With Nonnah’s, a longtime Columbia dessert staple gone, we had our food writers offer some suggestions of other places you might go for a sweet treat.
Kaminsky’s Dessert Café
Date night in downtown Columbia deconstructed: Dinner, a show — maybe something risqué at Trustus, some sweaty metal at New Brookland Tavern or smooth jazz at Chayze Lounge — then the night continues at Kaminsky’s (930 Gervais St., 803-550-9979, kaminskys.com) before grabbing a Lyft back home
The display case by the front door, with its rotating cast of guilty pleasures, beckons passerby. It’s hard not to leer at voluptuous layer cakes festooned with marshmallows or Oreo cookies, piped rosettes and other highly enticing frosting décor. You’ll likely make goo-goo eyes at a New York cheesecake and unconsciously lick your lips over a berrylicious cobbler before making your selection.
Aiding in its exalted status as the city center’s date night capper of choice are the hours it keeps — the cafe staying open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. If you’re out late, and want ambiance and alcohol to go along with satisfying that craving for something sinfully good, this full-service dessert emporium, where you can sip on a chocolate-rimmed Kahlua espresso martini while gently forking a gigantic slice of red velvet cake, is the sweet spot. — Mike Dojc
Mai Thai Cuisine
Mai Thai Cuisine (2249 Sunset Blvd., West Columbia; 803-939-4795; maithais.com) expanded in 2015, and not only did the dining space get larger, but it added a bakery and bubble tea shop, too.
Start with umami-packed Thai food, and put a cherry on top of the evening by choosing from a wide variety of desserts. A rotating selection of baked goods made in house each day include cake pops, petit fours, lemon bars, flavored meringues, brightly colors cupcakes piled high with icing, tempura ice cream or cheesecake, Thai donuts, or the curious sounding banana spring rolls (with or without a scoop of accompanying coconut ice cream).
The display that greets guests as they walk in is truly dazzling, especially earlier in the day when the case is full of fresh treats. Mai Thai’s desserts can be enjoyed after a meal, taken home to go, or even on their own for anyone who is in West Columbia and craving a bubble tea and a cupcake during lunch or dinner time. There’s a small amount of seating on the bakery side to accomodate people who want to hang out and eat their desserts right then and there, which, given the visual delight of their dessert display, makes perfect sense. — April Blake
Silver Spoon Bake Shop
One of the biggest changes that has come to the dining scene in Columbia in the past decade is the rise of small bakeshops — niche bakeries dedicated to only selling baked goods daily for typically a limited number of hours. It began with the cupcake boom of the early 2010s. Somewhat like craft beer, cupcakes provided the perfect vessel to adapt fun, new flavors.
Soon after, full-fledged independent bakeries started appearing around the city. One of the most successful is Silver Spoon Bake Shop (2507 Devine St., 803-673-6374, silverspoonbakeshop.com). Owned and operated by Erin Nobles, the bakery has become a staple of the community for its playful touch on everyday favorites — rich salted caramel brownies, spicy black pepper pimento cheese biscuits, and huge flaky croissants are just a few examples. Noble’s creative cakes and enthusiasm for celebrating special days throughout the year — Harry Potter day is an explosion of wizard-y fun — are just a few of the many reasons why Silver Spoon has become a community favorite.
There are many other independent bake shops in the city now, too. Ally and Eloise, Blue Flour Bakery, Sweet Temptations and, to some extent, cafes like smallSUGAR and Drip Coffee are other examples of the bakery explosion. — Bach Pham