Chestnut Hill is still a top choice on “The Row”
When a restaurant survives for more than 30 years in a tourist town congested with hundreds of others in the industry—even right and left next door—it’s a testament to that restaurant’s groundwork from the beginning and staying power in the future.
Chestnut Hill, located on the time-tested Restaurant Row on the north end of Myrtle Beach, has proven it can also fill a dining room (with social distancing in practice) in wake of a pandemic that wiped out a fair share of competitors. And here’s why.
The food: The back of the house may have slimmed down Chestnut Hill’s menu choices to account for a shortage of food suppliers, but they didn’t skimp on the variety and quality of those left standing after the initial wave of COVID precautions.
Their culinary strengths are anchored in seafood and steak—and all selections peppered in and around those proteins reign. My husband and I (first time eating out of the house alone, together, in 60 days) started with the Bacon-Wrapped Scallops appetizer. A handful of plump, fresh sea scallops arrived inside a wrap of perfectly crisped bacon and alongside a tangy dipping sauce. Another popular appetizer is the Oysters Rockefeller: fresh, farm-raised selects topped and baked with Chestnut Hill's spinach rockefeller mixture and hollandaise.
After a glass of red from the bottle we ordered, the entrees were served, following a prelude of fresh garden salads topped with your choice of house dressings and a basket of fresh-baked cheese biscuits and sweet muffins.
I chose Seafood Florentine, swimming with fresh deep sea scallops and Carolina white shrimp, sautéed in a beautiful combination of olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, fresh spinach and white wine and served over Capellini pasta. The bounty of scallops and shrimp in this dish was unsurpassed; I didn’t even touch the side of mixed veggies that comes with the entree and it made two more meals for me from takeout. The takeaway was that it was light, fresh and delicious.
Hubby went with a gluten-free entree: the Mixed Grill, which was a hearty combination of fresh catch of the day (this evening’s was tuna), Atlantic deep sea scallops and local white shrimp grilled over an open flame and served with lush, lemon butter sauce, halved potatoes, rice and mixed veggies (cauliflower, zucchini and carrots). With the heaping portion, he also took some home, but he was in love with each bite and didn’t want to take his hands off his fork.
Other standout entree choices include the Crab Cakes Chestnut Hill, the Veal Neptune and the Filet Mignon. The quantity, quality and affordability of the food at Chestnut Hill is a successful trifecta.
The service: Front of the house service, from the front door to tableside, is Southern hospitality at its finest. We felt at ease, this being one of our first brushes with the outside world since quarantine, which was huge for us. No interruptions in conversations from our boys, and our server was attentive throughout each course, while she still respected our privacy.
The ambiance: Chestnut Hill’s interior is reminiscent of a historic Myrtle Beach country club, with dated carpet, lots of dark wood trim, a huge brick fireplace and white linen-topped tables. It all carries a certain comfortable charm. And the view from those wall-to-wall picture windows in any of their dining rooms overlooking the lake behind the restaurant is soothing.
A little backstory on the Chestnut Hill namesake traces back to 1950, when Dr. Carl Compton started holding Bible classes at Donnie and Thelma Chestnuts' home. As the group outgrew the Chestnuts' home, Donnie offered the use of his tobacco packhouse just north of his home. Dr. Compton asked Donnie what they should call the new meeting place, and Compton misunderstood “Chestnutville” for “Chestnut Hill” and the name stuck—there’s still a small state highway sign declaring the Restaurant Row area “Chestnut Hill.”
Chestnut Hill is doing all they can to adhere to the state’s guidelines for cleaning and distancing. Call ahead for any possible updates on hours and reservations.
9922 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach
Hours: Daily, 4–9 p.m.; Lunch, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Small plates and happy hour options available