For those of you in Columbia, College Grounds replaced Nice N Natural when Nice N Natural closed it's doors in October 2010. The upstairs of the building is home to Cool Beans (another of my favorite Columbia spots), and the owners decided to expand to the first floor when Nice N Natural closed. Thus was College Grounds created.
I've been there twice since they opened earlier this year. I walked away happy both times. The menu has your basic lunch staples - soup, salads, assorted sandwiches - plus a few surprising sides and homemade doughnuts. The menu has different offerings than it's upstairs neighbor, so I find it to be a nice alternative.
Both times that I've been to College Grounds, I chose from the sandwiches menu. The first time, I was really craving chicken salad, so I ordered the Carolina Chicken Salad on a pita with a side of pasta salad. I'm pretty picky about my chicken salad - I don't like it to be too mayonnaisey, nor do I like it to have too many ingredients besides chicken. This one had a little too much celery for my personal preference, but it was certainly the perfect consistency. The amount of chicken was generous and it was well seasoned. The sandwich is served with lettuce and tomato, and I chose to add some provolone cheese to mine. You can choose to have it on wheat bread or on a pita. The sandwiches at College Grounds stand alone, so if you want a side, you'll have to order it separately. For a couple extra dollars, you can add a side and a drink (tea or coffee). I was feeling especially hungry on the day I ordered this, so I added the pasta salad. It's certainly nothing fancy, just some shredded cheese (parmesan, if I'm not mistaken), black olives, pasta, and some kind of Italian flavored dressing. It's good, just not exciting. My only real complaint is that there was a little too much dressing. I'd prefer it to be a little drier, but that's just my personal preference.
|You can see how stuffed the pita is, and garnished with olives. The pasta is in the upper right corner.|
|The mushroom was almost too big for the bread. That made me happy.|