New oceanfront restaurant, mini-golf on track to open this spring in Myrtle Beach

01/25/2013 9:49 AM

01/25/2013 4:38 PM

A new mini-golf course and seafood-inspired restaurant are rising from the oceanfront spot where the historic Chesterfield Inn once stood and are on track to open by the time the spring tourist season kicks in.

The 36-hole mini-golf course, called Shark Attack, will open March 1, while the restaurant, called Hammerhead Grill, will open a bit later, though a specific date hasn’t yet been set, owner Karon Mitchell said.

The owners are hiring an executive chef and tasting potential menu items, she said. Mitchell is developing the oceanfront lot where The Chesterfield Inn stood for more than 65 years until it was demolished in August to make way for the restaurant and mini-golf course, part of which will wind through the former basement of the hotel.

“We are moving right along,” Mitchell said. “We are on schedule and everything is looking great. We are right on target.”

The new development, at the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Seventh Avenue North in Myrtle Beach, is among a flurry of new offerings along the city’s main drag that are expected to be ready this spring.

A little farther north, a 6,000-square-foot candy and ice cream shop dubbed “I Love Sugar” is under construction and plans to open May 5. And to the south, Family Kingdom Amusement Park at 300 S. Ocean Boulevard plans to add several new rides this year, including the Twist ‘n’ Shout Wild Mouse-style steel roller coaster.

“It’s always nice to have something new,” Mitchell said.

Having something new is a plus for Myrtle Beach, where most of its visitors each year -- 66 percent, according to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce -- have been here previously, officials said.

They may ride the SkyWheel during one visit then hit another attraction during their next visit, said Dave Sebok, executive director of Myrtle Beach’s Downtown Redevelopment Corp., which works with downtown merchants to improve the area.

“Our customers come back time and time again,” he said. “Those [new offerings] build on the menu of things to do when they come here. Always having fresh things is good for tourists and residents.”

Officials expect the summer to be as good as last year, if not a little better -- as long as the weather and the economy cooperate. Mitchell said she’s already seen more out-of-state license plates and people strolling and checking out downtown lately during the area’s slowest time of the year.

“The downtown area was thriving [last] weekend,” Mitchell said. “I think we are going to have an outstanding summer.”

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