Best of the Grand Strand 2020

October 2020
Written By: 
Ashley Daniels
Photographs by: 
Image credits below

Feast your eyes on our mega list celebrating the 2020 Best of the Grand Strand winners. We covered the who, what, where and why of the dining scene on the Grand Strand to determine who brings their A game to the table. Now it’s your turn to read on and dig in!

(Clockwise from top left) Brisket; Nacho Hippo; Pho Claire; Cafe Old Vienna

Specialty Cuisine Spots

Nacho Hippo
1160 Farrow Parkway, Myrtle Beach, (843) 839-9770
850 North Beach Blvd., North Myrtle Beach, (843) 663-9393

Get your ole! on at either fun, funky Nacho Hippo spot on the Grand Strand, where nachos are king, but a menu of creative Mexican combos are a strong part of the royal court as well. Both locations say hola! in a big way, with colored string lights draped from the ceiling, license plates and bottle caps covering the walls, and both indoor and breezy outdoor dining areas. Start with a trio of salsa samplers with fresh tortilla chips or Peter’s Pickled Banana Peppers and continue on with one of the Hippo’s flour-griddled tacos with a twist, like the Love You Long Time (fried chicken tossed in sweet chili, pineapple salsa, mixed greens, spicy mayo and cashews) or The Carolina Kid with slow-roasted pork, slaw and sweet celery seed dressing. And prepare yourself for any of the eight magnificent mounds of nacho creations.

1501 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 273-4423

They go low and slow at Brisket, where they smoke their meats in-house for hours overnight daily in time to be sliced and served for lunch. This cozy joint specializes in some of the best Texas-style barbecue north of the Alamo that is oh-so finger-lickin’ good, such as brisket (sliced or chopped), pulled pork, ribs, chicken (quartered or pulled) and sausage. Team them up with any of Brisket’s homemade sides, like collards, coleslaw, their award-winning mac and cheese and more. And throw in any of the starters, including deviled eggs, Texas Frito pie, fried green tomatoes, and pimento cheese and pork rinds. Order takeout for your family of five with a Feed Bag stuffed with meats by the half-pound and sides by the quart (add Mom’s Pecan Pie). Or stick around in a seat at their 1800s Western-style bar that pours top-shelf bourbons and regional craft beers. Their happy hour chalkboard of specials changes up daily!

Cafe Old Vienna
1604 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 946-6252

Relish platefuls of delish, authentic German-Austrian food without the need of a passport in a trip to Cafe Old Vienna. This Myrtle Beach landmark has been in town for more than 20 years, renowned for their own version of Southern hospitality: Gemuetlichkeit. They’re also known for recreating German classics, like sauerbraten, beef rouladen, veal wiener schnitzel, Viennese gulasch, bratwurst and sauerkraut, knackwurst, sautéed liver, seafood and so much more for lunch and dinner. Start with an order of potato pancakes or pierogis and finish strong with one of their homemade desserts, such as apple strudel or Vienna crepes (filled with apricot or Nutella). Settle in to the Cafe’s Beer Garden, which is dog friendly, for a draft beer six-sampler paddle and enjoy the occasional live accordion music.

Pho Claire
1201 38th Ave. N., Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 839-3889

Bring some adventure to your cultural palate at Pho Claire Vietnamese Noodle House, a hip, modern corner restaurant within the Food Lion Shopping Complex. There isn’t a bad seat in the house, with the dining room encased in natural light from the wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. Also stunning are the noodle dishes pieced together behind the counter of the open kitchen—either warm or cold noodle bowls, a healthy serving of cold rice vermicelli with your choice of fresh vegetables and proteins. A must-try is the restaurant’s namesake Pho, a hearty bowl of broth packed with rare beef, a meatball, beef tripe, beef tendon, beef brisket and a side of egg yolk, along with sorrel, bean sprouts, lime and cilantro. Another guaranteed go-to is the Banh Mi sandwich stacked with delicately sliced pork (or chicken or beef), cucumbers, pickled vegetables, cilantro, jalapenos, pate and mayo between a toasted baguette. 


Favorite Bakery

Pawleys Island Bakery
10517 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, 
(843) 237-3100

For the last decade, Pawleys Island Bakery has been the sweet spot, feeding the community with fresh-baked goods and treats with baking master Max Goree at the helm. Expect the glass cases to be filled with artisanal breads, bagels, doughnuts, muffins, scones, cakes, cupcakes and gourmet desserts. But what you can also expect at the bakery is a full lunch menu of deli sandwiches, soups and chicken or tuna salad—plus, breakfast sandwiches. Goree will even put together a platter of sandwiches for your next picnic or beach day. In addition to delicious everyday eats, their gorgeous custom wedding cakes help make a special day even more perfect. 


Favorite Vegan/Vegetarian

Bay Naturals
7611 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, (843) 448-0011
556 U.S. 17 N., North Myrtle Beach, (843) 272-4436

Feeling all-natural? Bay Naturals is well known in these parts for their healthy, homemade vegan- and vegetarian-friendly menu options since 1993. The market/restaurant dishes out veggie chili; a hummus burrito; “fakin” bacon, lettuce and tomato; egg-free, dairy-free vegenaise mayo; Beyond Burger; quiches; fresh organic smoothies; tofu breakfast scrambles and more for breakfast and lunch. (The North Myrtle Beach location has a more limited menu, juice bar and smoothie bar.) Choose to eat inside the cafe or alfresco under Bay Naturals’ covered patio. In front of the building is the health market, where you can shop before or after your meal for organic groceries, natural herbs, homeopathic medicines and more. 


