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  • SLOAN COLUMN: A year filled with lots of ‘new favorite’ places

SLOAN COLUMN: A year filled with lots of ‘new favorite’ places

on Tuesday, 26 May 2020. Posted in Columns, Opinions

SLOAN COLUMN: A year filled with lots of ‘new favorite’ places

It has officially been one year since I moved into my new newspaper digs on Railroad Ave. after becoming the editor of The News Journal. Over the last 365 days I think I’ve settled in quite nicely.

It has been quite a year. I had the opportunity to report lots of interesting stories and I have met some amazing people whom I can now call friends.

Some of the highlights of my first year include:

• Having someone refer to me as “The New Brenda.” It made me laugh and I took it as a great compliment. I will never be able to fill Ms. Harrison’s shoes.

• Helping select the Florence One School District Teacher of the Year, Nicole Scipio of West Florence High School.

• Attending my first Sankofa Festival at Timrod Park and Jamestown Reunion in Mars Bluff.

• Witnessing the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the state-of-the-art Continuum in Lake City.

• Dining at Town Hall Restaurant and enjoying a great meal prepared by 2019 S.C. Chef Ambassador Kelly Vogelheim.

• Maybe my favorite assignment was reporting the story behind the flag presentation photo etched on the Gold Star Families Memorial.

There are numerous others, but these are just a few that come to mind. Please don’t feel slighted if you or your event are not mentioned.

One of the great perks of working in downtown Florence is having a wide assortment of places to eat. At least a few times a week I venture out to grab lunch, often looking for a new place to check out.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve exclaimed, “This is my new favorite place!” after sampling a new menu. Inevitably, one new favorite place is soon replaced by another new favorite place.

My most recent new favorite place is Birdsnest Eats & Ales on Dargan St. The photos on the restaurant’s Facebook page looked crazy delicious so I decided to make like Aerosmith and walk that way. It did not disappoint. The Pico Suave carnitas wrap was top note. They also have an insane number of craft beers from which to choose. Needless to say, I’ll be back.

Some of my other new favorite places:

 • El Agave. I liked this place so much I chose it as the location for a birthday party I hosted. The Texas Guacamole is delicioso!

• Julia Belle’s. Simply put, down-home cooking at its finest.

• Holt Brothers. Looking to get the meat sweats? Look no further.

• Holy Smokin’. Try the Jar-B-Q . It’s Mac-n-cheese, beans and BBQ served in a mason jar. It’s 12 solid ounces of OMG!

• Zoes: My original go-to. You can’t beat the Mediterranean Salad Trio with chicken.

• Harris Teeter. I can’t still hear my daughter’s response: “You bought sushi at a grocery store?” Absolutely. It’s the real deal. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

• Pho An. I’m hoping the new Vietnamese restaurant on West Lucas reopens soon. I had never had Vietnamese food before and tried the pho. I was sold on the very first bite. I understand it may be an acquired taste, but its well worth trying.

• King Jefe. The food is great, but the highly creative menu puts it over the top. Where else could you order by saying, “Let me get a Slow Poke Rodriguez, a Cheech and two Chongs, a Wookie and three El Gringos. And to drink I’ll have a Ron Swanson’s Mustache.”

• Clean Eatz. The opposite end of the spectrum. Who says healthy food has to taste bad.

Other places of note: Flavors of India or Thai House if you’re feeling kind of spicy; Pizza Mio or Rebel Pie for a unique pizza experience; and you can’t go wrong with Stefano’s for Italian.

I could go on. Florence has an abundance of great places to eat. It’s no wonder I’ve gained about 15 pounds in the last year.

Now I suppose it’s about time to renew that gym membership.

Contact Editor Bob Sloan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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