The sight of Queen Esther "Queenie" Bowens was confirmation that PierHouse Restaurant couldn't be bad.
Opened for six weeks now, the eatery at Second Avenue pier is where this queen of soul food works.
Bowens, who owned and operated Queen's Cafe on Carver Street in Myrtle Beach, is known for putting the smackdown on Southern eats.
Anyway, she spotted me when I walked in the eatery Friday, and I quizzed her on the food.
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She said it was good, and I took her at her word since she is one of the cooks.
I ordered the Georgetown Grouper Reuben, not knowing what to expect. For $8, I didn't think I could lose.
All I knew was that the thought of pan-seared grouper on marbled rye with Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut and cheese sounded like what I needed to quell my hunger pangs.
My waitress, Lisa McCloskey, told me she loved the fries and onion rings equally and said I could get half of each. So, I followed her advice.
When the food came out, I loved the presentation. The onion rings were in a mini tower with fries standing tall in the middle. The cheese, sauerkraut and dressing oozed out of the sandwich just enough to give it that mouth-watering, down-home, got-to-eat-it-now look.
First, though, I tried the fries and onion rings, made from whole onions, and I was pleased.
Then, I took two bites of the sandwich and the refrain of "Happy Days Are Here Again" played in my brain.
I was satisfied, stopped eating and then asked my next-table neighbor, Clara Davis, how she liked the Brunswick Bacon Wrapped Shrimp. It costs $8 and is a small lunch plate.
"It was succulent," said Davis, from Charlotte, N.C., and principal of Northwest Cabarrus High School. "The taste was outstanding, impeccable. I'll definitely be back."
I know I'll be returning to the PierHouse Restaurant, which opened in July. I want to try the breakfast and the dinner menu, as well.
Omelets (priced from $5.50 to $7) are among the breakfast items. A crab sandwich ($10), flounder sandwich ($11) and burger ($9) are among the lunch choices. Shrimp and grits ($16) and a 12-ounce New York strip ($24) are among the dinner choices.
The in-your-face view of the Atlantic Ocean is by far the best on the beach. Upstairs at the PierView Bar, folks watched a nasty storm brew up on the open deck.
Nature, however, couldn't diminish the obvious charm of the space decorated with white, neon green and orange chairs.
People were in serious relaxation mood.
Happy hour at the bar is from 4 to 7 p.m. daily with $3 well drinks.
Hours are 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for breakfast; 11:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. for lunch; and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner.
Chef makes "Platelist"
Eddie Kwong might be on your television screen soon.
The owner of E Noodles & Co. in North Myrtle Beach is one of 20 finalists for "Nightline People's Platelist." It is the local chef cousin of "Nightline's Platelist," which showcases nationally renowned chefs during "Nightline."
More than 1,000 people went online to vote for chefs in their neighborhoods and beyond.
Each finalist must make a video three minutes or less highlighting why he or she should be the winner.
Voters will have at least a month to pick a winner from the online videos created by the finalists.
Eddie told me he had some of his video done, but he wasn't finished as of Monday.
Contestants must submit their videos by Friday.
To vote, go to abcnews.go.com/Nightline/Platelist.
If you want to try some of Eddie's Thai and Chinese food, head to 110 U.S. 17 S. North Myrtle Beach.
The spicy sauteed udon (a chewy fat noodle) is marvelous. Actually, everything I've tried is doggone good. You can order the udon with shrimp, beef, pork, tofu, shrimp, scallops, calamari, mussels or a combination of all. The average price for noodles dishes is about $8.50
There is also an E Noodles & Co. location at 400 20th Ave. S. in Myrtle Beach (owned by Eddie's former brother-in-law, Kelvin Chu) and at 360 Exchange St. Suite 110 in Concord, N.C. (owned by Eddie's sister, Karren Kwong).
For more info, call 663-1628 (North Myrtle Beach); 916-8808 (Myrtle Beach) and 704-782-8818 (Concord).