Best Comeback

Chuck’s Steakhouse
9695 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 449-7611

Everyone loves a good comeback story, and Chuck’s has, in fact, cooked up one of these. The resuscitated Restaurant Row institution had closed its doors in April because of COVID-19, but, three months later, reopened under new ownership, with management and staff remaining the same. Solid support from the Chuck’s community was one of the reasons that helped the restaurant reopen. And we’re so glad they did. Because Chuck’s has the happiest happy hour cocktails and apps, like Chuck’s Bad Ax BBQ Sliders, Blackened Beef Tips and Shrimp Scampi. Pair them with a bevy of margaritas, martinis, wine and beer daily from 4–7 p.m. For a dinner, any of the steakhouse’s steaks or prime rib options promise to be prime.


Best Long-Time Favorites

Angelo’s Steak & Pasta
2311 South Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 626-2800

When you’ve hit the 40-plus-year milestone in the restaurant industry, you know you’re doing something right in your kitchen and your service for the neighborhood. Angelo’s namesake, owner Angelo Antonucci, is known as much for his philanthropic generosity to the Myrtle Beach community as he is for his “Greatest Steaks in the Universe.”  Their steaks are seriously mouth-watering—cut onsite, perfectly aged and seasoned, then served on a hot sizzling platter for extra effect. They suggest going even further and topping it with the garlic-bleu cheese butter. In addition to a menu of traditional Italian pasta dinners, like their beloved Chicken Marsala, another highlight is Anthony’s all-you-can-eat Italian buffet lined with all your favorites prepped for dinner (early bird special at 6 p.m.) and lunch on the weekends. Family-style meals to go and curbside takeout service are also offered.

Flamingo Grill
7050 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 449-5388

Tagged as a steak-seafood-pasta grill, the family-owned Flamingo Grill is a name all the locals have eaten up since they opened in 1986. The owners, both named Dino and born and raised in Myrtle Beach, designed the Flamingo to scream sexy art deco, from the neons outside to the fun, funky art inside. And they wanted the menu to be raved about, from the famous fried lobster bites to blackened prime rib to seared peppercorn tuna to Lowcountry crab cakes to Cajun fried shrimp, Italian pasta specialties and more.

Chestnut Hill
9922 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 449-3984

For more than 30 years, Chestnut Hill has proudly stood along Restaurant Row on the north end, strong and steadfast even through the pandemic. Even though, because of that, they’ve slimmed down their menu choices, they never slighted the high quality of seafood and steak offerings. You can’t go wrong with the Hill’s Bacon-Wrapped Scallops or Oysters Rockefeller appetizers. Follow that up with any of the hand-cut steaks or hearty seafood selections, like the fried platters, Seafood Florentine, Mixed Grills, crab legs and fresh flounder. It’s all served within the restaurant’s interior, reminiscent of a historic Myrtle Beach country club dressed in comfortable charm, with dark wood paneling, a huge brick fireplace and white linen-topped tables that overlook the backyard lake.

(Clockwise from above left) Rustic Table; 44 & King; Rivertown Bistro

Best Southern Fare Spots

44 & King
515 44th Ave. N., Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 626-5464

Put a little South in your mouth in this wildly creative Southern pub on the corner of 44th Avenue North and Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach. The front entrance is shaded under a family of live oaks, with corn hole set up on a grassy lawn, seating on a covered front porch, and the smell of smoked meat from a wood-burning grill. Inside, Chef Hoop likes to celebrate Southern traditions on the menu, with added modern flair, through dishes like fresh fried okra, chicken and waffle sliders, the Warm Dip Sampler (a creamy, smoked North Carolina redfish dip, pimento cheese, and spicy sausage with Rotel and cream cheese) paired with toasted baguettes and crispy pork rinds, the namesake King’s Burger (jalapeno pimento cheese and thick-sliced bacon topped with sweet tea collards), Chopped Barbecue Plate served with Carolina barbecue sauce and cornbread, and more

Rivertown Bistro
1111 3rd Ave., Conway, 
(843) 248-3733

Contemporary and Southern tradition go hand in hand here at this culinary staple in downtown Conway. Chef/owner Darren Smith knows his way around a Southern kitchen—but he also knows how to kick it up a notch—creating such cravings as the Fried Creek Shrimp and Calamari appetizer or the Lowcountry Spring Rolls app stuffed with chicken, spinach, tasso ham, cheddar and jack cheeses; the Down South Nori Sushi Roll packed with blackened catfish, a boiled peanut, pickled okra and smoked tomato ranch; and the Mixed Grill entree, featuring a Southern medley of a petite filet, shrimp, sausage, Coastal Grinds cheese grits, blistered tomato, corn, scallions, fried okra and red eye gravy.

Rustic Table
10683 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, 
(843) 314-0164

At a young age, chef and co-owner Adam Kirby, an Atlanta native, honed his culinary skills from two of the best Southern cooks he knew: his mom and grandmother. Today, he shows off his prowess at the Rustic Table via his diverse, upscale, Southern menu that spotlights Kirby’s style, described as Southern and Pacific Rim. Try the crispy fried chicken livers served with spicy ketchup; the fried chicken breast dinner with lima beans, mashed potatoes and brown gravy; the “Comfy” chicken sandwich served open faced on a house biscuit with sausage gravy and fries; or the Angus beef meatloaf dinner with mashed potatoes, brown gravy and collards. Finish it all off with homemade peach cobbler.

