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A Culinary Tour of Pawleys Island

By Emerson Dyer • May 07, 2015

When someone mentions Pawleys Island, many things might come to mind – scenic marshes, uncrowded beaches, hammocks, “arrogantly shabby” cottages, the laid-back atmosphere, and a thriving culinary scene, to name a few.

Whether you’re looking for the best creations the Lowcountry has to offer or something from a completely different continent, Pawleys Island is home to an impressive collection of restaurants.

Here’s a look at some of the Island’s standout eateries.

Frank's and Frank's Outback

10434 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island • (843) 237-3030

This upscale eatery has been revered as the gold standard of Lowcountry dining for years, and patrons have two options for seating – in the elegant dining room or “out back” on the smartly-appointed patio. Wherever you decide to sit, you’ll find a menu that’s packed with creative items from beginning to end. Highlights include Fried Goat Cheese Medallions with tomato fondue, Deep-Fried Deviled Eggs with bacon and jalapeno, Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops on a bacon and cheddar grits cake, Wild Mushroom Ravioli with asparagus, prosciutto, and brown butter, Cornmeal-Encrusted Grouper over stone ground grits, Duck Two Ways in a red wine demi over a fried grit cake, or the 20oz Dry Aged Bone-In Ribeye from their Chophouse Menu. The selection is similar Outback, with the addition of Wood-Fired Pizzas like the Short Rib, Roasted Pablano Peppers, and Provolone, the Mediterranean Lamb (arugula, parmesan, goat cheese, whole wheat dough), the Margherite, and the Pizza Alla American (sausage, pepperoni, peppers, mushrooms, onions, mozzarella).

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Eggs Up Grill

115 County Rd S-22-362, Pawleys Island • (843) 237-7313

These egg-centric breakfast and lunch joints are popping up all over the place, and for good reason – you’d be hard-pressed to find a better selection of breakfast and lunch items. Born in Pawleys Island in 1986, there are now 13 franchises in South Carolina and Georgia serving Omelet, Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast, Breakfast Sandwiches, Benedicts, Burgers, Melts, Wraps, Salads, and more. Depending when you stop in, there might be a short wait for a table. But that’s a good sign, and it’s worth it.

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Pawleys Island Tavern

10635 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island • (843) 237-8465

Known to locals as “PIT,” this rustic Lowcountry tavern bills itself as the home of shrimp, beer, and blues and is a popular weekend spot for those interested in live music. As for the fare, the menu offers highlights like the Daily Fresh Catch (blackened, grilled, fried, or broiled), Fried Seafood Platter, Blackened Mahi over Crawfish Grits, Ribeye Steak, the House Special Pizza, Psycho Burger (pimento cheese, chili, bacon, jalapenos, onions, slaw, over-easy egg, hot sauce), Conch Fritters, and a daily selection of homemade desserts. Seating options at PIT include a dollar bill and license plate-decorated dining room, or the Oak-shaded tables out front. Bands play inside and out, depending on the weather, so check out the schedule and pick a good band if you want to enjoy some live music while you eat.

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Perrone's Restaurant & Bar

13302 Ocean Hwy, Pawleys Island • (843) 235-9193

As with many upscale establishments, a couple of different experiences are available at Perrone’s. Guests can enjoy a multiple-course meal at a table in the fashionable dining room, or take a seat at the bar and have some bites from the selection of tapas. One look at the menu and you’ll be instantly aware of how much effort goes into each dish. The third page lists the purveyors and which ingredients they receive from each, and on page four the restaurants “sous-vide” style (vacuum-sealed, warm water bath, tender results) of preparation is detailed. Dinner menu highlights include Spicy Calamari and Shrimp Bruschetta, Mussels Fra Diavolo, Spicy Spaghetti with Crab, and a 14oz New York Strip, while selections from the list of Tapas includes Chipotle Hummus, Brie and Fruit, Charcuterie and Pate Plates, Crispy Pig Ears, and Lionfish Crudo.

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Indo Thai, Sushi, and Hibachi

47A DaGullah Way, Pawleys Island • (843) 314-3543

As one of the most popular Pan-Asian restaurants in the area, Indo has established itself as a great place to find a wide variety of consistently-prepared Japanese, Thai, Indonesian, Singaporean, and Korean dishes. Standouts include the Tom Yum Seafood Soup, Thai Spring Roll, Pad Thai, Massaman Curry, Sushi options like the Thunderstorm Roll (crab, cream cheese, cucumber, masago, spicy mussels) and Sea Witch Roll (soft shell crab, spicy tuna, asparagus, cucumber), Sizzling Duck, and Salmon La Bamba.

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Bistro 217

10707 Ocean Hwy, Pawleys Island • (843) 235-8217

This contemporary Lowcountry Bistro specializes in Seafood, Steaks, Pasta, and Desserts, and guests have the option of taking a seat at a wrought-iron table in the courtyard, or at any number of banquettes and booths indoors. The dinner selections includes options like Fried Green Tomatoes & Oysters with bleu cheese and bacon-cream sauce, curry-seared Tuna Napoleon with an avocado salad and wontons, Veal Piccata, Braised Short Rib, and Paella of shrimp, chorizo, chicken, mussels, artichoke, and saffron rice. Also, a little room should be saved for a Warm White Chocolate Bread Pudding, Apple Crisp with vanilla bean ice cream, Crème Brulee, or Classic Tiramisu.

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Habanero's

11151 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island • 1-866-679-2514

Named after the spicy chili pepper from south of the border, fans of Mexican food can enjoy the flavors on the tiki deck, at one of the two bars, or in the dining room. The menu includes some things that you won’t find anywhere else in Pawleys, including Beef Tongue Tacos with rice, beans, cilantro, and onion, Molcajete (chicken, chorizo, shrimp, steak, onions, peppers, cactus, cheese, rice, beans, guacamole!), Lunch Specials starting at $3.75, Happy Hour Margaritas for $2.75, and Sopapillas with cinnamon and honey for dessert. They also offer all of the standard Mexican-American fare for those looking for a chips, salsa, and burrito fix.

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Rustic Table

10683 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island • (843) 314-0164

Utilizing several of the area’s farms and fisheries, this new addition to the Island’s culinary community offers guests upscale, made-from-scratch Southern classics. Choose from starters like Popcorn Gator or Crispy Fried Chicken Livers, entrees such as the Fried Pork Chop, Country Fried Steak, or Trout Almondine, or signature items like The “Comfy,” a fried chicken breast served open-faced on a biscuit with creamy sausage gravy and fries.

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