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Best restaurants from Florence Wine & Food Festival chefs | News

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FLORENCE — It’s a great time to be a foodie in Florence.

The Florence Wine & Food Festival is back to test taste buds for an entire weekend from April 4-6. A variety of events will highlight bites from around the Pee Dee.

Whether it’s a stroll through downtown Florence between sips of fine wines and small bites, or a multicourse dinner prepared by Chef Vivian Howard and a team of Pee Dee chefs, the weekend is packed with foodie-friendly events. Ticket prices range from $50 to $250, with some events already sold out.

Some of Florence’s own culinary talent will be on display. Will Altman, Andrena Mullins, Jakita Parrott and Doug Smith are all set to showcase their talents throughout the weekend.

The Post and Courier asked these chefs and producers their favorite spots to eat in Florence. Here’s what they recommend when you’re not sipping at the Florence Wine & Food Festival:

Will Altman’s pick: Town Hall

Looking to level up your cornbread and grits game? Will Altman is your man. 

The Florence farmer and miller operates Altman Farm and Mill, which uses sustainable farming practices as well as traditional stone milling techniques to produce heirloom products. Some examples include Altman Farm and Mill’s Buttermilk Pancake and Waffle Mix.

Altman’s favorite place to go is Town Hall, a fine dining restaurant that prides itself on farm-fresh, Southern-inspired cuisine. One of Altman’s favorites is the bone marrow appetizer — two roasted femur bones, bruleed bread, Irish cheddar cheese and mustard.

Altman used an expletive to express his love for that particular dish.

Andrena Mullins’ pick: El Agave

Chef Andrena Mullins was thinking of her kids when she opened — and named — LilJazZi’s in Florence. All of the menu items are named after her daughters Lily, Jasmine and Zion. Mullins has been plating up a menu full of breakfast and lunch delicacies since 2017.

She rarely stops moving, she said, and enjoys the controlled chaos of the restaurant business.

Mullins takes a minute to sit down weekly at her favorite restaurant, El Agave. A self-proclaimed chip girl and vegetable lover who doesn’t eat red meat, she goes every weekend. There’s usually some fajitas involved.

“I can do a lot of stuff to fit my diet,” Mullins said. “I always like their flavor on their vegetables — not everybody can cook a good vegetable.”

Jakita Parrott’s pick: Victors

Chef Jakita Parrott knows her way around a kitchen — her grandmother taught her so. Parrott has been cooking professionally since she was 17 years old and has amassed nearly three decades in Florence’s hospitality industry.

Most recently, she became chef at Seminar Brewing, serving up anything from flashy, unconventional sandwiches to a classic basket of fried pickles.

Parrott’s go-to restaurant is Victors, she said. The downtown Florence mainstay is perfect when she wants to unwind with some friends, an entree and her favorite drink — a Tito’s with cranberry.

“I love the ambiance,” Parrott said. “I can go sit outside and hang out and have some really good drinks with my friends.”

Doug Smith’s picks: Stefano’s and Tubb’s Fish and Shrimp

Doug Smith (aka Doug the Food Guy) is a food professional with a lot of jobs.

A 25-year veteran of the food industry, Smith has hosted a booth at the City Center Farmers Market since 2020. He recently began a series of events called “Taste of the Market.” Each features a meal made with local produce that you can purchase at the market.

Smith also co-hosts the food-oriented podcast “The Pizzeria & Enzo Show.”

Smith couldn’t choose just one restaurant, so he suggested both Stefano’s and Tubb’s Fish & Shrimp Co.

Stefano’s is a staple Italian restaurant in town where the eggplant parmesan is to die for, Smith said. Tubb’s Fish & Shrimp Co. is a down-home seafood spot that offers some of the best fried shrimp you can get, Smith said.

Both offer good food and Southern hospitality.

“I really love the fact that they’re locally owned and the people that own them are very active in the community,” Smith said.

Read More: Best restaurants from Florence Wine & Food Festival chefs | News

2024-04-02 11:00:00

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