Garibaldis 5 Points Closed The Doors.

GaribaldisTuesday night I got word that a local favorite, Garibaldi Café, has shut the doors for good. Since this scoop got by me and actually caught me totally off guard, I went to Facebook for some confirmation from friends. Turns out the scoop was true and that’s that.

I hit the 5 Points Starbucks three or four times a week and for a while now I’ve noticed the awning at Garibaldis was becoming tattered and faded. While in the car with the team I’ve mentioned a few times, “I can’t believe they’ve let their sign go like that.” Now we know…

Garibaldis has been second or third on “the rotation” with us for a long time. Truth told, Mr. Friendly’s is my wheelhouse. I grew up in Anderson with the owner, Ricky, and we are USC fraternity brothers…not to mention his Ribeyes and tuna steak specials are off the tank gun. That said, if we wanted a switch, or someone suggested GBaldis, or if we wanted a larger bar atmosphere, Garibaldis was great. Jennifer and I could always count on a good meal at Garibaldis, and the service was top shelf. After all, how could you go wrong ordering that crispy flounder? When we’d go with friends that hadn’t eaten there before, I always got a laugh when I saw they didn’t know to flip the flounder. I would always say something like, “Oh yeah…The other side is even better. Flip that.”

For a while now I’ve always wanted to start a “Best of Columbia” type thing. A list a little more intimate and more hyper local than The State or The Free Times does. There are two reasons I haven’t started this yet. 1) Fear of running out of stuff to rank. 2) Making someone mad. Here’s where I’m going with this – I would rank the Almond Basket with raspberry sorbet the Best Dessert in Columbia! I mean, we don’t usually do dessert, or sweets much at all, but this thing was the bomb!

The place with awesome food and service had a few imperfections (don’t we all have ’em?) that were widely spoken about. The pink walls and office like grid ceiling gave people something to complain about, and the two-top tables were so close together that sometimes you felt like you were on a blind double date. But that’s who they were, and they went with it. I always had a great meal and fun time at the establishment.

I’m sorry to see Garibaldi’s Café go. I feel like Columbia has lost a staple of the Downtown dining community. I liked to know Garibaldis was well known around the state, too. Folks from all over the South Carolina knew about the place. If you were ever in a restaurant conversation with someone that lives in proud dining cities like Charleston or Greenville (in case you don’t know, Greenville has arrived), most everyone knew of Garibaldis.

Again, the news surprised me, and I’m sorry to see it go. I have some fun memories in my mind while sitting over a apricot slathered flounder at Garibaldi’s Café.



  1. Actually, The State reports that they’re looking for a new location…

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