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Scrumptious food comes with a side of spectacular oceanfront views
We all know that our area piers are best known for their fishing experience and unparalleled views of the Atlantic Ocean. Avid anglers and tourists alike flock to quays every year. When hunger hits, most piers have a grill or snack bar where you can grab a burger or hot dog or maybe chicken tenders. But here are three pier communities with established restaurants, some really fine food and views that cannot be beat. Check them out.
Pier House Restaurant at 2nd Avenue Pier
110 N. Ocean Blvd.,
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant and rooftop bar close for the winter season from November 30 to March 2.
The 2nd Avenue Pier turned 75 years old in 2016. It was built in 1936 by Julian Scarborough and St. Julian Springs. Maintaining a thriving pier business on our coast is not as easy as many would think. In 1954, Hurricane Hazel took out the pier completely and the same destruction was wrought by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. It was rebuilt each time, making it bigger and better than before.
Roomy and airy, the Pier House Restaurant offers expansive ocean views through a bank of extra-large windows. You can watch the tide roll in and out from almost any seat in the house. It’s all about open-concept here and the décor is more bistro than beach house.
For breakfast, Pier House offers a Tabor City Toast for $10 crusted with orange and filled with peanut butter and bananas. Also for $10, there’s the Garden City Grit Bowl with layers of country ham, andouille sausage, peppers, onions, pepper jack cheese, eggs and fresh salsa over a bowl of creamy grits.
Two lunch items that I found to be especially yummy here are Lowcountry Egg Rolls and the Georgetown Grouper Reuben. The egg rolls are stuffed with chicken, country ham, cheddar grits and collard greens and served with a peach chutney dipper for $8. Swapping out the traditional corned beef for a pan-seared filet of grouper, this seafood Reuben comes on thick grilled rye with Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese for $12.
The dinner menu offers the Pier House twist on Shrimp and Grits with its signature “buttery version of red eye gravy” over pan-seared shrimp, salt cured country ham and diced onions and served with a salad and breadstick for $20. For seafood enthusiasts, the blackened grouper, for $24, is pretty darn delicious with a Creole crayfish cream.
The open-air, Pier View Bar & Lounge sits atop the Pier House Restaurant and offers a limited menu of munchies. It’s a great place for a cold drink and snack with comfy loungers out on the deck. Second Avenue Pier is located along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.
Pier14 Restaurant & Lounge at Pier 14
1306 N. Ocean Blvd.,
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
It is recorded that a pier of some sort has been at this location since 1926, but it officially opened as a nightclub in 1984. Bryan Devereux took it over in 1986, rebuilt the pier and changed its focus to good fishing and great food. Pier 14 was also taken out by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, except for the restaurant that somehow remained intact. By the fall of 1991, the pier was rebuilt adding a bait and tackle shop and southside deck.
Less windows than the Pier House Restaurant, but great swaths of the beach and Atlantic Ocean can be seen from most of the tables. This is a laid-back atmosphere with rustic wood tables and nautical tchotchke everywhere.
The Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich here is second to none. The crispy and moist chicken breast is covered in a traditional Southern batter and Cajun spices, then topped with mayo, Cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and coleslaw. It’s served with fries for $10.50. My personal fave is the Fire Grilled Salmon filet with an extra cup of the homemade dill sauce. It comes with a russet baked potato or rice for $17.95.
Pier 14’s dinner menu has a little bit of everything, but you wouldn’t normally think of going to a pier restaurant for something like prime rib. Yet here it is and they do it right. The prime rib is slow roasted and served with red skin garlic mashed potatoes and horseradish. A 10-ounce cut runs $21.95 and a 14-ounce is sliced for $26.95. Another house favorite is the Beer Battered Fish & Chips, fried light and fluffy with fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce that packs a little zing for $14.95.
Pier 14 has a long-held reputation as a primo place for happy hour, especially at sunset. For you Canucks out there, you will appreciate that the full bar serves what is called the “EH,” a classic Canadian Caesar with vodka and Mott’s clamato juice. This pier is also part of the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.
Surf Diner at Surfside Pier
11 S. Ocean Blvd.,
Surfside Beach, SC 29575
Open daily at 7:30 a.m.
Surfside Pier has been an oceanic icon since 1953 and has been rebuilt three times over the years when washed away by major storms. Privately owned by the Holliday family in the ’70s and ’80s, it is now operated by the City of Surfside Beach. The Surf Diner was newly remodeled in 2012.
This is a cozy, wood-paneled spot that overlooks the beach, pier and outdoor patio that’s always bustling and makes for an entertaining day of people watching. Try to get a seat on the right side of the room that offers a sprawling vista of the beach.
For my tastes, you can’t beat a breakfast BLT&E. Surf Diner still cooks up this morning classic with bacon, lettuce, tomato and a fried egg for $6.99. And, for the same price, you can tuck into chipped beef gravy slathered over a warm biscuit.
The lunch and dinner menus offer Pimento Grit Sticks, a surprisingly good appetizer that mixes creamy pimento cheese and grits, fries it crispy-brown and serves it with a spicy remoulade-esque dipping sauce for $7.99. Honorable mention also has to go to the Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich, a homemade and crunchy mash-up of fresh chicken, apples, celery, grapes and pecans for $9.99.
It’s not often that you can order whole fish for dinner, but Surf Diner gives you the option of having a whole flounder (16-20 ounces) deep fried and lightly seasoned at $21.99. And I have to give a nod to their Shrimp-N-Grits for $15.99, which is rich and savory with sausage gravy, shrimp, lots of smoked sausage, onions and peppers. It’s finished with a sauce of white wine and heavy cream.
There’s also a walk-up Tiki bar on site. Monday through Friday, happy hour specials include a $5 menu that includes the Pimento Grit Sticks.