Few people get to know the Grand Strand better than the journalists who cover its people and places on a daily basis.
That’s why each year for Best of the Beach, The Sun News staff lets you in on their favorites spots to eat, drink, play and more. Find out where the best places to watch football are, where the best lunch buffet is, or where you can have a great dining experience with tourist crowds, all from the mouths of journalists.
THE BEST SPICY WINGS
JIMMAGAN’S END ZONE
Large amount of TVs, outdoor seating area, in-the-round bar, pool table, darts and more. Jimmagan’s is known for its sports bar atmosphere, but be sure to take a hunk out of their meaty wings and order it with hot sauce. If you dare, try their turbo, sprinkled with spices and soaked in a delicious fiery sauce.
THE BEST APPETIZER
• 4474 Water Front Ave., Little River, 280-2025
If you make your way down Mineola Avenue, you must try CrabCatchers’ absolutely delicious seafood with both outdoor and indoor seating. Before you crack into your first crab leg, be sure to order (maybe two baskets) of their mouthwatering hush puppies and honey butter dipping sauce. Let the sauce stay at room temperature for a while as it is served rather cold.
THE BEST OUTDOOR SEATING
PATIO’S TIKI BAR AND GRILL
•4495 Mineola Ave., Little River, 427-7228
Patio’s Tiki Bar and Grill is an absolute must stop when traveling through Little River. Not only is Patio’s a beautiful waterfront bar and grill on the Intracoastal Waterway, but management takes entertaining its guests very seriously as its entertainment schedule spans from March through October. Fresh sushi and affordable drink specials daily.
THE BEST BAR TO WATCH FOOTBALL FOR NORTHEASTERNERS
THE BARREL BAR AND SKINNY’S GRILL
•2303 S. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 448-0097
Enter as strangers, leave as friends – it’s the bar’s motto and couldn’t be more true. The bar is great local hot spot, but really shows its true colors on football Sundays as the owner makes her way table to table to introduce herself to new patrons and welcome regular ones. The Patriots, the Steelers, the Bills, the Jets, the Giants and many other teams are represented in a friendly sports-loving atmosphere.
THE BEST PLACE TO EAT STEAK AND RIBS
BIG DADDY’S ROADHOUSE GRILL
•1610 S. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 448-3819
You will be hard pressed to find better, mouth-watering ribs along the Grand Strand than Big Daddy’s. Fall-off-the-bone ribs come from up to seven hours of slow cooking. The prime rib and rib-eyes are cooked over a charcoal grill in a seasoning that will make you want to go there for every lunch and dinner.
THE BEST ALL AROUND NEIGHBORHOOD BAR
DANNY LEE’S PLACE
•4501 Socastee Blvd., Myrtle Beach, 293-3558
Whether you’re out in the afternoon or looking to be entertained at night, this is the place to make new friends with the regulars and sing your heart out on the weekends. Their 10 TVs spaced perfectly around the bar make it a great sports-watching destination. Its food – from all-you-can-eat wings and customer appreciate buffets to their unmatched steak nights – can satisfy your beyond-bar-food appetite. Two pool tables, tabletop video games, modern jukebox and standing video games provide entertainment for all crowds.
THE BEST ‘LOCAL’ BAR CLOSEST TO TOURISTS
•511 S. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 448-6033
This place is run by great people and its reflected in its customers. With outdoor seating and a location far enough off Ocean Boulevard to not be considered touristy but tucked away enough to be a local favorite, Pop’s Place has great drink specials and a lively karaoke following that will get even the person searching for a mildly good time up and enjoying themselves.
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR ON THE NORTH END
JAY’S OF LITTLE RIVER
•1511 Old Highway 17 N., Little River, 280-0103
Looking for a place where the bartenders work on learning your name and your drink? Jay’s is the place. It’s spacious for some pool tables, a few TVs and to separate its live entertainment/karaoke with the partial horseshoe bar.
BEST AFFORDABLE OCEANFRONT DINING
DAMON’S GRILL, MYRTLE BEACH, OCEANFRONT
•2985 S. Ocean Blvd., 626-8606
Catch a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean while enjoying delicious ribs or succulent steak for under $25.
BEST RECREATION WHILE DRINKING
BUMSTEAD’S PUB/DAGWOOD’S DELI
•400 Mr. Joe White Ave., Myrtle Beach, 445-6592
Bumstead’s Pub is a local favorite for sports, friendship and great food. But a great secret not often advertised is its connection to Dagwood’s Deli and the ping pong table there for people to play on. If the common bar activities have become mundane for you, you need to go to Bumstead’s/Dagwood’s and bring a friend to play some good, old-fashioned ping pong.
