Russell’s serves seafood in the relaxed style of old Murrells Inlet
Before Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989 and long before the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk had even been thought of, a few restaurants had been making a big splash of their own with fresh local seafood and a strong following since the 1940s. For the better part of three decades, Russell’s Seafood Grill and Raw Bar has continued that tradition, one that owner Russell Vereen was born into.
Young Vereen, a busboy and dishwasher from an early age at his parents’ eatery, the Wayside Restaurant, found opportunity as a young man in 1993 to open Russell’s. Nance’s Creek Front Restaurant was destroyed during Hurricane Hugo and rebuilt. Vereen salvaged the building that served as Nance’s raw bar, cocktail bar and waiting area, moved it across the street, raised it off the ground, and opened it as Russell’s.
The dining room has around 12 large four-top tables that are moved to suit parties of varying sizes. The entire south wall of the dining room is glass, affording crystal clear views.
My server, Ricky Brach, who’s been at Russell’s for 15 years, talked me out of my first choice, oysters Rockefeller ($9.50) and a house salad ($6.95), for one of the five daily specials. I chose Grouper Creole ($29.95) with a side salad. The large portion of fresh grouper was delivered hot, flakey and moist, served on top of white rice and buried underneath a ton of chunky, mild tomato creole consisting of stewed tomatoes, whole cocktail shrimp, green peppers, onions and celery, coupled with two large pieces of garlic toast. It was more than I could eat, and that’s saying something.
Russell’s is ultra casual with a menu split between seafood dishes and grilled beef and chicken, with plenty of options. Full dinner entrees with sides average around $23. Calabash-styled fried seafood baskets run around $15. Burgers and sandwiches are $11.95–$14.95. Starters include clams casino, oysters Rockefeller, shrimp cocktail, crab dip and more, most around $9. Raw oysters and clams are available by the half-dozen ($9.95), and cold or steamed peel–and-eat shrimp by the half–pound ($11.75). A kids’ menu is available and includes options like chicken fingers, grilled cheese, a burger or a shrimp basket ($8.25).
Want to share? Split plates are available for an additional $6.25 and include an extra side salad and potato.
For the taste and relaxed style of old Murrells Inlet, Russell’s is worth the trip.
Russell’s Seafood Grill and Raw Bar
4906 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet
Hours: 4–10 p.m. Monday through Saturday through October; 4–10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday in November. Closed December 1 through February 13.