Cantina 76

Cantina 76 Restaurant Review

Cantina 76 Restaurant Review Article

Cantina 76 in Columbia, South Carolina

Customers dine on Tex-Mex in Cantina 76 on Main Street in Columbia, S.C.

Cantina 76, Main Street Columbia, S.C.

Cantina 76 tortilla chips with queso, guacamole, and salsa are a good start.

The Cantina Margarita

The Cantina Margarita tasted refreshing and like a “Skinny Margarita. “

A group of friends from Columbia with a love for travel and food established Cantina 76 in Columbia, South Carolina. Currently, the restaurant has three locations, two in Columbia and one in Greenville.


Inside, customers can watch TV and dine at the high top and low top tables or sit at the bar. Small lights string around the perimeter; and stars and metal lights hang from the ceiling creating an uncontrived atmosphere. Outside, pansies flow from hanging baskets, and tables flank the restaurant on two sides. Though the tables are under a metal awning, customers can still enjoy the sun. Cantina 76 has a come-as-you-are atmosphere. Casual to dressy attire is acceptable.


Cantina 76 features signature margaritas, tacos, enchiladas, salads and more. They tout an atmosphere where customers can relax and dine on Mexican-influenced cuisine made with fresh ingredients. They pitch premium tequila and creative margaritas. The Cantina 76 menu offers a variety of soft tacos on flour tortillas, but hard corn tacos are also available. Chicken Pesto, Teriyaki Chicken, Peruvian Shrimp, Barbecue Brisket, and Fish are a sampling of their 12 taco creations. In addition, they offer weekly specials.


We sat outside where dogs lay under their owners’ tables, and we began with Tres Hombres Sampler. We dipped crispy salted tortilla chips in queso, salsa, and guacamole. The warm queso’s mild cheese tasted rich and creamy, and a touch of minced green pepper gave it a slight crunch and sweetness. The salsa had a tangy kick with a hint of lime. Small pieces of avocado, onion, tomato and garlic added flavor and interest to the guacamole. It was a great start.


I tried the Barbecue Shrimp Taco. Sautéed onions and feta accompanied perfectly seared shrimp topped with a Chipotle barbecue sauce. The sweet, spicy sauce and the feta’s saltiness added a welcoming punch.


The Barbecue Brisket Taco sweetened with honey barbecue tasted down-home. Pico de gallo lightened the sauce and balanced the sweetness. We loved it.


The Traditional Taco included chili-spiced-ground beef, melted cheese, lettuce, and tomato. There was no sauce. The ground beef tasted lean, and the taco was ordinary.


Everything was fresh and the tacos were not overstuffed which made them easy to handle and not too filling.


Instead of dessert, I tried the Cantina Margarita. Salt rimmed the glass that contained tequila, plenty of fresh lime juice, low-sugar-agave nectar, and a quartered-half lime. Agave nectar blended with lime tasted sweet and refreshing.


I would recommend Cantina 76 because they offer quality food and selection at reasonable prices.



Cantina 76

Location: 1301 Main St., Columbia

Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Monday – Wednesday; 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Thursday – Saturday; closed Sunday; no reservations

Cost: Tacos start at $2.99.

Info: 803-543-3279

The Hill

Clemson University Football–Spirit and Tradition

We visited colleges in South Carolina to begin the college search process for my son who is a high school junior. We toured Clemson University Saturday and attended a football game against Furman.

Colin and Clemson Tiger Cub

Colin and Clemson Tiger Cub

Before  the game, we walked through Clemson, the college town. We felt like we arrived on another planet. Everyone in the town (EVERYONE) wore the Clemson colors orange and/or purple. The only people without orange or purple were us. We stood out like a bunch of freaks. (My friends would tell you that this would not surprise them.) My son, Colin, purchased a purple Clemson golf shirt with a small orange tiger paw (the tiger is their mascot). He donned it immediately, and I was glad  because I thought that we looked less conspicuous. The man who sold Colin the shirt told him that he was getting strange looks with his Maryland pride shirt. I bet he wasn’t teasing him either!

The Clemson Memorial Stadium is called “Death Valley.” The stadium sits in a valley, and  in 1948  Coach Lonnie McMillian, from Presbyterian  College said that it was where his teams went to die. 

Clemson Memorial Stadium, Death Valley

Clemson Memorial Stadium, Death Valley

Death Valley holds about 81,500 spectators.  On Saturday, it was about 95 percent full, and the fans expected a strong Clemson win”.

In 1966, a rock from Death Valley, Calif.  mounted on a pedestal on “The Hill” started a Clemson tradition.   In a game against Wake Forest,  coach Frank Howard told the players that they could rub the rock if they gave 110 percent.  If not, he wanted them to keep  their “filthy hands” off of it. Today, before they run down “The Hill,” the Tiger football players still rub the rock for good luck. 

The Hill

The Hill

“The Hill”  stands above Death Valley’s east end zone and is also the student section.  The students flank each side of “The Hill” leaving the middle strip open.  The players charge down “The Hill” and burst on the field before the game. The tradition began in 1942 because it was the shortest distance from  Fike Fieldhouse where the players got dressed. When the players run down “The Hill”, the band plays  “The Tiger Rag,” a cannon  thunders and  thousands of orange balloons fill the air.  The players entrance is called “the most exciting 25 seconds in football.” This video from the Clemson website, says it all!

 Clemson spirit reverberates throughout the stadium. Cannons boom and fireworks explode when Clemson scores a touchdown or field goal.                          

The Clemson game that we attended seemed like a family  atmosphere.  Several children watched and cheered the Tigers, and the adults seemed responsible.  Do you think that  professional football fans could learn something from the Clemson fans?