BEST SCENIC, QUIET, RELAXING PLACE TO VISIT
VEREEN MEMORIAL GARDENS IN LITTLE RIVER
The Horry County park has walking-hiking trails and a boardwalk that extends into the marsh along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. At the entrance to the gardens is the C.B. Berry Community & Historical Center that features several displays about the history of the Little River area. Free admission.
BEST NEW MUSEUM ON THE BEACH
The North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum in the renovated former public library building on Second Avenue North, one block east of U.S. 17. Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: $5 adults; $4 seniors, military, college students with ID; $3 youth (age 5-17); under 5 free. Exhibits include artifacts of present and former residents of North Myrtle Beach, Little River and environs.
BEST ONE-MAN SHOW
•www.bilkrauss.com for appearances
You might get stuck in the “Cage of Love,” but your night will be full of laughs for the whole family as Bil entertains with his expert guitar lyrics and folksy voice … although be sure to request “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Krauss’ voice will remind you of James Taylor, although he’s right at home crooning island favorites by the likes of Jimmy Buffet. Catch a show and you’ll be catching your breath, because the audience is frequently encouraged to participate.
BEST LUNCH BUFFET
MAGNOLIAS AT 26TH
•2605 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, 839-3993
Each day features a different set of offerings, but every day you are guaranteed delicious, down-home country cooking. Juicy fried chicken, biscuits, homemade soups and a salad bar are always staples. The sweet tea is so good it will hurt your teeth, and the service is always provided with a smile.
LITTLE RIVER DELI
•2352 S.C. 9, 399-9492
The corned beef and kraut are piled high and the juices from the Swiss and thousand island flow from the “Best Reuben South of New York” at this little eatery that serves up big flavor. The bread is toasted to a buttery, rye perfection for this sandwich, and homemade for a menu full of others. There is also a Philadelphia Reuben, which features pastrami or cole slaw in lieu of traditional ingredients.
BEST COMPUTER FIX
THE CHEAP GEEK
•900 U.S. 501 B, Myrtle Beach, 448-1581
Quick service and up-front pricing are what you will find at Cheap Geek. They offer quick service for laptops, desktops and more, and will give you prices on most repairs. The shop also offers a selection of desktops and laptops for those shopping for technology on a budget.
COCCADOTTS CAKE SHOP
•106 Sayebrook Parkway, Myrtle Beach, 628-3490
Although all the sweet treats are fabulous at Coccadotts, the chocolate-covered strawberry cupcake stands out on many lists. The confection is made up of chocolate cake with strawberry filling, topped with vanilla buttercream and fudge icing and an enormous chocolate-covered strawberry. To top it off, it’s drizzled in chocolate as well.
•4488 Socastee Blvd., Myrtle Beach, 294-3354
Choose between a bevy of cheeses and peppers, or don’t choose at all and load up a sandwich that is “The Best Cheesesteak South of Philly.” A perfectly toasted roll provides the barrier for your choice of meats, cheeses and veggies that drip with juices of perfection.
BEST FOOD CHALLENGE
FOX’S PIZZA DEN
•4620-B Dick Pond Road, Myrtle Beach, 294-3697
Bring a couple of friends and try to tackle the Big One, a 30-inch, 52-piece behemoth offered exclusively at Fox’s. Contestants get 45 minutes to try and eat the nearly 5-square-foot pie, which is baked to perfection with as few or many mouth-watering toppings as you want. Teams that best the challenge get a $10 gift certificate for each eater, a T-shirt and picture on the “Wall of Fame.” Those with pieces left wind up on the “Wall of Shame.”
BEST BARBECUE BUFFET
BIG D’S BAR-B-QUE BARN
•350 George Bishop Parkway, Myrtle Beach, 236-4666
Carolina traditional or vinegar-based pull pork is the staple, but there are country fixin’s aplenty for all at the locally owned shop near the former Hard Rock Park. Fried chicken, chicken bog, Brunswick stew and vegetables galore are yours for the sampling. Banana pudding tops it all off, and there is a menu for those with lighter – or more specific – appetites.
