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Eateries | Surfside Beach deli offers sweets and meats

By now, you know I have a weakness for sweetness.

My mama is responsible for my addiction to apple fritters since she is the one who introduced me to them when I was a little girl. I hadn't eaten one for decades until I happened upon Justin Riley.

He is the new owner of Surfside Subs at 810 3rd Ave. S. in Surfside Beach.

The deli is in the front area of Benjamin's Bakery, which is why that fritter was sensational. It was huge and only $1.25.

Lee Zulanch, the bakery's owner, knows how to make flour of all kinds happy.

Riley, a wise 29-year-old self-taught cook and sandwich guru, is smart enough to push his sandwiches and Zulanch's pastries in one fell swoop.

I couldn't, however, conquer both. After I drank one cup of black coffee, which was a first for me, and ate a fritter, I was done.

The grilled chicken sandwich with prosciutto, lettuce, tomato, mozzarella, onions and roasted red pepper was tempting, as was the Trump Tower, a sandwich Riley makes with pastrami, corned beef, Swiss, Thousand Island dressing and coleslaw.

Both sandwiches sounded like a palate party waiting to happen, but my stomach was flat out against it.

All of Riley's sandwiches are eight inches, served on Parmesan herb hoagies and are accompanied by a soft drink and chips. If you don't want chips, you can get a side of macaroni salad or potato salad, which Riley also makes from scratch.

"Everybody takes a to-go box with them," he bragged. "They are healthy sandwiches. I'm trying to make sure you don't leave here hungry."

Before he took over ownership of Surfside Subs on Dec. 4, he was doing his thing at Main Street Deli in Pawleys Island. The move from one deli to the next made for a shorter commute for the Surfside Beach resident.

"I grew up in the restaurant business with my father my whole life," he said.

His father, Thomas Riley, is now in the dry cleaning business, but his son feels fine sticking with the restaurant roots.

"I've never thought of anything else to do," Riley said. "I like throwing stuff together. I don't follow a book. If I like it, I sell it. If it doesn't taste good, I start over. I'm not afraid to try anything.

Nor am I, and I wanted to try his chicken salad ($8.29 a pound) but I was stuffed as a Thanksgiving turkey. Who knew one apple fritter and one cup of black coffee could wreak such havoc on a Southern belly?

I left happy, but humbled and undone by my sweetness.

Next time, I won't be sidetracked by a fritter.

Riley does free local deliveries and also accepts orders by fax at 238-0801.

Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Call 238-0450.

Bakery now serves lunch

Irvin Pereira isn't the first to do it, but he is one of the best to do it thus far.

Pereira, a certified executive pastry chef and owner of I See Pastries Bakery & Cafe, is now selling lunch.

From Monday through Friday, Irvin presents a themed menu that showcases different cultural cuisines.

Each Monday is devoted to Lowcountry fare. Tuesday is Spanish flair day. Asian food is featured on Wednesday. Irish food is in the spotlight on Thursday, and Friday is always when Caribbean cuisine takes center stage.

Each meal comes with a soft drink and sides and costs under $10.

"There were so many people coming to the bakery and then going somewhere else to eat," said Dwayne Beaty, who is the owner of Home Plate catering and assists Pereira in cooking and menu planning. "Actually when we were catering one day and people smelled the food in the back. That brought it to our attention, and we thought that instead of them going somewhere else they could eat with us."

Since Caribbean food is my favorite, I visited on Friday and ate jerk chicken, rice and peas, Caribbean cabbage and drank Caribbean fruit punch.

Everything was worth every single chew, and the punch was flavorfully addictive.

The chicken had that wonderful fragrant heated spice jerk chicken is known for and an understated smoky taste.

I cleaned my plate and drank two glasses of punch.

I also nibbled on a lemon puff pastry my friend, Stephanie Hughes, was kind enough to share with me.

Her uncle and aunt, Gale and Charlene Rice, are the owners of Bingy's, a Jamaican eatery at 4989 Socastee Blvd. on S.C. 707 across from Socastee High School. It is my No. 1 pick for Caribbean food on the Grand Strand.

Hughes was there picking up a birthday cake to help celebrate her uncle's birthday, and she tried a piece of my chicken. She, too, enjoyed it.

Anyhow, I left I See Pastries Bakery & Cafe pleased that one of my favorite pastry chefs, Pereira, has expanded his menu with lunch fare reasonably priced and particularly tasty.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

I See Pastries Bakery & Cafe is at 4006 Postal Way Unit F in the Carolina Forest community of Myrtle Beach.

Call 236-1247.