Bless This Food

December 2021
Written By: 
Ashley Daniels
Photographs by: 
Scott Smallin

The Parson’s Table has been a longtime devout dining destination on the Grand Strand

Doxology: The start of service includes appetizers, including to-die-for Oysters Rockefeller and Sesame Seared Tuna.

Although The Parson’s Table hasn’t been an operational church since the early 1950s, you can still expect to have a religious experience at this iconic restaurant. 

The Little River fine dining mainstay on the corner of McCorsley Avenue and Highway 17 has been converting countless patrons into believers over the last four decades, with its impeccable, creative spin on traditional dishes, five-star service and unique surrounds. 

From the outside, the historic building is humble, like a small country church. Originally, it was actually the First Little River Methodist Church, dating back to 1885. Open the double 150-year-old antique front doors and inside, it’s heavenly. High ceilings, most of the original hand-hewn heart of pine floors throughout the five dining rooms, cypress walls, a large main chandelier and a gallery of stained glass windows all pieced together from the Mullins Baptist Church, the White Mansion in Lumberton and the stained and beveled glass collection of Toby Frye. Frye, a Little River local and previous owner of the restaurant, moved the church that was to become The Parson’s Table two blocks south, to its current location.

Our Saturday night dinner was nothing less than exceptional, from the time we were seated at our corner table to the moment we signed the check and waited on the front restaurant/church stoop for our Uber. 

We dove right in with drinks: a Manhattan and a berry-blended Cosmo. For an appetizer, we went with a classic, but only The Parson’s Table could make it their own. Their Oysters Rockefeller were creamy bites of spinach, heavy cream, bacon, and a splash of Tabasco layered into each of the open-faced shells. If this was any indication of what was to come in our main course, we couldn’t wait to dig into our dishes. The delectable food is why the landmark restaurant, led by the illustrious culinary expertise of executive chef/owner Ed Murray, is a leader in the large menu of restaurants on the Grand Strand, scooping up awards both locally and nationally every year.

Choosing an entrée this evening was difficult, as there are so many delicious choices and combinations. I finally decided on a small plate of the Seared Sea Scallops, pan-seared in a maple-ginger-soy glaze with a side of perfectly cooked haricot vert green beans. First of all, the small plate was plenty for me, featuring a cluster of plump, melt-in-your-mouth scallops. Hallelujah! Another scallop entrée alternative on the menu is Parson’s Little River Shrimp and Scallops, sauteed with chopped pecans and mushrooms in a lemon butter sauce. 

My husband couldn’t wait to dig into the Seared Swordfish dinner special, served with haricot vert green beans and fingerling potatoes and a blue cheese cream sauce melted over the swordfish. This chef had nothing but nods and accolades for The Parson’s Table chef. Two fresh side salads arrived before our entrees. And we paired our dinner with a nice bottle of cabernet. 

(Left to right) The Benediction: Entrees like the Braised Beef Short Rib are a perfect way to close dinner service; Inside and out, there's so much to love about this restaurant; The Saint of Soups: The She Crab Soup at Parson's Table has us singing its praises.

A sampling of other menu highlights that may intrigue foodies include the Baked Brie en Brioche appetizer, served in Melba sauce and toasted almonds, the bacon-wrapped filet mignon (6 or 8 ounces) kissed with any of their sauces (Bearnaise, Port Wine Demi Glaze, Green Peppercorn-Brandy or Maitre D’Butter), the Slow-Roasted Prime Rib specialty, cashew-encrusted New Zealand Rack of Lamb, Sesame-Seared Tuna and so many more. An early-bird menu is available from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

We finished off our dinner by sharing a dessert drink (I mentioned earlier that we took an Uber–thank you, Captain Dave!): The Classic Grasshopper, an intoxicating blend of green Cream de Menth, white Cream de Cacao and vanilla ice cream. Think a delicious Thin Mint Cookie, just sipped in a straw for grown-ups. 

I would return, again and again, to worship the dinner service at The Parson’s Table. From the unsurpassed food, service and ambiance, it’s hands-down a fine dining table where I want to be seated. 
And all the people said, “Amen.” 

Book your holiday reservations now!
4305 McCorsley Ave., Little River
Mon.-Sat., 4:30-9 p.m. (closed Sun.)