44 & King serves up Southern pub fare with royal flair
Slice through the careful, intentional layers within the thick Bought the Farm sandwich, the yolk bursting out of the medium-fried egg and oozing down the toasted wheat bread, and it’s a lot like the layered personality of 44 & King, where this sandwich is hand-crafted, plated and served.
The new Southern pub on the outskirts of the old Pine Lakes neighborhood at the corner of 44th Avenue North and Kings Highway is hip, but not pretentious. It’s creative without trying too hard. It’s comfortable, but classy-cool. It’s edgy, rounded out with soft touches. And it’s authentic, through and through.
From either parking lot you decide to use—off 44th or King—you’ll meander toward the front entrance shaded under a family of live oaks that stand tall in an area that looks like an inviting park, with cornhole set up on a grassy lawn, seating on a covered front porch, the smell of smoked meat from a wood-burning grill, and music pumped out of speakers mounted in the trees.
The sunlight and fresh air from the outdoors filter into the inside of the restaurant, with a large garage door open at the bar and wraparound windows. A 44 & King mural is painted across the white brick wall and layered wood-paneled corner, while industrial dome lighting hangs from terracotta-colored ceilings with punches of peacock blue. Detailed craftsmanship is inlaid wherever the eye can see. Also embedded throughout is the pub’s branded crown and a moustache, something worn by most of the servers on our visit, including ours, who also wore a warm smile.
Lunchtime called for drinks sans alcohol, which still offers a unique selection of sodas by a local bottler (in other words, no Coke or Pepsi products). If you’re at 44 & King and want to order a round of something stronger, the drink menu delivers a smattering of locally brewed draft beers, bottled beers, draft and bottled wines, cocktails and local spirits.
Food also reigns here, starting with elevated concoctions of Southern comfort pub grub, like corn fried chicken bog on a stick dipped into sweet corn batter and served with a side of collards and hot sauce; a charcuterie board; chicken and waffle sliders; or the pan-fried bacon artichoke fritter that’s also stuffed with ricotta and paired with roasted pepper salad and fried capers.
We started with the Warm Dip Sampler, a trifecta of Southern specialties—creamy, smoked North Carolina redfish dip; pimento cheese; and spicy sausage with Rotel and cream cheese—placed beside a pile of toasted baguettes and crispy pork rinds. Dip after dip, each one was delish, but the redfish was my favorite.
Now, back to that Bought the Farm sandwich, my main course selection. Packed in between toasted wheat bread are slices of roasted chicken deli meat, thick bacon, goat cheese, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, Bibb lettuce and that glorious fried egg. It’s all brought to the table on a brushed silver tray with a mound of grate fries with rosemary and a cup of broccoli-kale coleslaw. Full of fresh ingredients, the refreshing sandwich combination was a hefty portion and was enough for another meal at home.
My husband ordered the Big Boss Man sandwich without the Texas toast and with the fork and knife option. Tender, spiced pulled pork butt nicely blended with chipotle pimento cheese and house-spiced pickles for a lunch concoction that had him often reaching for his sweet tea, but scraping his tray clean.
For even heartier lunch and dinner options, 44 & King offers their own advanced version of the “meat and two” protein and side dinner combos, from pork and poultry to beef and seafood—only the choices are classier, like wood-grilled quail, New York strip and steamed crab legs, along with sides such as quinoa, redneck caviar, cream custard mac ’n’ cheese and more. If you’re up for sharing, try the 44 & King namesake dinner for four: a 44-ounce wood-grilled porterhouse, a pound of king crab legs and two sides. Or meet up for happy hour for half-price pub grub specials and drink discounts.
The back of the house, led by chef “Hoop,” pulls out all the culinary stops in preparation and presentation. You can tell his creative mind is always in creative mode. And that’s the legacy that will allow this little kingdom on the corner to rule for years to come.
44 & King
515 44th Ave. N.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight daily