Hard Rock Cafe is a hit in its new Broadway location
It was bittersweet to watch the demolition of Hard Rock’s landmark pyramid, which has reigned over Broadway at the Beach since 1995.
As if the pharaohs and sphinxes were angered as they fell to backhoe jaws, Hurricane Matthew blew into town, its ferocious backspin blacking out power and shuttering the grand opening of its shiny new replacement at the opposite end of Celebrity Square.
Even though the new venue lost most of its food supplies in the storm, when electricity resumed and the towering red guitar spun into action, the Hard Rock Cafe unofficially opened its doors to the bored and rattled who didn’t hit the evacuation routes.
One of the bored and rattled (and curious) happened to be me.
Digging out of Matthew’s aftermath, there was something steadfast and comforting about iconic Hard Rock in all its rock ’n’ roll glory—and something exciting about being one of the first guests to experience its sleek and chic metamorphosis.
Nothing says “welcome to the world of rock ’n’ roll” quite like the framed wall mural proclaiming, “Love All, Serve All.” Black and white images of concert crowds sprawl across space and time, starting with a 1960s Beatles scene and ending with Alexis Krauss from Sleigh Bells. Along the pictorial continuum of music greats, you can pick out The Ramones, Bruce Springsteen, Deep Purple and The Clash. But according to insiders, there are many more embedded in the images if you take the time to study it closely.
Drum kits artfully dangle from the ceiling and the slanted booths rock tufted silver upholstery.
A big draw for all Hard Rock venues is the notable memorabilia, pieces of musical stardom up close and personal. Here a drum set used by Guns ‘N Roses sits perched outside the upstairs railing. Played by blues icon Jimmy Reed, a Kay Thin Twin guitar is on display, plus a Jimi Hendrix tribute Fender Stratocaster painted by famed illustrator Alan Aldridge.
Megastar couture includes a bikini worn by Taylor Swift, one of Beyoncé’s dresses and a Dinu Bodiciu outfit worn by none other than Lady Gaga.
Two-level outdoor seating is a brilliant addition to this Hard Rock Cafe, offering a sweeping people-watching perch from the upper deck.
Now, let’s dig into the menu.
Food here is touted as “All American Classic.” The comfort specials were unavailable at the time, but you can look forward to pot roast, chicken pot pie, a shrimp po’boy and shrimp and grits when the kitchen is in full swing.
Our waiter proudly informed us that chicken is roasted and sliced every day at Hard Rock.
That encouraged me to try out the Grilled Chicken Arugula Salad. The peppery quality of arugula greens was nicely sweetened by pecans, dried cranberries and oranges and tossed in a lemon balsamic vinaigrette and crumbles of feta cheese. And, of course, thin slices of freshly cooked chicken.
Hard Rock has a Smokehouse section to its menu, promising specialties “marinated in awesomeness,” and slow-cooked in their own smokers.
Our party of three shared the Hickory-Smoked Barbecue Combo, a hearty platter of ribs, pulled pork and chicken. Crispy matchstick onions, cowboy beans, seasoned fries and a citrus-based slaw round out and complement the sweet and low notes of the barbecue sauce.
A juicy burger is about as “all American” as you can get, and although Hard Rock has an impressive lineup of Angus beef patties, the Veggie Leggie kept calling my name.
I have to say, it was outstanding!
The plant-based veggie patty, Portobello mushroom, zucchini, yellow squash and roasted red pepper are all grilled and stacked together with lettuce, tomato and sweet onions. Like all of Hard Rock’s burgers, the Leggie is served in between a brioche bun with seasoned fries. To kick it up a notch, I added on the herbal dipping sauce, an earthy chimichuri mixed with mayo.
P.S.: Those fries are now on my top-hits-list of finger foods.
Flatbreads replace the pizza on the Hark Rock menu in flavors of Margherita, grilled vegetable or pepperoni. Our waiter highly recommended the Southwest chicken version brushed with garlic oil and topped with grilled chicken, pico de gallo, roasted red peppers, green onion, avocado, mozzarella and a spicy jalapeno sauce.
Steaks, a smattering of seafood dishes, desserts and a full kids’ menu for those 10 years of age and younger round out the eats options. Prices struck me as fair and more in line than they were with the original Hard Rock here. After all, a $10 burger back in the 1990s bordered on exorbitant.
Of course, the Rock Shop is on-site selling logo clothing, merchandise and Hard Rock collectible pins.
Now locals and visitors alike have a compelling new reason to get back to Celebrity Square. Seriously. Where else can you dine, shop, tour and visit a rock ’n’ roll museum all under one roof?
Hard Rock Cafe Myrtle Beach
1318 Celebrity Circle
Broadway At The Beach
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Hours: Open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight. Closed on Christmas.