The Shack
1128 Sea Mountain Highway, North Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 663-3636

Open since 2010 at the former Biscuit Shack, The Shack owners Scott Childers and Todd Fineran decided to continue serving up the same style of Southern cooking that former owner Nora “Boots” Jordan had made a tradition for 40 years at the Cherry Grove restaurant. Only thing they changed was the name! You’ll definitely find something you like for breakfast, lunch and dinner, like the fried Shack Shrimp tossed in their homemade zesty sauce, seafood baskets, fried oyster sandwich or Dixie Chicken dinner smothered with bacon and melted Monterey Jack cheese. You and your family will love this casual, comfy place (and you’ll love the affordable prices, too).

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

Lovingly known by locals as the PIT, Pawleys Island Tavern is a hidden gem tucked under a canopy of live oaks down a lane off Ocean Highway. No need to dress up; the PIT is “classically shabby.” Just wear your dancing shoes for live music on the outdoor deck and bring your appetite. Southern comfort foods include the Lowcountry po’ boy with your choice of fried seafood; the pulled pork barbecue sandwich or plate with coleslaw, rice ’n gravy, housemade potato salad and cornbread; the fresh grouper basket; shrimp and grits; and their infamous crab cake plate. 

Bar 19 Twelve

Most Creative Cocktails

Bar 19 Twelve
1912 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 281-0997

1912 was a good year—and it is a good address, where Bar 19 Twelve shakes things up with some of the most creative cocktails you’ll ever put your lips on. Sit back and sip inside the swanky bar/lounge or outdoors on the deck of this repurposed wedding chapel that overlooks the Azalea Sands Golf Club; there’s even a bar area upstairs. The mixologists here call it all a classy-casual experience; you may consider it an art class or magic show in session that finishes with drinks that fizz, smoke and sparkle. You can’t go wrong with any of the creative craft cocktails, infused liquors and bourbons on the menu. And, to soak it all up, chef Vinny Tumminello creates made-from-scratch tapas, like charcuterie boards, seafood limoncello risotto, pulled pork poutine with hand-cut fries and more.

Strong Waters
2005A North Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 282-8912

You’ll want to sip on the vibes at Strong Waters all day. It’s the kind of place that pulls you in like a strong current and shakes things up—even if you can only stick around for a meal or a cocktail. Located directly across from The Breakers Resort, Strong Waters pours on a strong rustic-speakeasy/modern-industrial ambiance and, behind the bar, they pour on a “farm to shaker” method with their concoctions. Choose to flip through the drink menu of craft cocktails, whiskeys and wines or just go right for the Bartender’s Choice section. Choose two words from the list, and they do the rest: refreshing, tart, savory, fruity, sweet, fizzy, herbal, bitter, unusual, floral and smoky. It may lead you to their specialty drink, the Smokin’ Oldie, a bourbon cocktail that actually goes up in smoke in front of your eyes.

(Left) Crooked Oak Tavern; (Right) Hook & Barrel

Best Farm-to-Table Menus

Crooked Oak Tavern
328 Laurel St., Conway, 
(843) 488-0007

The Crooked Oak Tavern has made a name for itself in downtown Conway as a cornerstone of the brick-faced Black Water Market on 4th and Laurel. But it’s more about what they’re making in the kitchen that landed Crooked Oak on our list. They are truly committed to specializing in hormone-free, organic, farm-to-table menu offerings that include locally farmed meat, fish and produce. We suggest the flat iron steak locally sourced from WK Price Farms out of Fork, S.C., drizzled with a smoky blackberry glaze, and served with a fresh garden salad, fluffy mashed potatoes and a healthy serving of crisp, flavorful haricot verts. There’s also Crooked Oak’s version of shrimp and grits with creamy Parmesan cheese grits and fresh Carolina shrimp, Carolina Crunchy Dijon Flounder, and more.

919 Front St., Georgetown, 
(843) 461-9344

This newer restaurant in historic downtown Georgetown has laid its roots down in a menu of locally sourced offerings. It’s also a swanky fusion of modern, rustic and coastal-cool that transports you to the same vibes that are the norm in one of the many Charleston foodie hotspots. Choose to sit in booths in the dining room, in the back room that overlooks the Sampit River or at cafe tables outdoors along Front Street. When you’ve picked your spot, you’ll also love what you see on the menu, such as Southern Bouillabaisse, Shrimp Creole with locally caught shrimp, Meatball and Grits, and more.

Hook & Barrel
8014 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 839-5888

You’ll be hooked on Hook & Barrel when you realize how committed they are to serving locally sourced seafood, produce and ingredients in their eco-friendly restaurant on Heidi’s Corner. There’s the Fried Flounder and Grits in smoked tomato gravy, fresh oysters in the shell, fresh oyster stew prepared right in front of you at the steamer bar, or roasted chicken with local radishes, whipped potatoes and broccolini. But sustainability isn’t just served on a plate; Hook & Barrel also cooks with the most environmentally friendly equipment in the kitchen, uses eco-friendly paper products, and recycled the trees cut down on the property into construction materials inside when the restaurant was built in 2016. 


Locals' Favorites: South End

Bistro 217
10707 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, 
(843) 235-8217

The numbers 217 speak a beautiful language to clientele; for the owners, the Hardee family, it stands for their second restaurant and its location along Highway 17 (Ocean Highway). For years, Bistro 217 has been welcoming a parade of visitors through their charming courtyard entrance laced in ivy-laden walls and into their eclectic dining room inside. The bistro’s lunch and dinner menus are also colorfully eclectic, from the Hawaiian salad with the showpiece coconut shrimp to the Horseradish-Encrusted Pork Schnitzel to the 217 Eggplant Treasure Chest (local shrimp, scallops and grouper in a basil-parmesan cream sauce over fried eggplant) and beyond.

