The Best of the Grand Strand 2019
Sea Captain’s House
3002 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach. (843) 448-8082, seacaptains.com
With more than 50 years of serving the area’s freshest seafood in a casual, oceanfront cottage setting, Sea Captain’s House has a legacy that reaches back even further. The Myrtle Beach restaurant was built in 1930 as a seaside vacation home and then morphed into a guesthouse called Howard’s Manor during the 1950s. The common thread of hospitality has always been with the structure, and it continues today, as Sea Captain’s House has earned a bevy of regional and national awards for its food and service. The crab cakes are a special favorite on the menu, served Maryland-style, broiled and topped with homemade remoulade sauce. Enjoy the crab cakes as a sandwich for lunch or an appetizer or entree for dinner. Sea Captain’s is open daily for breakfast from 7–10:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Sunday–Thursday, dinner is served from 4:30–9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 4:30–9:30 p.m.
Austin’s Ocean One
1 Norris Drive, Pawleys Island. (843) 235-8700, austinsoceanone.com
Austin’s Ocean One features a sweeping, panoramic view of the sea, treating diners to frequent sightings of dolphins, fabulous sunsets and serene lunar reflections. Chef Bill Austin, an award-winning chef and honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, heads up Ocean One as well as its sister establishment, Cabana Café. Austin creates a menu that changes frequently with the seasons, local ingredients and daily catches; however, the crab cake is always on the menu, served as an appetizer at Ocean One. The Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Cake is sautéed and served with smoky bacon, corn, lima bean succotash and lemon caper tarter sauce. Austin’s Ocean One features group seating in the Fish Bowl, a 14-seat private, oceanfront dining room, as well as the Spirit Room for private party catering, which can accommodate 10–100 guests. Ocean One is open for dinner Tuesday–Saturday from 5–9 p.m.
6401 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach. (843) 839-3474, mrfish.com
Mr. Fish, whose iconic wit and humble puns are reflected in the prominent road sign along Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach, has been serving fresh seafood since 1994 and has a lifetime of history in the global seafood industry. Ted Hammerman, a.k.a. Mr. Fish, is owner of both the restaurant and next-door partner establishment, Mr. Fish Seafood Market. The two establishments operate in tandem, so diners can eat in or bring home select fresh seafood. Mr. Fish’s crab cakes are a staple for Grand Strand residents and visitors, full of fresh, jumbo lump crab meat and served with remoulade sauce. A friendly word of warning: those who dine in the establishment are likely to encounter Mr. Fish’s most recognized greeting: “Stay fishy, my friends.” Mr. Fish is open Sunday–Thursday from 3–9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 3–10 p.m.
Lee's Inlet Kitchen
4460 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet. (843) 651-2881, leesinletkitchen.com
There are longstanding restaurant traditions along the Grand Strand, and then there’s Lee’s Inlet Kitchen. Family owned since 1948, Lee’s Inlet Kitchen is the only Murrells Inlet restaurant owned and operated by the original family. Even better, the preparation style remains the same: the Lowcountry-Murrells Inlet style of seafood is lightly breaded, keeping the flavor fresh and the exterior crispy and delicious. The homemade crab cake, filled with fresh Carolina crab meat and crafted by hand, is available as an appetizer or entree (one cake or two); prepared grilled, broiled or fried; and served with tartar sauce. To experience a generations-old tradition that features the finest of the local sea in a casual atmosphere, head to Lee’s Inlet Kitchen and get your hands on the crab cakes. Open for dinner Monday–Saturday from 4:30–9 p.m.
The Parson’s Table
4305 McCorsley Ave., Little River. (843) 249-3702, parsonstable.com
This beautiful, quaint restaurant serves as a museum of sorts and a slice of Carolina history, with its beveled glass and stained glass windows, antique doors made from local cypress and heart of pine floors, many of which are historical artifacts restored from old churches and businesses. The building was the original Little River Methodist Church, circa 1885, and served as a church until 1952. Today, owner and executive chef Ed Murray Jr. has built longstanding relationships with local farmers and purveyors to create a menu that reflects the bounty of the Carolinas. Using sustainable, organic suppliers, Murray crafts each dish with a local-first philosophy. The sautéed jumbo lump crab cake, served with spicy dill mustard sauce, is available as a starter or an entree. Southern history permeates the Parson’s Table, and the menu is no exception. Open for dinner Monday–Saturday from 4:30–9 p.m. (fittingly, closed on Sunday).
Photographs by Jon Stell, Scott Smallin and courtesy of Sea Captain’s House and Lee’s Inlet Kitchen