A Culinary Tour of Murrells Inlet
It may be cliché to repeat “if you can’t find it here, you don’t need it,” but if the shoe fits…
Long hailed as “The Seafood Capitol of the South,” Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, just 25 minutes south of Myrtle Beach, has a rich history dating back to Blackbeard, the Spanish, the rice plantation culture of the Antebellum South, and finally as a once thriving commercial fishing port. Even today remnants of that stew of Southerness may be readily found in the wide variety of restaurants calling Murrells Inlet home.
Some establishments are newcomers to the Marsh Walk, the primary waterfront district of Murrells Inlet. Two of the newest, Wicked Tuna and Wahoo’s Fish House, offer casual upscale dining embracing the fusion cuisine that modern foodies crave. Both Wicked Tuna and Wahoo’s offer some of the finest sushi on the Grand Strand, as well as creative signature seafood dishes found nowhere else. At Wahoo’s Fish House (formerly The Divine Fish House), on the north end of the Marsh Walk, you’ll enjoy indoor and outdoor creek-side seating, with a stunningly designed interior dining room filled with one-of-kind aquatic sculptures. In the adjacent open-air Wahoo’s Tiki Bar, live music punctuates most evenings complete with menu service and late-night partiers. At the far south end of the Marsh Walk, Wicked Tuna, which opened in 2013, brings big city sophistication to the Marsh Walk inspired by its Charlotte, N.C., and Myrtle Beach-based owners group. Sitting high above the Crazy Sisters marina, Wicked Tuna’s views and interiors are second to none in Murrells Inlet.
In between these newcomers to the Marsh Walk family of restaurants, the tried and true continue to service crowds flocking to Murrells Inlet year-round. Bovine’s offers wood-fired specialties including steaks, seafood and pizza. Drunken Jack’s offers warm, ship-inspired wood interiors, and a diverse menu of seafood, steaks, and lounge-fare. Bubba’s Love Shack and Capt. Dave’s Dockside offer two extremes in atmosphere from the ultra-casual Bubba’s (with its late-night dance parties), and Capt. Dave’s, a casual fine dining restaurant first opened in 1975. Creek Ratz mixes casual and fun as well as any, serving simple, fresh seafood, sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, and salads in combo plates and baskets, in what may be the most affordable of all the Marsh Walk eateries. Add to that live music and the largest waterfront lawn on the Marsh Walk. The Dead Dog Saloon, newly rebuilt bigger and better after a fire in 2012, may be the undisputed King of Live Music on the Marsh Walk, but the food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) first captures the attention of the crowds. With simple fare (burgers, sandwiches, salads and dogs, of course), to seafood and steak specialties, the Dead Dog is known for its lively atmosphere, large open-air waterfront decks, and its whimsical nod to man’s (and women’s) best friend. A new restaurant (unconfirmed size and concept) is set to open late 2015 or early 2016 next to the Dead Dog Saloon. It will be the first all new restaurant on the Marsh Walk in decades.
A couple of miles south, on Old Bus 17, Bliss, opened in 2010, is set apart from the hectic pace and crowds of the Marsh Walk. Here you’ll find creative brunch and dinner selections loaded with seafood and chop house selections. The award-winning restaurant caters to wine-lovers as well. A bit further south and you’ll find The Hot Fish Club, King Street Grill, Russell’s Seafood Grill & Raw Bar, and Nance’s Creekfront Restaurant, all offering their own unique spin on atmosphere, pricing, and menu.
Additional Murrells Inlet restaurants range from the rock-steady chains like Carrabba’s Italian Grill, The Outback Steakhouse, Friday’s, Applebee’s, Cracker Barrel, and the ever-popular Waffle House, as well as independent old standbys such as Prosser’s BBQ Buffet, Spring House Family Restaurant, Lee’s Inlet Kitchen, and Flo’s Place.
If its seafood you crave, you can’t go wrong in Murrells Inlet. But with a wide variety of options, even the most discriminating diners will find palate-pleasing options and beautiful locales in this centuries-old historic community.