Chive Blossom Restaurant & Bar
85 North Causeway Road, Pawleys Island, 
(843) 237-1438

For the last 20 years, Chive Blossom has been the go-to dining experience for locals on the south end. Whether you’re dining indoors or alfresco in the courtyard under the shade of Lowcountry live oaks, the restaurant is chic, but not pretentious—which is exactly why folks return, time and again. It’s also the food and drinks, with owners/chefs Paul Kelly and Trina Renault orchestrating things in the kitchen to create Southern classics with a twist, influenced by Mediterranean, French and Asian cuisines. You’ll find only fresh, locally sourced seafood, meats and produce here, like Trina’s legendary crab soup, charred octopus, Asian noodles, Spring Vegetable Orzo and more. Take a seat at either the indoor or outdoor bar and sip on any of Chive’s extensive beer, wine and cocktail concoctions.

Hot Fish Club
4911 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, 
(843) 357-9175

Just as the original social club this restaurant was named after welcomed food and drink revelers a few miles south on Drunken Jack Island in 1792, today’s Hot Fish Club also has a long tradition of a place to gather and celebrate. Serving diners out of the oldest existing restaurant building on the Grand Strand, the club offers an indoor restaurant overlooking the marsh or an open-air gazebo and deck that borders Morse Landing. Expect local, fresh ingredients, like milk from local farms, fish from day boats and local produce. Try Club specialties, like the Lobster Pot Pie, Shrimp & Grits Hot Fish, Chargrilled Cobia caught right off the coast, a Lowcountry Steampot and more.

Frank’s & Frank’s Outback
10434 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, 
(843) 237-3030

The Frank’s namesake has a storied history, tracing back to the 1930s, when the building was formerly Marlow’s Supermarket, where gossip and groceries were picked up and the only phone on the island was available. Frank’s owner, Salters McClary, used to bag groceries for Frank Marlow and, after Marlow retired, Salters approached Frank about leasing the building. That was 1988. Today, Frank’s is nationally featured and locally loved—known to set the standard for Lowcountry dining. In 1992, the McClarys took over Marlow’s mother’s house behind the restaurant and transformed it into Frank’s Outback, a magical Secret Garden-style alfresco dining atmosphere.

13302 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, 
(843) 235-9193

Self-described as a restaurant serving “world cuisine with a Mediterranean focus,” Perrone’s is a smart, swanky south end spot where food, drink and service meet perfection. They now offer a new outdoor dining area, in addition to the cool confines of the dining room indoors. While the menu is ever-evolving, you can always expect balanced creations composed of many notes from around the world. A few highlights include the stuffed piquillo peppers or Bangkok mussels starters, the seafood risotta, Kashmiri poussin and lamb chops. Finish it with one of their serious infused-liquor cocktails crafted with housemade syrups and bitters.


Locals' Favorites: North End

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

Cross the state line into Calabash and you’ll find The Boundary House, where folks have been meeting up and eating up the tasty steaks and seafood they dish out here for years. Start with a bowl of their Calabash Seafood Gumbo or the famous Boundary House Salad (mixed greens, chopped eggs, tomatoes, sugar pecans, bacon and ham drizzled with honey mustard and hot bacon dressing), and continue with the Hurricane Chicken dinner, Cajun Seafood Pasta or Southern Style Pork Chops. And save room for their award-winning bread pudding a la mode for dessert!

2120 Sea Mountain Highway, North Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 280-5200

This locals’ favorite on the north end serves some of the best steaks, seafood and sushi with a delicious waterfront background of the Harbourgate Marina in Little River. Choose to dine indoors or outdoors at Capt’n Dilligaf’s Tiki Bar that overlooks the marina and the swing bridge on the Intracoastal. Either way, you’ll dig Filet’s food, like the Stuffed Flounder, the Pecan Chicken, the Blackened Shrimp Savannah, Grilled Oysters and tons of sushi options. You’ll be even happier during Filet’s daily happy hour from 4–7 p.m. … The mango margarita is a must!

Boardwalk Billy’s
1407 13th Ave. N., North Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 249-0900

Kick back and stay a while at Boardwalk Billy’s situated in the Doc Holiday’s Marina that overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway. The casual, family-friendly restaurant opened in 2013 and has been pleasing patrons on the north end ever since. Besides the unbeatable views and service, the restaurant offers a menu loaded with options, from wings and fish bites to burgers, sandwiches and wraps, to fried seafood and ribs, to sushi and more.

(Left) Crave Italian Oven & Bar; (Right) Dunes Bistro

Locals' Favorites: Myrtle Beach

Crave Italian Oven & Bar
5900 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 213-0500

If you haven’t dined at Crave, you at least know by the name that you’re in for a treat. Chefs start with the freshest available ingredients to create both classic Italian dishes and put modern twists on tradition. Order any of the dozens of pizzas baked in their open flame, New York-style brick oven, pastas or entrees, like Zuppa de Pesce. And a must is a sampling of any of Crave’s 75 different whiskeys or bourbons, craft martinis, or from some of the best Italian wines.

Aspen Grille
5101 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 449-9191

Over the years, Aspen Grille has set the standard in fine dining, from ambiance and service to masterful dinner entrees—each handcrafted from our local lands and waters. Make a reservation here and see for yourself why the restaurant continues to receive rave reviews. Melt-in-your-mouth dry-aged USDA Prime steaks take center stage, accompanied by the chef’s selection of sides. But there are also remarkable creations, like the Crispy Long Island Duck Breast, Australian Rack of Lamb and Stuffed North Carolina Flounder, to name a few.

