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In Pictures: Tiny town, fancy food in South Carolina
By Tom Adkinson
March 24, 2023

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ABBEVILLE, S.C. – Abbeville harbors a culinary surprise. It’s a restaurant called Indigenous Underground, which brings a big-city dining experience to a little town of only about 5,000 residents. Chef-owner Erica McCier, a rising culinary star, is one of three 2023 South Carolina Chef Ambassadors, a program that spotlights top-notch chefs who promote the state’s agricultural products and foodways. She had been a middle school visual arts teacher, but watching the Food Network for uncounted hours while dealing with dialysis and a kidney transplant steered her to culinary school and eventual restaurant ownership. Travelers and local residents are delighted.

Abbeville's courthouse square

abbeville sc courthouse square
Abbeville’s courthouse square doesn’t shout “fancy food,” but Indigenous Underground is just around the corner. Abbeville isn’t exactly on the beaten path, located approximately 85 miles west of Columbia and 45 miles south of Greenville. Image from Old 96 Tourism District

Erica McCier, from teacher to chef

chef erica mccier
“My recipes reflect the foods I grew up with. My grandfather was a farmer, so I know this food,” she said, noting that she wants at least 70 percent of her menu ingredients to come from farmers in the Certified South Carolina program. Image from Old 96 Tourism District

‘Soul rolls’ are a hit

soul roll
McCier’s calling card is a “Soul Roll,” an Asian/Southern spring roll made with seasoned collard greens and black-eyed peas. A special chili sauce spices it up. McCier developed the “Soul Roll” before opening her restaurant. Image from Old 96 Tourism District

Pork chops, collards and cornbread

bourbon glazed pork chops with collard greens
A plate filled with bourbon-glazed pork chops, fresh collard greens and a wedge of cornbread is popular at Indigenous Underground. “There’s self-expression on a plate. It’s art. You eat with your eyes first,” McCier said. Image from Old 96 District Tourism District

Abbeville’s other landmark

trinity episcopal church abbeville sc
Trinity Episcopal Church, located just steps from McCier’s restaurant, is Abbeville’s best-known historic landmark. Its cornerstone was laid in 1859, and it features a collection of rare 19th century American stained glass windows. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Image from Old 96 Historic District

Trip-planning resources: and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on

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