Tupelo Honey Cafe is coming to an emerging Columbia district. Here’s what we know

It’s a Honey of an announcement.

Tupelo Honey Cafe, the trendy, popular restaurant chain that specializes in Southern cuisine, will open a location in Columbia’s BullStreet District, officials said Wednesday morning. The restaurant will be located in the under-construction Bennet at BullStreet apartment development, which is just west of the Columbia Fireflies’ Segra Park baseball stadium.

The 5,800-square-foot restaurant will open in early 2024, according to a news release.

“When I first visited the BullStreet District, I knew it was not a matter of if we wanted to be there, but when. The ‘when’ is now,” Tupelo Honey CEO Stephen Frabitore said in a statement. “BullStreet is a vibrant, mixed-use district that reflects the authenticity of downtown Columbia, and we are excited to be a part of all the good things happening in the district and city.”

Founded in Asheville more than two decades ago, Tupelo Honey has 20 restaurants across 13 states. There are currently two locations in South Carolina: one in downtown Greenville and another in the Market Common development in Myrtle Beach. This will be the first Tupelo Honey in the capital city.

“Tupelo Honey coming to the BullStreet not only solidifies Columbia’s status as a great culinary destination in the southeast, but it is also a powerful statement on the growth and development of businesses in this district,” Robert Hughes, president of BullStreet master developer Hughes Development, said in a statement. “With their proven track record of success and commitment to excellence, Tupelo Honey brings a reputation that is both celebrated and well-deserved, adding to the vision of BullStreet becoming a premier destination for all of the Midlands.”

The Columbia Tupelo Honey will serve brunch, lunch and dinner. The company’s menu includes Southern favorites such as honey-dusted fried chicken, bourbon peppercorn glazed meatloaf, shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, cathead buttermilk biscuits, and more. Tupelo Honey locations also typically offer a robust menu of cocktails and other drinks at well-stocked bars.

The BullStreet development has continued to evolve, as Hughes Development and the city of Columbia have worked to completely reimagine the sprawling 181-acre former State Mental Hospital site.

A new Publico restaurant opened last year near Segra Park. The Columbia Fireflies, a Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, are set to kick off their 2023 season at the ballpark on April 6.

Construction also is well underway on Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant along Bull Street, not far from where a Starbucks and REI Outdoor store are located in the development. A sign at the property indicates that restaurant will open in the coming months.

The aforementioned Bennet at BullStreet apartments are under construction, and, despite a massive fire two years ago, work is being completed on a $55 million project to turn the historic Babcock Building into more than 200 apartments, where some residents have already moved in.

There also are residents living in townhomes on the southeastern part of the site, as well as in the Merrill Gardens complex. And law firm Robinson Gray last year moved into the state-of-the-art WestLawn building on the west side of the BullStreet site.

Meanwhile, the University of South Carolina has long been planning a $300 million medical school campus on the northeast side of the BullStreet property.

Tupelo Honey Cafe will open a restaurant in Columbia’s BullStreet District. Shown is a photo of the company’s Milwaukee location.
Tupelo Honey Cafe will open a restaurant in Columbia’s BullStreet District. Shown is a photo of the company’s Milwaukee location.