Dunes Bistro
960 Cipriana Drive, Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 712-2212

Dunes Bistro, who invites you to wine, dine and dance, has quickly become a neighborhood favorite for locals and visitors alike. A variety of live music from talented musicians mingles with happy menu melodies. The crab crusted soft pretzel with jumbo lump crab and stout beer cheese sauce is a favorite appetizer. Casual comforts like burgers and sandwiches, salads, meatloaf and smothered chicken, plus a full sushi menu rolled by master chef Katsuyuki Tagosan from Nakato round out the delicious menu offerings. 


Best Wine Lists

Bistro 90
7209 SC-90, Longs, 
(843) 390-5151

Don’t let this restaurant’s rural location fool you. They know their way around fine dining and an award-winning wine list; in fact, they’re a seven-time Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner. From rosé to chardonnay, and all of those delicious varietals in between, Bistro 90’s nine-page wine list will have you swooning and coming back for more. Pair any of them with the bistro’s Italian specialties or steak cuts and you have a win-win.

New York Prime
405 28th Ave. N., Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 448-8081

When the word prime is in the name, you know they deliver only the best quality by the glass and in each bite. Known primarily as a steakhouse, New York Prime is also renowned for its encyclopedia of wine lists. You may have to study up on their list online before your visit—or let your knowledgeable server recommend one. Indulge in any of the exclusive reds, whites or bubblies from around the world by the glass or bottle. You can even experience the Coravin Wine System, which they pour by the glass without removing the cork, so oxygen never touches the wine in the bottle. 

Pizza Hyena

Favorite Pizza Spots

Ultimate California Pizza 
2500 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 626-8900 
(plus locations in Surfside Beach, North Myrtle Beach and The Market Common)

Divine Dining’s Ultimate California Pizza locations are synonymous with masterful, hand-crafted pizzas built from more than 70 different toppings. (Plus personal-sized gluten-free or cauliflower crusts.) Their “Gnarly Creations” include combinations like the Sonoma with smoked gouda, the Thai chicken and more. The kids can even order a peanut butter and jelly pizza!

9305 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, 
(843) 237-7900

The wood-fired pizza at Landolfi’s will blow you away. Flash-baked in a refractory clay oven from Tuscany, the Neapolitan-style pizza options include the Greek-themed Pizza Athena and the Trentonian, named after the oldest style of pizza in the U.S., layered first with buffalo/mozzarella, then San Marzano tomatoes and oregano. Your slice of heaven will be even finer with a glass of fine wine, microbrew or cocktail. 

Danny’s Authentic NY Pizza
11916 SC-707, Murrells Inlet, 
(843) 651-7437

Owner Danny Autz has made quite a name for himself in the Prince Creek Village Center by way of his popular pizza spot, Danny’s Authentic NY Pizza. His creative list of a dozen pies will wow you, such as Sir Meats A Lot loaded with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham and ground beef; the Buffalo Chicken Pie; and the Taco Pie. But that’s not all Danny has up his sleeve; the menu at this neighborhood favorite also features starters like fried calamari, garlic knots and pasta fiagoli soup, classic Italian entrees, heroes, Stromboli, calzones and cannoli for dessert. 

Pizza Hyena
13 South Ocean Blvd., Surfside Beach, 
(843) 945-9025

You’ll laugh, you’ll smile, you’ll want to come back for more at Pizza Hyena near the Surfside Beach Pier. Their “wild-fired” 10-inch personal, Neapolitan-style flatbread pizzas are one-of-a-kind, baked in their 700-degree oven shipped from Italy. And the names of each of the 22 pizzas will certainly be icebreakers: Funny as Shiitake, Belly Laugh with seared pork belly, Goudawill Hunting with smoked gouda and wild boar sausage, Kale Yeah with kale pesto, UR Bacon My Balls with applewood smoked bacon, Ricotta Be Kidding Me, This is Guacward with guac sauce and carnitas pork, Spam I Am, Prosciutto Your Eye Out Kid and more. Pair the pies with any of the craft beers on tap or by the bottle.

(Cloclwise from above left) Chesapeake House; Rockefellers Raw Bar; Mr. Fish Seafood

Freshest Seafood Spots

Chesapeake House 
9918 U.S. 17, Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 449-3231

Anchored on Myrtle Beach’s Restaurant Row, the Chesapeake House has been family owned and operated since 1971. That’s quite a feat in itself, along with their successful tradition of serving up fresh, local seafood to tourists and locals alike. For starters, folks can’t get enough of the fried Cajun shrimp or oysters, Uncle Bill’s World Famous Fish Stew, Chesapeake Baked Flounder, fried seafood platters and soft shelled crabs, the area’s best Deviled Crab, and Carolina Crab Cakes. Save room for their infamous cinnamon rolls made fresh daily in the restaurant’s bakery. 

Lee’s Inlet Kitchen
4460 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, 
(843) 651-2881

Lee’s Inlet Kitchen is a senior citizen at 71 years old, but they still catch and release some of the freshest seafood here on the coast. The same family operates the restaurant originally opened by Pearl and Eford Lee in a converted country store. The same Murrells Inlet-style seafood recipes they used are also still used today, which has served them well. Recipes like their hand-breaded calamari, their house specialty homemade crab cake made with fresh Carolina crab meat, their award-winning she crab soup and red Inlet-style clam chowder, Mrs. Lee’s famous shrimp salad, shrimp Creole, the popular baked stuffed fillet of flounder and more. 

