South Myrtle Beach Dining
Unlike North Myrtle Beach, there is no official municipal entity known as South Myrtle Beach. It’s a general directional term that takes in Pawleys Island, Murrells Inlet, Surfside Beach, Garden City and Georgetown, where the crowds might thin a bit, the flashing neon signs start to fade into the rearview mirror, and the pace tends to slow down somewhat. The South Myrtle Beach Dining scene is an eclectic blend of local seafood shacks, barbecue restaurants, waterfront bistros, and everything in between.
Austin’s Ocean One is in Litchfield Inn, at the water’s edge with a terrific view. It’s named for executive chef Bill Austin, creator of an eclectic contemporary American menu that dresses up seafood, steak, duck, and “small plates.” One Norris Drive, Country Road S22-301, Pawleys Island, (843) 235-8700, www.austinsoceanone.com.
Big Bill’s Low Country Barbecue uses the low country-style vinegar sauce on barbecued pork and chicken, and also makes that huge local favorite chicken/sausage pileau (bog). 2041 North Fraser Street, Georgetown, (843) 527-2697.
Bistro 217 is typical Pawleys Island, casual and comfortable but maybe a bit pricey. It offers salads, sandwiches, locally famous fish tacos, calamari, quiche and special sauces. Someone in the kitchen had the brilliant idea to add shrimp, scallops and grouper to eggplant parmesan, and on a good night you might be able to get this fine dish along with outdoor seating and live entertainment. 10707 Highway 17, Pawleys Island, (843) 235-8217.
Bovine’s is not, as the name implies, strictly confined to steaks and ribs. It also offers wood-fired seafood along with country style cornbread and corn pudding. 3979 Business Highway 17, Murrells Inlet, (843) 651-2888.
Caffe Piccolo gets rave reviews for Italian-style scallops, veal, chicken marsala, seasonal salads, and daily specials that often feature fish, shrimp, scallops served on a bed of linguine and drenched in a special sauce. 9428 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, (843) 314-3424.
Conch Café has an oceanfront deck and conch fritters on the menu, something you seldom see this side of Florida. It also has some creative frozen tropical drinks, along with salads, sandwiches, seafood and steak. 1870 North Waccamaw Drive, Garden City, (843) 651-6556.
Divine Fish House has a deck and tiki bar overlooking the inlet, a sushi bar, creative seafood dishes from the grill or oven, and occasional live entertainment. 3993 Business Highway 17, Murrells Inlet, (843) 651-5800.
Drunken Jack’s is named for a pirate that allegedly sailed with Blackbeard, and you can learn one version of that legend in a dining room that has a view of the inlet and Snug Harbor Marina. That morsel of history comes with seafood, meat and chicken for dinner, sandwiches and seafood for lunch, and live entertainment on some evenings and weekends. 4031 Business Highway 17, Murrells Inlet, (843) 651-3232.
Flo’s has a deck over the creek and a New Orleans menu, all designed to remind Flo of her childhood on the bayou. If you’re looking for original cuisine, try the alligator stew, and don’t forget the red beans and rice. She offers a steam pot or you can suck crawfish, shuck oysters or shell shrimp. 3797 Business Highway 17, Murrells Inlet, (843) 651-7222.
Frank’s Restaurant & Bar and Outback at Frank’s occupy a historic landmark, Marlow’s Supermarket, and the restaurant is named for Frank Marlow who ran the store for 50 years. It serves a mix of flavors from low country to Pacific Rim, and when the restaurant took over the house behind it (where Frank Marlow’s mother used to live) it adopted roughly the same upscale menu. 10434 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, (843) 237-1581.
Gulfstream Café has a view of the ocean and a low country Sunday brunch with a Sunrise Cocktail or a Bloody Caesar, seafood crepes, a low country benedict, and steak and eggs. It’s part of the restaurant group that encompasses California Dreaming and Carolina Roadhouse, so here’s another part of the continent they’ve conquered. 1536 South Waccamaw Drive, Garden City, (843) 651-8808.
Hanser House is family-owned by natives who focus on genuine low country cuisine, including shrimp and grits, poboy sandwiches and creek shrimp. Choice aged beef is cut in the kitchen and cooked to order, and seafood comes off the boats in Murrells Inlet. 14360 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, (843) 235-3021.
Hot Fish Club is as legendary as Drunken Jack’s, and strangely entwined in his saga. But skip the history just for the moment and enjoy a fine wine list, seafood cooked to perfection, a view of the inlet and live entertainment in the gazebo. 4911 Business Highway 17, Murrells Inlet, (843) 651-3197.
Landolfi’s Italian Bakery & Deli is a great lunch choice, with fresh-baked homemade bread on the sandwiches, brick oven pizza and every type of Italian pastry that can be imagined. 9305 Highway 17 South, Pawleys Island, (843) 237-7900.
Nibils Restaurant at Surfside Pier is just the spot for seafood omelets and she-crab soup. You’ll also get a great ocean view and some vintage beach décor. 11 South Ocean Boulevard, Surfside Beach, (843) 238-5080.
Pier Café has cheeseburgers, crab cakes and other sandwiches, but its most important feature is that it’s on a pier, where everything tastes better 110 South Waccamaw Drive, Garden City, (843) 651-9700.
Quigley’s Pint and Plate is the only brewery in the Litchfield Beach/Pawleys Island area. Get yourself a brewski and try the low country roll made with stone ground grits and shrimp, andoullie sausage and caramelized onions rolled in seaweed, batter fried and served with mustard and barbecue sauce. 257 Willbrook Boulevard, Litchfield Beach, (843) 237-7010.