Best of the Grand Strand 2021- Laid Back

(Left) River City Cafe; (Right) Rockefellers Raw Bar.

Written By Ashley Daniels
Photographs By Three Ring Focus, courtesy of River City Cafe and Rockefellers Raw Bar 

The Boundary House
1045 River Road, Calabash, N.C. 
(910) 579-8888

Just as the name implies, The Boundary House is just over the South Carolina state boundary in Calabash, N.C. – and worth the visit. Owners have been welcoming visitors across the border for years, featuring a casual menu chock-full of USDA choice steaks and fresh seafood creations, like the Crab Bites, Calabash Seafood Gumbo, Shrimp and Grits and Hurricane Chicken, to name a few. The Boundary’s menu is dense and diverse, so there’s a lot to choose from!

Cabana Café
1 Norris Drive, Pawleys Island 
(843) 235-8700

Cabana Café is the casual kid brother in the Austin’s family of restaurants, where you can shake off the sand from your flip flops on your trek from the beach and sink into a bar stool. The open air beach bar is surrounded by Pawleys’ dunes and Litchfield Inn’s pool sanctuary, with the sounds of live music and sea breeze to add to the ambiance. Warm up to a bowl of the Cabana Clam Chowder or cool off with a cold beer or a Cabana Fried Banana Split. (The café closes for the season in December.)

Wild Wings Café
4706 Hwy 17 S, North Myrtle Beach 
(843) 361-9464

If you’re craving delicious wings or craft brews, Wild Wings Cafe in North Myrtle Beach is your go-to restaurant. Beyond their delicious offerings, the team of employees make the North Myrtle Beach location that much more special. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop in and see what the buzz is about!  

Tavern in the Forest
4999 Carolina Forest Blvd. 
Myrtle Beach. (843) 236-5007

A treasure in the forest is this restaurant and bar that underwent a facelift and a little TLC in 2019 and, as a result, has received a lot of love from locals. In addition to the many events the Tavern hosts throughout the week, you’ll love making your way around the global menu, from the Seared Ahi Wonton Salad and Mac & Cheese Bites to burgers, sandwiches and pizza. Don’t miss out on their creative cocktails, like The Local’s Lemonade (Jack Daniel’s, triple sec, sour and lemon-lime soda.)

Pawleys Island Tavern
10635 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island 
(843) 237-8465

Pawleys Island Tavern, aka PIT, is this hidden “shabby chic” bar tucked behind the busy frontage of Ocean Highway, sans signage, other than “PIT” beside the mailbox. Once you’re there, you almost feel like you should give a password to be admitted into this cool club under the live oaks and strings of lights. Inside, the PIT joint is wallpapered with dollar bills from past PIT patrons, outside there’s a the tiki bar, a deck filled with seating and a live stage keep the vibes going. And the drinks and the food don’t disappoint, including pizzas, po’boys, pulled pork, fresh group basket and more. 

Dagwood’s Deli and Sports Bar
600 U.S. 17 Business, Surfside Beach 
(843) 828-4600

A true neighborhood bar and grill, Dagwood’s has been a longtime popular gathering spot for the great food, cheap drinks, and big sports games. The sports bar is a big draw, filling out the indoor dining room complete with billiards and bar games, and side patio that houses glider tables. Musts to try from the menu include any of their cheesesteaks, jumbo deli sandwiches (big enough for two), baskets or wings. Add to lunch or dinner any of their cold beer or cocktail options.

River City Café
404 21st Ave. North, Myrtle Beach (843) 448-1900
9550 Shore Drive (inside the Sands Ocean Resort), Myrtle Beach. (843) 497-5299
208 73rd Ave. North, Myrtle Beach. (843) 449-8877
4742 Highway 17 South, North Myrtle Beach. (843) 272-7077
4393 Highway 17, Murrells Inlet. (843) 651-1004
11 North Seaside Drive, Surfside Beach. (843) 232-9797
5835 Dick Pond Road, Myrtle Beach. (843) 215-8808

There’s something about going out, being encouraged to shell and throw peanuts on the floor and leaving the mess behind. That’s just the start of the family-friendly fun and service you’ll find at any of the seven River City Café locations throughout the Grand Strand. It’s also the place you’ll find the best burgers in town, world-famous onion rings, hand-cut French fries, and more. While you wait for your food, check out all of the license plates on the wall, let the kids crayon all over the butcher paper tablecloth, and sip on one of the long list of beers on tap. 

Rockefellers Raw Bar 
3613 Highway 17 South, North Myrtle Beach 
(843) 361-9677

Rockefellers has been the master chef of oysters (prepped Rockefeller, fried, on the half shell or as a shooter) and seafood in North Myrtle Beach for many years, featuring their infamous steam kettles, swimming with fresh, hot seafood (shrimp, mussels, scallops, shrimp and scallops, “Priddy” spicy shrimp, or clams steamed in your choice of Old Bay and beer, wine and garlic herb butter, marinara, or Fra Diablo (Alfredo sauce is a $2 upcharge). 

Russell’s Seafood Grill
4906 Highway 17 Business, Murrells Inlet 
(843) 651-0553

One of the OG spots along the Murrells Inlet marsh, Russell’s is settled in the lot it found itself in, in the wake of Hurricane Hugo. It’s been called a museum, a local fish cabin and a treehouse, but, ultimately, Russell’s has always been a restaurant dedicated to serving local, fresh fish dishes, including Grilled Oysters, Oyster Stew and more.