Vella’s Restaurant and Tavern – 829 Knox Abbot Drive, Cayce, SC

Posted by The LunchMen Wednesday, June 16, 2010

“Done Just Right.”

As any regular reader of this blog would have recognized by now, the Lunchmen love Cayce and West Columbia. While none of us are sons of that great area, we all have a deep respect for the culinary treasures that abound across the river from the capital city. That, combined with a lower than average cost of living and a higher than average love of the 2nd amendment make lunch trips to this town true adventures. Last Friday’s bold call to Vella’s was no different.

Vella’s is a true neighborhood bar. Situated in a non-descript shopping strip on Knox Abbot (the road out to the airport), the place has been around for decades and recently expanded into the adjoining unit for much needed seating and bar space. Vella’s boasts the coldest beer on tap and while we can’t confirm the accuracy of this statement, we can say it’s plenty chilly when it reaches the table in a frosted mug. This place would be perfect for post-softball outings with a group looking for cheap bar food and cold beer.

As you would expect, most of the clientele are locals that look like they’ve been eating here for years. And what do they eat? Well, the simple answer is A LOT. The menu is as varied as the cars ages of the members of the wait staff, but one constant is volume. I think it’s against restaurant policy for anyone to leave not completely stuffed.

To be honest, the Lunchmen have loved this place for a while and would have made it out sooner for a review. However, Cayce’s refusal to enact a smoking ban made daytime trips difficult, as you would invariably return to the office smelling like an intoxicating mix of tobacco smoke, cooked onions and draft beer. But, as of June 1, 2010 the place (and the town, apparently) is completely smoke free. When we found this out, we gathered up the interns, The Lawnmower man, and The Dude for some good food and a little world cup viewing to boot.

We arrived a little after 12:00, the height of the lunch rush, with a group of 9. However, the helpful staff and manager/owner (not sure) quickly pulled together some tables with excellent TV views so that we didn’t have to split up. Drinks (some adult, some not) were ordered and we all settled in for a long lunch.

As for the food, Tank went with the prime rib sandwich and raw fries (floppy of course). The Prime rib was cut and cooked perfectly, and there were so many raw fries that I think this may be the closest Tank has ever come to not finishing his meal. Another item popular with the group was the Pattymelt (Chicken or Beef), which comes on real texas toast – a rarity these days indeed. If you are in the mood for something a little lighter, the salads are filling and certainly as good as any other in West Columbia. Our table tried the Chef, the Black and Bleu, and the Greek. The Lawnmower man and Hot Pockets, unable to decide from the multitude of options, went on the advice from the waitress and got the “Hot and High” (a grinder type sandwich so big it falls off the plate) and a chicken club (no explanation needed). While most people went with raw fries, one brave soul got the traditional French fries, which were actually the surprise highlight of the meal. All in all, everyone was noticeably pleased with the experience, from the good soccer to the cold brews and all in between.

One other note – Vella’s is one of those places where you are seated and have a waitress, but go up to a register to pay. This is ideal for large groups as you can (1) split the check up as needed, and (2) time your departure at your own pace. You normally see this type of thing in Mexican Restaurants and Meat and Threes, but it provided welcomed added convenience in this scenario as well.


PS – Vella’s also has a Chapin Locale, which Tank is sure to scout out for us next time he’s out visiting the in-laws. Stay tuned to see if the satellite office lives up to its name.

Vella's Restaurant & Tavern on Urbanspoon


  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. and vellas also on wednesday has dollar draft beer i believe

  3. Tank Says:
  4. Dollar draft beer on Wednesdays!?! This news may be the salvation of our post-softball festivities. Thanks for the tip

    - Tank


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Rabbit, Tank, and The Publican are three dudes just trying to get through the work week here in Columbia. Rabbit is a Columbia native, Tank is from Charleston, and The Publican hails from Greenville. Rabbit's favorite lunch spot is the No Name Deli on Elmwood, where you may find him putting down a grilled chicken salad and a side of vinegar pasta. The Publican usually wants to find food to cure his all-too-common hangovers. Tank claims no favorite lunch spot - he lives for the thrill of the hunt.


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