Rockefellers Raw Bar
3613 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 361-9677

Rock on to Rockefellers, where fresh seafood reigns supreme in different schools of preparation. The longtime North Myrtle Beach raw bar tops its menu with oyster offerings, like their traditional oysters Rockefeller, oysters on the half shell (raw or steamed), fried oysters, or an oyster shooter—a brave combination of beer, cocktail sauce, horseradish, jalapeno, hot sauce and one raw oyster. Go light with either the Rockefellers Salad or Caesar Salad and top with grilled or Cajun spiced shrimp or grouper. Or go all in and treat yourself to one of Rockefellers’ infamous steam kettles swimming with fresh, piping-hot seafood steamed in your choice of Old Bay and beer, wine and garlic herb butter, marinara, or Fra Diablo (Alfredo sauce is a $2 upcharge). Your fresh-steamed seafood of choice is served with Parmesan cheese, with the exception of the Old Bay and beer crawfish option; additional seafood selections are shrimp, mussels, scallops, shrimp and scallops, “Priddy” spicy shrimp, clams, or a “golfers special” with just about everything thrown into the kettle.

Mr. Fish Seafood Restaurant
6401 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 839-3474 (restaurant); (843) 492-0374 (seafood market)

Mr. Fish, also known as owner Ted Hammerman, has a lifetime passion for the fish industry and sharing that with others in the community. His long-running restaurant and seafood market feature menus that are creatively eclectic—and all things seafood, from Crab Rangoon, Crab Balls and Grouper Bites to the Chilympics award-winning Shmaxy’s Smoked Tuna Chili to steamed and raw seafood to sushi, sashimi and nigiri. The Seafood Market also offers a smattering of fresh catch combo platters prepared in a variety of cooking styles, sandwiches and wraps, steam pots, raw bar and their award-winning Banh Mi taco. They’ll also pack up their fresh seafood for your travels, cater your next event, and sell homemade sauces, seasonings and kitchen accessories. 


Best Places to Eat as a Family

River City Cafe
404 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 448-1990 
(plus 6 additional locations across Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet and Surfside Beach)

The kids will love the carefree spirit and friendly smiles at any of the seven River City Cafe locations. They can shell and throw peanuts on the floor, check out all of the license plates on the wall, and crayon all over the butcher paper tablecloth. The kids’ menu options are a choice of a hamburger, cheeseburger, mac and cheese, hot dog, corn dog, grilled cheese, or chicken nuggets served with fries, Doritos, Cheetos, banana or applesauce. Mom and Dad will love any of the dozens of infamous RCC burger combinations and hand-cut fries. 

Hanser House
14360 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, 
(843) 235-3021

Your family will feel right at home at the Hanser House. The family-owned restaurant takes extra care with their patrons of all ages, with attentive service at the table and warm Southern hospitality at the front door. They cater to all types of palate preferences, which is important when you have picky eaters. For the kids, there are options such as fried creek shrimp and grilled cheese, which are served with French fries and apple sauce. Added bonus is that kids’ meals are served up on a Frisbee to take home. All menu selections in the House are locally sourced. The Grilled Fantail Shrimp entree is a must-try, served with a fresh house salad, their famous hushpuppies and jalapeno fried grits. Their seasonal, local oyster roasts are also delicious, as well as the Hanser Family She Crab Soup, a secret family recipe that’s been dished out for generations.

Johnny D’s
3301 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, (843) 448-6789
3900 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach, (843) 663-1700

Award-winning Chef Jamie Daskalis kicks it up a notch for her breakfast, without raising the prices—important for families on a budget. An Early Bird menu is available from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m., featuring $5 specials that include coffee or drink of your choice. The regular breakfast menu lists loads of omelets, egg combos, and, of course, a wide variety of homemade Belgian waffles, including the award-winning Red Velvet. Plus, skillets, pancakes, sandwiches, healthy eats and more. Beyond the incredible food and service, Chef Jamie also lends a helping hand to the community as a strong advocate for autism awareness. Her son, James, was diagnosed with autism at three years old and she’ll often host sensory-friendly events at Johnny D’s.

(Left) Croissants Bistro & Bakery; (Right) Barefoot Bistro

Best Brunch Date Spots

Croissants Bistro & Bakery
3751 Robert M. Grissom Parkway, Myrtle Beach, (843) 448-2253
8014 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, (843) 448-2253

Bonjour, y’all! Croissants has been part of the Myrtle Beach community since 1995 and, unlike its name, is known for much more than croissants. Two Croissants locations serve up in-house freshly roasted coffee, homemade breakfast classics, smoothies, breakfast pastries, their infamous Bananas Foster French Toast, plus a variety of delicious sandwiches and salads. 

Barefoot Bistro
3914 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 663-0534

The Barefoot Bistro does the kind of brunch at 11 a.m. that will knock you off your feet—that’s for both early birds and late wakeups. There are the chicken and waffles, featuring Mikey’s famous fried chicken placed on a sugar-spun waffle and topped with sausage gravy and maple syrup or hot honey, huevos rancheros and Eggs Barebelly (pork belly layered with two poached eggs atop an English muffin and drizzled with Hollandaise sauce).

Blueberry’s Grill
7931 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 945-4588
4856 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 945-4588

The foundation of all the brunch items here is fresh ingredients. Which is why a morning must-stop is Blueberry’s Grill, where Chef Evi has put a creative spin on the breakfast classics. Opened in 2017, Blueberry’s has been wowing locals and visitors with unique offerings, like the Trio Kale Omelet, Granola & Chobani, Wild Smoked Salmon Croissant, a host of sweet treats, Benedicts, omelets, sandwiches and skillets. Complete your meal with a specialty mojito, bloody Mary, mimosa or mule. 

The Oyster Rock

Best Dinners with a View

1210 North Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 945-1204

The oceanfront RipTydz beach bar/restaurant is an architectural marvel. The three-level, 17,000-plus-square-foot, 500-seat restaurant is stunning at every footstep, inside and out—especially as you walk closer toward the Atlantic, where the building opens up and offers a picture-perfect bird’s eye view of the ocean. On warm days, the salt breeze blows through the ceiling rafters and between the wood pilings that support the roof of the open air setting. The third floor houses a rooftop bar, complete with drinks from the bar top, colorful wicker seating, TVs and a killer view. And the views taste as good as they look, with a menu of fresh seafood towers and steamers, sandwiches, burgers, tacos and more.

