Places To Get Takeout That Are Worth Traveling 4 Hours For

What Else Are You Gonna Do?

Empty Restaurant because no one should be in there

Empty Restaurant because no one should be in there

Charleston is lacking some great eats. Simple as that. Some “blessed place” we are that all of the best restaurant chains skipped over the Holy City. Regardless, here is a list of restaurants that aren’t in Charleston that are still worth traveling to. I will list them by city that is nearest, but there tend to be multiple locations:


A logo like that, they’ve gotta be good!

Fazoli’s – Columbia, SC, a casual/fast Italian dining establishment that used to be in Charleston but decided we weren’t worthy enough… it has a variety of pasta, pizza, and ~wait for it~ breadsticks that are just *that lip smack thing chefs do* Their food is cheap, fast, and worth it. It may be a step down from Olive Garden, but after trying it, you’ll understand why I’ve been on multiple road trips to Columbia just for Fazoli’s!


My mouth is watering.

Rita’s Italian Ice – Columbia, SC, indescribably good. I love me some italian ice, and I also love frozen custard, but Rita’s is the only place with enough sense to mix them and it’s indescribably good. We used to have one in North Charleston, but again, Charleston must not have been worthy, so travel it is. With its proximity to fazoli’s, you can make a high-calorie day trip out of it!


That’s what your takeout bag will look like…

Cheesecake Factory – Greenville, SC/Jacksonville FL (same distance), the fact that we don’t have these is a travesty. You may only think about cheesecake when I mention it, but actually, it gets better: their pasta is second to none (second to few but like, for effect) and they have so many incredible dishes. My personal favorite is the skinnylicious chicken pasta. It’s soooo good and only 550 calories (what?!).


The come as casual dining establishments as well as sit-down.

California Pizza Kitchen – Jacksonville, FL, so you rookies may think I’m talking about their pizza, which is fue don’t get me wrong, but I like them for their mac and cheese. CPK is the kind of place that Charlestonians don’t realize they are lacking in their life and it’s honestly depressing to me. Everyone has something they love about CPK, and I’m sure if you glance at their menu, you’ll find what you love too.


Yes, I know it’s bourgier than you expected…

Noodles & Company – Jacksonville, FL, I LOVE NOODLES & CO!!!! Literally the fact that we don’t have this in Charleston is so disappointing to me that I’m surprised I even stayed this long. They have all sorts of noodles, Italian, American, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, etc. and they’re really good too. I mentioned earlier that Fazoli’s was a step below olive garden, well Noodles & Co is on par with any (normal, not high class) chinese restaurant here and their wisco mac and cheese can definitely beat Kraft. Noodles & Company is definitely my favorite choice on this list, and with its proximity to Cheesecake Factory and CPK, it makes a trip to JAX very desirable…  


Their food is so good!

Mama Fu’s – Jacksonville, FL, I LOVE Mama Fu’s. I know I’ve said that about a lot of these but this one is special. We used to have one here, but we weren’t worthy, as per usual. They are casual Chinese fusion and have very fresh, healthy ingredients. I go there at least 4 times a year. It’s weird though, I really love this place, but I can’t explain it. Go to their website maybe and let them show you for themselves 🙂


Their famous Italian Beef!

Portillo’s – Tampa, FL, this may be the Chicago part of me, but I love me some Portillo’s (more realistically, I love me some Barnelli’s, which is the pasta restaurant that is attached to most of the Chicago locations, but sadly can’t be found in Tampa). Portillo’s serves burgers, dogs, and Italian beef, but their variety only starts there. This one is a bit more of a trek though, so maybe browse their menu before that road trip. HOWEVER, to get to Tampa you do pass through JAX… catch my drift? I’m saying drive to JAX, get food, drive to Tampa for Potillo’s, then stop in JAX for more food on the way back and boom, you’ve got yourself a high-calorie, happy day. 


In these times of social distancing and quarantining yourself, you may be ordering food for delivery or pickup… Why don’t you stop lying to yourself and realize you have no reason not to drive 1+ hours for food ‘cuz you shouldn’t be doing anything else.