Casual café in downtown Travelers Rest features Southern food, small-town feel


Café at Williams Hardware offers Southern food in a rustic setting. Photo: Ethan Rogers

Travelers Rest, located just 15 minutes from Greenville, has become a hub of activity and culinary adventures, and the Café at Williams Hardware was a leader in the renovation of its downtown.

Sisters Nancy and Joyce McCarrell, owners of the Café, have lived in Travelers Rest their whole lives and started the café in an effort to bring people to the little town they love so much. The delicious food, laid-back atmosphere and local artwork inside the Café at Williams Hardware have done just that.

The sisters also thought to form a partnership with the Swamp Rabbit trail in order to attract bikers and runners who use the trail, so they installed a downstairs bathroom, water fountains and bike racks, with an entrance to the restaurant right off the trail.

Specializing in traditional South Carolina cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients, the café appeals to tourists and locals alike. Some favorite menu items include a pimento cheese sandwich, pecan-encrusted chicken salad and homemade sides. Desserts are made fresh every day, and while some menu items rotate based on the season, a wide variety of cakes, pies and cookies is always available.

But the real star of the show is the café’s breakfast menu, which features omelets, loaded grits, French toast topped with fresh fruit and much more.

Cami Hubbard, a former BJU student who lives in Travelers Rest and works at the café, said she loves the restaurant’s small-town feel. “The best part about the café is the local Travelers Rest experience — everything from the building, to the people, to the delicious Southern food,” she said. “You go to the café to get a taste of the best of TR.”

It’s not just the delicious Southern food that draws people to the Café at Williams Hardware. Local Upstate artists and authors sell South Carolina-themed original artwork and collections of stories from the Upstate, and local farmers sell preserves, local honey and cookbooks of their best family recipes.