Meet A Local: Two Gals and a Fork Food Tours
June 12, 2023
June 12, 2023
Visitors know that the locals often have the best inside information on the region. They’ve found the best restaurants, things to do, and in the case of these two local “gals” – where to get a taste of history! Welcome to our Meet a Local series of blog posts where we introduce you to locals from Lake Murray Country who love the region and want to share their knowledge with visitors. Make sure to say “hi,” when you see them around!
Gloria Freeman and Janet Jordan launched Two Gals and a Fork Food Tours almost a decade ago. Using their experience in nonprofit management and meeting planning, as well as their love of traveling, these women pioneered the food tour scene in Columbia. Gloria and Janet established their brand with a focus on The Vista in Downtown Columbia, but have since expanded into Newberry and Lexington, offering a variety of tasting tours, pub crawls, art walks, progressive dinners, cooking demonstrations, beer schools, bartending classes, and everything in between. If you’re looking for a cultural and culinary experience while exploring the region, then these are “the gals” for you.
Gloria: I grew up in Columbia where I attended Columbia High School and the University of South Carolina. I have two children and five grandchildren. I worked at the SC Manufacturers Alliance for 43 years before retiring in 2020. I’ve been married to my husband Harry for 45 years.
Janet: I’m originally from Sumter. I attended Newberry College and received a BA degree in math education. I taught school for 4 years in Sumter. I moved to Columbia in 1982 to attend graduate school at USC and stayed. I worked as a bartender at Jesudi’s on Ft. Jackson Blvd while in graduate school and that’s where I made most of my Columbia connections. I left teaching in 1984 and began working in the advertising industry which eventually led me to association management work. I served as Executive Director of the SC Chiropractic Association for 7 years before opening my own association management company (AMC) in 1989. I’m married to Steve Jordan and live in a Lake Murray community in Irmo with our two adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Tana and Rosie.
When we travel, we always look for a food tour. This not only gives us local history but a chance to sample different restaurants and cuisine in the area. During a visit to Seattle in 2013, we took a food tour of Pikes Place Market. The young tour guide really clicked with us and said that with our fun personality and knowledge of food tours, we should start food tours in our area. So, on the long plane ride home from Seattle, we agreed that Columbia and the surrounding areas were ready for food tours. We spent almost a year benchmarking other food tours and laying the groundwork to launch Two Gals Food Tours in August 2014.
Two Gals Tours is currently working with Historic Columbia to begin offering food tours on Main Street in Columbia. At the request of the Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, we organized a food tour of Spartanburg’s downtown area and were ready to launch when Covid hit and shut everything down. We plan to eventually go back and coordinate that area again so that we can offer custom tours for groups operating or meeting in Spartanburg. We are also currently working on a package for bus tour companies to bring their groups to experience our cool history and delicious restaurants.
Gloria: Our tours offer a big variety of tastings. My personal favorite is shrimp and grits, and also chicken parmesan over homemade noodles.
Janet: My mama’s and my grandmama’s fried chicken, but that passed on with them. I love to prepare the traditional New Year’s meal every year but enjoy just about any food.
Of course, take one of our food tours so you learn about the rich history of our area and experience all the fabulous cuisine. One would definitely want to explore our beautiful Lake Murray with boating, skiing, fishing, sailing, etc. Our Riverbanks Zoo is top notch as are our museums. We have great trails, rivers, and exciting college football and baseball games. Soda City Market on Main Street is a must, especially for supporting local businesses and vendors. There are many quaint small towns surrounding Columbia that are well worth visiting too that offer fabulous southern dishes, antique stores, and shopping. We recommend Capital City Lake Murray Country’s and Experience Columbia’s websites to locate events happening in the region.
We partner with Historic Columbia and Lexington County Museum for our trained history guides. Together Janet and I have over 75 years of experience in event planning. We are rated #3 in Best Things to Do in SC by Town and Tourist. We were featured on the Anglers and Appetites TV Show, in an episode of Beyond Your Backyard with Erik the Travel Guy, and were also awarded CCLMC Partner of the Year in 2016.
Join the Two Gals for their upcoming food tour, Lexington Munching on Main on June 17 from 3-5:30 PM. Tasting stops are scheduled at Private Property, Bodhi Thai Dining, Keg Cowboy or Havens Coffeehouse, Alodia’s Cucina Italia, and O’Hara’s Public House (stops may change without notice.) Individual tickets cost $50 and can only be purchased by calling (803) 260-7992 or (803) 360-0578. Group ticketing prices, gift certificates, and other details can be viewed on their website, TwoGalsFoodTours.com.