Austin’s Ocean One
1 Norris Drive (in The Oceanfront Litchfield Inn), Pawleys Island, 
(843) 235-8700

One of the number one views of the ocean, tableside, is on 1 Norris Drive, where Austin’s Ocean One has called home for so many years. It’s almost like a locals’ secret (until now), with practically a hidden restaurant entrance to the inn’s second floor. Once you reach the top of the stairs, you’ll be blown away by the panoramic ocean views accessible from any seat. You’ll also love Austin’s casual-fine dining surrounds and eclectic, locally sourced menu. Try the Fried Green Tomato Tower stacked with goat cheese, sautéed spinach and tomato vinaigrette; the fresh catch; the Lowcountry Chicken; the Pistachio and Ginger Crusted Grouper with Thai basil and blue crab sauce; and so many more. And take advantage of Austin’s on-staff sommelier for the perfect pairing!

Sea Captain’s House
3002 North Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 448-8082

Standing oceanfront since the 1940s, the cozy beach cottage that is Sea Captain’s House has been welcoming guests through their front door with memorable seafood and Southern hospitality. And then there’s the unforgettable ocean views from the dining areas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try their award-winning she crab soup, the fresh boiled and chilled shrimp salad, Southern fried chicken topped with a fig jam, jambalaya and seafood platters. (They also offer gluten-free and vegetarian menus.) And make sure you save room for any of their homemade desserts crafted by their in-house pastry chef, like the hummingbird cake, a Southern favorite with layers of spice cake, made with pecans, pineapple, banana, and cream cheese frosting, or the chocolate bourbon pecan pie.

The Oyster Rock
9931 Nance St., Calabash, N.C., 
(910) 579-6875

The Oyster Rock is a pretty pearl along the Calabash River, docked amidst shrimp boats and still waters. The front of the waterfront restaurant could be likened to a lighthouse tower, with a Vegas-style blue neon rotating oyster shell sign. The back patio and boardwalk, however, is the showstopper, with alfresco seating and brilliant views of the water. Pair that with the Rock’s incredible dinner and drink menu, featuring creations such as succulent Ragin’ Cajun Oysters, charcuterie boards, pit-roasted oysters in the custom-built outdoor pit, Deep Treasure diver scallops, Mahi tacos, Heritage Hog pork chops, and so much more.

Dirty Don’s Oyster Bar & Grill

Best Places for a Post-Beach Beverage

Dirty Don’s Oyster Bar & Grill
910 North Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 213-1632 
(plus a location in North Myrtle Beach and a second location in Myrtle Beach at 21st Ave. N.)

Shake the sand off your flip flops, climb up onto the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and step foot inside Dirty Don’s for a glass of your fave beer, wine or frozen cocktail. Three locations add up to more fun, but any one you choose offers happy hour Monday through Friday from 4–6 p.m., with specials on drinks and munchies. Some standout sips include Patrick’s Painkiller, The Cyclone, the two for $10 classic shots and the pitcher specials that also come with a free T-shirt so you can remember your visit (well, maybe).

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

Cheers to Cabana Cafe! To all the years of serving as the pit stop for hydrating after baking on the white sands of Pawleys. There’s no better place to cool off than this open air beach bar overlooking the dunes and Litchfield Inn’s pool oasis, while catching the sea breeze and the sounds of live beach music. Add to that a cold draft beer or a frozen drink in your hand and you have the perfect day. The Cabana is open through December, so hurry up!

Inlet Provision Company
4891 U.S. 17, Murrells Inlet, 
(843) 299-2444

If you’re beaching on the south end of the Strand, swing by the IPC for a beverage at the bar or on the back deck. Located south of the MarshWalk, IPC offers a full list of craft beers, wine and bubblies, plus a section of Crafty Cocktails. We suggest the refreshing Seasonal Sangria, a blend of red and rosé wines, and the MIM, or Murrells Inlet Mule, the local version of a Moscow Mule shaken and poured into a copper cup. Just the right concoction to cool things off on a summer’s eve before the sun sets.

Wild Wing Cafe
4706 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 361-9464

For north end beachgoers—or boaters docking off the waterway—take a timeout at Wild Wing Cafe in Barefoot Landing and tip back a couple cold drinks. The sports bar is a comfortable spot to chill and unwind with friends and family. And the full bar offers beverage service with a smile, tapping into a lengthy list of craft beers and cocktails for rounds of fun. Hold on tight!


Best Places to Celebrate a Special Occasion

21 Main
719 North Beach Blvd., North Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 315-3000

This is the venue to gather and graze in only the classiest way. At 21 Main, located in North Beach Resort, the chefs are masters at putting a traditional steakhouse menu on another level. In addition to their specialty cuts, pork, poultry and seafood entrees, they’ve recently revealed a two-course prix fix menu that will have you feeling like royalty. Add to the experience a recommended bottle from the in-house sommelier from their award-winning wine list and unparalleled service and you’ll want to make 21 Main a celebratory tradition. Special events are a common occurrence here in either of the two spacious private rooms; one overlooks the courtyard and both boast balconies.

