Rooters of the Baltimore Ravens have found at least four roosts on the Grand Strand to share their fanfare, so don’t blame the places for turning purple on Super Bowl Sunday.
The team, established in 1996, earned its second Super Bowl berth since the renamed original Cleveland Browns franchise moved to the town where poet Edgar Allen Poe spent his final days. Fans want to add to the Ravens’ Super Bowl win from 2001 over the New York Giants
Jon Carnes, manager of The Noizy Oyster in Myrtle Beach, said this weekend will “probably be the biggest that we’ve ever had in our four years in business.”
He said so many Ravens fans and Maryland natives live in this area.
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“They come here just for the Ravens atmosphere,” Carnes said last Sunday. “We are completely sold out for Sunday as we speak. There is not a seat available for the Super Bowl.”
He said the Ravens getting stronger as the playoffs wound on translated into heavy traffic.
“We were just packed,” Carnes said. “We could not seat another person.”
A few blocks south at Shiver Me Pinchers Maryland-Style Seafood in Myrtle Beach, owners Shannon and Tim Stuart can’t wait for Sunday, either.
The Baltimore natives, married for 18 years, have operated the eatery four years, but this Sunday is special with their team in the mix.
“That’s why we’ll throw a party with a buffet, and go all out for it,” Shannon Stuart said.
The free buffet opens at 6 p.m., about a half-hour before game time.
Stuart said the restaurant draws vacationers and transplants from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Pennsylvania, a cross-section of land dotted by Ravens faithful.
“So we do get people from all over,” Stuart said after cooking some meals Monday. “Even our biggest rivals are Steelers fans. They’re pulling for us and the AFC. It’s a lot of fun.”
The proprietors saw Ravens crowds grow since the start of the year, Shannon Stuart said.
The place was closed for two weeks last month, though, for a getaway already planned before the Ravens’ post-season surge and the announcement of Ravens all-pro linebacker Ray Lewis’ retirement after this playoff, now championship, run.
“We watched the playoffs from another country,” Stuart said.
Denny Graue co-owns Beer 30 Bar & Grill in Surfside Beach with wife of 14 years, Lisa Graue.
He recalled when they operated a tavern in their native Arizona, and she had bought a Ravens sweatshirt several years ago.
As the Ravens advanced last month through the NFL American Football Conference playoffs, Graue said with her sweatshirt in hand, he liked hearing his wife’s reminder: “See? This was good luck.”
The Graues acquired Beer 30 about a year, so having this Super Bowl debut excites them in their sports bar, also a popular hangout for motorcyclists.
Having Baltimore fans converge at the site this past autumn was only a bonus, Denny Graue said, then the Ravens reached the Super Bowl, inspiring a whole weekend to celebrate.
The first night of karaoke will open festivities on Saturday, he said, and pre-game events Sunday will include a cornhole tourney at 2 p.m., and at least 10 participants are lined up for the chili cook-off at 4:30.
As the game unfolds, shots will come in red for San Francisco 49ers fans to mark their scores, and purple for Ravens devotees.
Graue said he also looks forward to seeing a “next door neighbor” who’s so “rabid” a Ravens fan that “he goes all out with face paint.”
Some Ravens artwork was added to the left front windows in November at Backfinz Maryland-Style Crab House, in Garden City Beach, said its owner, Ric Hizon.
The lifelong Marylander moved 12 years ago to the Strand, first operated the place for eight years in Murrells Inlet, before moving it two miles north on U.S. 17 Business.
“We get a lot of people from Maryland here,” Hizon said. “And vacationers from there come right here, and they’re right at home here, too.”
He said at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, he’ll kick off a “tailgate party with oysters, barbecue and baked beans.”
All season long, he counted 60 to 75 regulars who would flock to Backfinz to watch Ravens games on television, Hizon said. The end to the 2011 season was fresh in his mind as well.
“We should have been in the Super Bowl last year,” he said, citing a couple of flukes that shelved that quest.
If Hizon asks about a patron’s homeland, and that person says Cleveland, Hizon hasn’t forgotten the Ravens’ founding.
“That’s where we got the team,” he said.
Hizon also remembered how the Orioles became Baltimore’s Major League Baseball club, and the coincidence of their former name.
“We got them in 1954,” he said. “They were the St. Louis Browns.”