As the weather warms up, the beaches of the Palmetto State start calling — but after a full day of surf and sand, you’ll need to refuel. Check out restaurants
As the weather warms up, the beaches of the Palmetto State start calling — but after a full day of surf and sand, you’ll need to refuel. Check out restaurants on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast for a tour of tastes that includes everything from fried flounder and award-winning she-crab soup to fried chicken and squash casserole.
Many come to the Hammock Coast for our pristine beaches, but beyond the surf and sand, visitors discover rich American history, award-winning golf, world-renowned Brookgreen Gardens, beautiful Huntington Beach State Park, and myriad outdoor adventures. Your perfect Hammock Coast vacation awaits!
Pawleys Island Tavern: This casual Lowcountry restaurant serves up half-pound Angus beef burgers, pizzas, and seafood dishes that use fresh, local catch. Fan favorites include the crab cakes — made with jumbo lump crab meat — and the blackened mahi-mahi served over stone-ground yellow grits. Enjoy one of the rotating local craft beers from Holy City Brewing or Quest Brewing while listening to live bands three to four nights a week under a ceiling papered with dollar bills — decor that owner Rebecca Davis calls “eclectic shabby.”
Local Eat Drink Celebrate: John Dabrowski, who co-owns Local Eat Drink Celebrate with Keith Estabrook, worked in the beer industry before becoming a restaurateur. Now, it’s his goal to serve as many dishes as possible that are cooked with beer — like the waffle combo made with New South Brewing’s Drink a Peach wheat ale, perfectly paired with a peach liqueur-spiked mimosa. The restaurant features three distinct atmospheres: “Eat,” a family-friendly dining room overlooking a playground; “Drink,” an 18-and-up taproom and dining room featuring a live-edge walnut bar; and “Celebrate,” an upstairs banquet hall that can be rented for special occasions.
Hanser House: Juanita Hanser had worked in the restaurant industry since she was 17 years old and often dreamed of opening her own place. Finally, in her 50s, she opened Hanser House with her son Heath, serving up the same traditional seafood that the family ate at home. “We grew up eating shrimp, flounder — stuff you could catch in the creek,” Heath says. Grab a table in the front dining room and start off with the prize-winning she-crab soup beneath Juanita’s wedding dress — the family had it framed for her 50th wedding anniversary — or pull up a chair on the front porch and sip on a can of South Carolina brewery Tidal Creek Brewhouse’s Harmonic Hefeweizen.
Quigley’s Pint and Plate: Litchfield Beach’s only brew-pub sports eight rotating taps, featuring favorites like the Longboard Lager and the Swamp Fox IPA. Pints are only four dollars during happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m., and you can even take beers to go in half-gallon growlers. If you choose to stay for dinner, dine waterfront on the deck overlooking the quaint Mingo community. The menu features adventurous twists on classics, like the spicy pimento cheese blended with chipotle peppers, and international fare, like the blackened mahi-mahi tacos, in addition to traditional dishes like shrimp and grits.
Ball and Que: Owner Joan Pope Elliot has to get an early start on the biscuits for Ball and Que’s breakfast crowd, making 150 every morning before 6 a.m. She’s been making them the same way for 52 years, and she says that the secret to the simple, old-timey recipe is in how you knead the dough. “Once you pour the buttermilk, the less you handle it, the better it is,” she says. The traditional Southern restaurant is an institution in Georgetown, and Elliott often sees the same families come in for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Many of the recipes come from her mother, including the popular coconut pie. Other favorites? “People love the squash casserole,” she says. “They love the meatloaf. They love the chicken and dumplings. And everybody loves our fried chicken.”
River Room: Water is the theme in this historic-district restaurant, with a dining room that extends 50 feet over the Sampit River and features panoramic views of the harbor, plus nautical antiques and a reef aquarium on display. Located in a historic 1888 building that once housed a dry-goods store, a grocer, and a hattery, River Room features the building’s original brick walls and heart pine floors. Enjoy one of the many seafood dishes on offer — like the chargrilled Carolina grouper with tomato-basil lime butter — served with traditional Southern sides like stone-ground grits, collard greens, or mashed potatoes.
Bovine’s: Sit on the deck at Bovine’s, located right on the MarshWalk, and look out over Murrells Inlet while pelicans dive for their dinner. Or sit inside at the enormous bar and enjoy a cocktail or one of the many wines on offer, like La Marca Prosecco. There’s no bad seat in the house, and there’s no wrong choice from the menu. Start with the crab bites with garlic aioli and Cajun remoulade dipping sauces followed by a brick-oven pizza, wood-fired Angus beef steak, or fresh, local seafood, like the flounder platter.
Drunken Jack’s: Legend has it that Blackbeard’s crew accidentally marooned one of its pirates on an island in what is now known as Murrells Inlet. Fortunately, he had casks of rum to keep him company! Today, diners at Drunken Jack’s can enjoy views of the restaurant’s namesake island from the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk while feasting on blackened or grilled mahi-mahi with crab risotto, all washed down with a tropical cocktail. “Our margarita is one of the best on the beach,” says David McMillan, who co-owns the restaurant with Al Hitchcock. “We use fresh ingredients. And our piña colada, I’ll put it up against anybody’s. We use an ultra-premium ice cream to make it from scratch.”