Columbia has a host of restaurants, many with chain affiliations. The area around Five Points, close to the USC campus, is ideal for snacks, coffee, or something more substantial, as is the newly emerging Congaree Vista section.

Right Wing Barbecue -- Maurice Bessenger's Piggie Park, 1600 Charleston Hwy. (tel. 800/MAURICE [628-7423] or 803/796-0200;, may be the South's most controversial eatery. Fans claim Maurice's barbecue is the best in the South, while critics dismiss his sauce as a "gloppy mess." The sauce of this "Undisputed Barbecue King" is mustard based, so, to be called "yellow-bellied" means you've eaten his sauce. Good ol' Bubbas and "Bubba-ettes" file into this dive at the rate of 20,000 customers a week. So what's the rub? Maurice's politically incorrect views turn off many diners. He flies the South Carolina state flag and the Confederate flag over his joint. He doesn't have much good to say about "left-wing one worlders," and don't even ask him what he thinks of same-sex marriage! Even Lincoln comes under attack for issuing "illegal" executive orders. Plus, Maurice has a "racist past and approves of things that most Americans would find offensive -- such as slavery," to quote a column by newspaper reporter John Monk. Many chains no longer carry Maurice's food products, but lots of folks simply bypass the loopy diatribes to get to the pig. A chopped barbecue and ribs platter begins at $10. Open daily 10am to 10pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.