Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s has a special place in their hearts for food, fun and family
Jimmy Buffett may have a cheeseburger in paradise (oh, and a wee place called Margaritaville), but his little sister, Lucy, has nailed the recipe for a venue specializing in family-focused dining and entertainment with her newly opened Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s—North Myrtle Beach.
A bright, whimsical warehouse situated on the eastern bank of the Intracoastal, LuLu’s is located in a new section of Barefoot Landing next door to Greg Norman’s, one of the center’s original restaurants, and the new Taco Mundo Kitchen y Cantina on the other. A new amphitheater was also just built nearby.
The massive 20,000-square-foot building can seat 500 diners under its rainbow-colored roof and on the wrap-around patio, but we definitely didn’t feel like just a number on our visit for lunch on a hot summer day. That’s because Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s is no stranger to making a mark in Southern hospitality, with two sister waterfront locations already serving up family fun, food and music in Destin, Florida, and Gulf Shores, Alabama.
The interior is decked out in marine-industrial, with exposed ductwork, humming ceiling fans, nautical hanging lamps and garage doors pulled open wide to let in the cool breeze off the waterway and views of the marina. You can even travel here by boat and dock right at LuLu’s.
Our party of nine was seated in the main dining room around a large table of Adirondack chairs. But it was a rookie mistake that we won’t make next time, as we should have requested one of the tables laid out on the partially enclosed patio that bordered a cool beach play area for the kids, complete with beach toys, a cascading bucket Fountain of Youth splash area, cornhole and picnic tables. It’s the perfect distraction for toddlers who can’t sit still for a few minutes, yet alone the duration before the food arrives.
And when it does, you’ll be pleasantly pleased with the Southern specialties LuLu’s dishes out. Sometimes when a venue hits all the hot points of waterfront views, ambiance and entertainment, something has to give, and it’s usually the quality of the food. Not so here! A few of the choices at our table included the Fried Oyster Po’Boy, which had a crunch from the toasted French bread and oyster breading, paired with a fresh bite from the juicy oysters. A couple additional orders were from the Favorites section: the best-selling, open-faced Crab Melt spread with Swiss and cheddar cheeses, onion and mayo on toasted French bread and the classic Shrimp & Grits in a Tasso and tomato cream sauce.
Also much-appreciated from this mom are the options of ordering the kids grilled (not just fried) chicken and shrimp, as well as healthier sides like green beans and mixed fruit—not just fries. LuLu’s even takes extra care for those who have food sensitivities and allergies with their special allergy menus (gluten, egg, seafood, shellfish, dairy, and soy), and a separate section of the kitchen for preparation.
Play Date: LuLu’s outdoor seating and kids’ play area is a great way to enjoy alfresco dining.
We’ll have to go back for many happy returns to try LuLu’s Famous Seafood Gumbo and the Smoked Tuna Dip. Also in our sights is the specialty “Pa-Menna” Cheeseburger, a half-pound burger stacked with “pa-menna” cheese (pimento cheese), bacon, fried green tomatoes and French fries. Sides like the onion rings (hand-breaded and seasoned in-house) and desserts like the Hot Fun Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding also beckon to be tasted.
That afternoon, a live band was getting set up to kick things up beside the bar, where a drink menu includes libations from the blender, the tap, under the cork and anything in between (like all of their margaritas on the rocks).
Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s in North Myrtle Beach is a bright ray of sunshine for families amidst the restaurant selections at Barefoot Landing and confirms they live up to their mission statement of celebrating food, family and fun.
Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s
4954 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach, SC 29587
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
PHOTOGRAPHS BY (3) MIKE BUCK PHOTOGRAPHY AND (2) JON STELL