BEST MEAT AND SIDES SPECIAL
VICTORIA’S COUNTRY COOKIN’
• 1102 Third Ave. S., D, Myrtle Beach, 626-5179
Mondays are the staple, when a diner can feast on two pork chops and a bevy of vegetables, a bowl of soup, or a scrumptious dessert as one of their three sides. Thursday’s turkey and dressing is also filling and brings the nostalgia of Thanksgiving at any time of year. Drinks are included, and breakfast is just as good. Full menu from early morning until closing time.
ALMOST HEAVEN PIZZA
CHRIS’ PIZZA & PUB
•170 Surfrider Blvd., Longs, 399-5665
The sign declares a New York Style Pizzeria but this pub has a West Virginia feel. Among the owner’s favorite pies listed on the menu are The Clarksburg, Mountaineer, Fairview and Parkersburg. Each comes loaded with a mountain of toppings on a perfectly baked crust. There is also a Winter Place pie with chicken, spinach, roasted red peppers and feta cheese for the connoisseur, as well as a full menu of salads, calzones, wraps, soups, appetizers, sandwiches and more.
BEST PLACE TO PAUSE ON A MORNING TO MEDITATE
PEACHTREE LANDING IN SOCASTEE IN THE WACCAMAW NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Watch the stillness of the water flow, with some vegetation idling by, and listen for some birds such as a cardinal or wren, or watch fish splash out of the water, as the only breaks in the silence. Also, southbound passersby on the S.C. 544 bridge can look down to see Peachtree Road stretching into the distance.
BEST NATIONALLY SYNDICATED TALK RADIO SHOWS CARRIED LOCALLY
• Mark Levin, 6-9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays on WRNN-FM 99.5 (877-381-3811 or www.marklevinshow.com)
• Mike Huckabee and Phil Valentine, each Mondays-Fridays on WJXY-FM 93.9/WXJY-FM 93.7: Huckabee noon-3 p.m. (855-840-4825 or www.mike huckabee.com), and Valentine 3-6 p.m. (800-618-7445 or www.philvalentine.com)
BEST NATIONAL SPORTS TALK RADIO SHOWS CARRIED LOCALLY
• ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, 6-10 a.m. on WKZQ-FM 96.1 and WRNN-AM 1450
• CBS Radio’s “Ferrall on the Bench,” with Scott Ferrall – a Pittsburgh Penguins fan who’s happy to talk about hockey, too – 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Mondays-Fridays on WSEA-FM 100.3.
BEST PLACE TO WATCH CHILDREN MAKE A SPLASH
The walk-through fountain on every summer – this year through September – between MagiQuest and Carmike’s Big D Theatre at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, with plenty of benches to recline, watch and laugh, and maybe get a tad wet from the mist, depending onthe wind direction.
BEST DIRECT FLIGHTS TO AND FROM MYRTLE BEACH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO NORTHERN DESTINATIONS
• Niagara Falls, N.Y., (IAG), in about 90 minutes, on Spirit Airlines (www.spirit.com)
• Plattsburgh, N.Y., (PBG), about two hours, also on Spirit
• Youngstown-Warren, Ohio, (YNG), about 75 minutes on Allegiant Air (www2.allegiantair.com)
BEST BREAKFAST SPOT
THE BREAKFAST HOUSE
•5023 Dick Pond Road, Socastee
Delicious pancakes, waffles and egg sandwiches at affordable prices. Order the sausage, link or patty, you won’t be disappointed.
BEST DINING EXPERIENCE WITHOUT TOURIST CROWDS
•7209 S.C. 90, Longs, 390-5151
It offers a generous and creative menu that’s heavy on Italian fare, a good wine list and a cozy but lively ambiance with attentive (but not too attentive) service. Since moving to the north end of the area, it has become a favorite weekend dinner treat spot.
Speaking of bistros, another spot well worth traveling for is Rivertown Bistro in Conway. It’s become a cliché to say that it feels more like something you’d find in Los Angeles or New York City, but that is the immediate response on a first visit.
Sushi, creative chef’s specials, a wide-ranging wine and cocktail menu, and hard-to-resist desserts have made it a personal favorite since we discovered it when we moved to Conway several years ago.
•1111 Third Ave., Conway, 248-3733, www.rivertownbistro.com
THE BEST WAY TO WATCH FOOTBALL
DAGWOOD’S DELI AND SPORTS BAR
•600 U.S. 17 Business, Surfside Beach, 828-4600
With TVs everywhere, including in each booth, it’s easy to watch any football game you want at Dagwood’s Deli and Sports Bar’s location in Surfside Beach, but get there early because space fills quick on game day. They also have delicious, overstuffed sandwiches and killer fries.