10008 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, (843) 237-8245
7915 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, (843) 712-2238

Gios Italian Kitchen is a treasured reservation you’ll want to make. Open since 2014 in Pawleys Island, the all-star Italian restaurant is run to perfection by three siblings: brothers/chefs Klodjan & Renato Hoxha and sister/GM Eri Hoxha (their parents are also involved in the restaurant). The Hoxhas, originally from Albania, moved to the United States in 2003, bringing 15 years’ experience in cooking. They use only the freshest ingredients (and some of the best marinara on the Strand) in menu items like the Meatball Gios first course, fresh pasta entrees, Renato’s Favorite (shrimp, mushrooms, broccolini, sun-dried tomatoes, creamy alfredo, fettuccini) and more. A second location is now open in Myrtle Beach.   

Joe’s Bar & Grill
810 Conway St., North Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 272-4666

For more than 30 years, Joe’s Bar & Grill has been a North Myrtle Beach casual-fine dining landmark, but also the town’s best-kept secret. Folks don’t want to share their favorite spot! You and your crew can choose to sit inside at one of the white linen-topped tables or outside at Joe’s Raccoon Cove Deck Bar. Either way, you’ll be treated to the finest fare, such as the smoked salmon starter served with sour cream and caviar, lollipop lamb chops and Shrimp Louis—just to name a few.

Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse
2920 Hollywood Drive, Myrtle Beach, (843) 839-0777
1315 U.S. 17 N., North Myrtle Beach, (843) 492-9777

Whether your family is celebrating a special occasion or you need to book a bigger area, Rioz will serve you with unforgettable memories. Start with a toast of your cocktail and then head to a salad bar on steroids, their fresh market selection of hot and cold seasonal items, including seafood and sushi. When those plates are cleared, let the dining entertainment begin, when Brazilian gauchos bring out a continuous round of staked meats until you tell them to stop—15 different sizzling meats, to be exact, in cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and poultry.

Cafe Piccolo

Best Alfresco Dining Spots

Clark’s Seafood & Chop House
720 U.S. 17, Little River, 
(843) 399-8888

Overlooking Coquina Harbor, Clark’s offers the kind of alfresco dining atmosphere you want to bottle up and take home with you. The Little River inlet is the backdrop from your seat anywhere on the gorgeous back covered patio or at the outdoor bar. Watching boats come and go from the marina is Zen-like. Order something from the extensive wine list or one of their specialty martinis or cocktails. And don’t miss out on Clark’s chargrilled USDA Choice steaks or any of their fresh, local seafood dishes.

Sara J’s Seafood Restaurant
314 Atlantic Ave., Garden City, 
(843) 651-1657

Just before the causeway that crosses into Garden City Beach sits a beloved family-owned, fresh seafood restaurant, Sara J’s. Alfresco dining on the wrap-around covered porch overlooks the inlet marsh; depending on the tide, you’ll either have views of the water or oyster beds peeking out of the pluff mud. This is a restaurant that loves its family patrons; the family owners also love to fish, so it’s worth a trip inside to see all of their prized catches hanging on the walls, like a blue marlin weighing in at a whopping 507 pounds!

Caffe Piccolo
9428 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, 
(843) 314-3424

Caffe Piccolo plays a beautiful melody in the harmony of alfresco dining. The intimate patio exudes a peaceful ambiance for all the senses, surrounded by the shade of trees, strings of lights, a water fountain and outdoor stone fireplace. Open since September 2010, Caffe Piccolo is charming and classy-casual, with a wall-sized chalkboard inside listing the daily fish, veal and scallop specials and a menu centered on homemade Italian food. It’s not as much dining out as it is a dining experience.

Greg Norman Australian Grille
4930 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach, 
(843) 361-0000

Greg Norman’s is one of the best things in the alfresco world outside of Australia. The Australian heritage restaurant in Barefoot Landing that overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway has been a popular hub since 1999. One of the many reasons for its success is the waterfront seating along the patio for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. You can even arrive by boat, using the 225 feet of dock space next the restaurant’s deck. In the cooler months, you can cozy up to the outdoor fire pit with a glass of wine from their award-winning wine list. Year-round, you’ll love sitting down to sample any of their spectacular steak and seafood creations.

Big Tuna
807 Front St., Georgetown, 
(843) 546-1045

A locals’ favorite, Big Tuna Restaurant and Raw Bar offers some of the best seats on historic Georgetown’s Harbor Walk. The back deck is the perfect spot to drink in the sunset views of the Sampit River, sip the coldest beer in town, and people watch passersby (or boat watch). Expect to be treated to the freshest local seafood, which is caught and brought in by the owner, like their famous whole fried flounder served golden crispy scored into bite-size diamond shapes. Make a point to venture inside and say hello to the Big Tuna’s parrot, Sassy! 



Photographs by Scott Smallin; Emily Moore and Courtesy of Divine Dining; Courtesy of Cafe Old Vienna and Pho Claire; Courtesy of Pawleys Island Bakery; Bay Naturals and Chuck’s Steakhouse; Robert H. Norris III and Ted Waters; courtesy of Rivertown Bistro; Courtesy of Rustic Table; Samantha Jean Becker (2) and Courtesy of Strong Waters; Bobby Altman and Jon Stell (2); Paul Grimshaw and Courtesy of Frank’s; Catie Todd; Emily Moore (2) and Jon Stell (2); Scott Smallin, Jon Stell and Courtesy of New York Prime; Carl Kerridge and Courtesy of Chesapeake House, Lee’s Inlet Kitchen and Rockefellers; courtesy of River City Cafe and Hanser House; Courtesy of Croissants and Barefoot Bistro; courtesy of Sea Captain’s House and The Oyster Rock; courtesy of Dirty Don’s and Wild Wing Cafe; Christopher Shane (3) and Courtesy of 21 Main and Gios; courtesy of Clark’s and Caffe Piccolo; courtesy of Big Tuna