Greenville is a foodie’s paradise. Anyone who lives in the city, has visited it, or regularly reads articles about “must-visit cities in the South” knows that. While a lot of the top regarded restaurants in Greenville are locally owned, only a small portion of those are family run. And let’s be honest, there is something special about a family-owned restaurant that we can’t just put our finger on. It feels like the American Dream realized somehow. From greasy spoon to the neighborhood staple to the fancy fusion place, family owned restaurants just have a feel.
Recently, TravelAwaits.com came up with a list of its favorite family-run businesses. Here is our take on the list.
- Myami Bites: Nestled into a corner at Gather GVL, Myami Bites features authentic Miami street food and is owned by Tomas and Linda Prado. Both grew up in Cuban-born families in Miami, and serve the same food they ate growing up. Tomas was a top chef in New York before he and Linda moved to Charleston to open their first restaurant, Spanglish Cocina & Bar. It wasn’t long before they fell in love with Greenville, and relocated to open Myami Bites.
- Pita House: This Middle Eastern restaurant is owned by Ziad Namouz, who opened Pita House with his brother when they came here from Shefa-Amr, Israel to Greenville. When they opened it, Middle Eastern restaurants were not common in the city, but they have made Pita House a Greenville staple.
- Papi’s Tacos: Jorge Barrales Sr., a.k.a. “Papi,” was born and raised in Mexico, and worked hard so that he and his family could join relatives in Greenville. He started as a dishwasher in the mid-90s, and when Table 301 opened The Lazy Goat in 2011, he joined the kitchen staff. Carl Sobinski and Papi worked together on the idea for a classic taqueria to open under The Lazy Goat and, in August 2013, Papi’s Tacos officially opened.
- Della Venturas PizzeriaL Joe Della Venturas is a master in New York Style Pizza. He opened his first pizzeria in the 70s on Staten Island, and 13 years later, opened a gourmet restaurant next door. Then, he and his family moved to South Florida, where they opened and ran another pizzeria until 2007. When they moved to Greenville and opened a pizzeria there, they outgrew it in 2 years. Now, Della Venturas Pizzeria maintains the family run feel through the family photos on the wall and homey interior of the pizzeria.
- Luna Rosa Gelato Café: Luna Rosa serves authentic Italian gelato out of Downtown Greenville and Mauldin. It’s run by Richard Schweitzer and his entire family, including his wife, daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. Richard became interested in gelato when he owned a business that helped companies clear international freight through customs and he had a client importing gelato. Richard ended up traveling to Italy to learn how to make gelato, and opened Luna Rosa Gelato Cafe in Greenville in 2007.
- Mike & Jeff’s Barbecue: Mike and Jeff’s was created by Jeff Little and his family 25 years ago, and their restaurant is truly all about family. The restaurant is named in honor of Jeff’s late father-in-law, the recipes come from his cousins, and Jeff’s wife, Kathleen, and their daughters work in the restaurant. Since it opened, Mike & Jeff’s has become one of Greenville’s best regarded barbecue spots.