’s expansion.

Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of the region’s premier culinary celebration! Secure your tickets and find more information online at columbiafoodandwinefestival.com.

Instagram: @ColumbiaFoodandWine

Facebook: Columbia Food and Wine Festival

Hashtags: #ColaFoodandWine #ColaFWF

Websitewww.columbiafoodandwinefestival.com/

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