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Fire & Smoke Heats Up Myrtle Beach Dining Scene

Fire & Smoke Gastropub existed in the minds of longtime friends Jimmy Horkan and Tyler Rice many years before it officially opened its doors in Myrtle Beach in 2014.

Having worked in the restaurant industry together for other owners, they often fantasized over a few after-work beers about what it would be like to partner in their own culinary venture. It was during those late-night sessions that the concept of Fire & Smoke was developed down to the minute details of assigned duties; the only question was when.

Fast-forward a few years to late 2013. Rice was living back in their native New York while Horkan was still running a restaurant in Myrtle Beach. Almost out of the blue Horkan got a phone call from his old friend: "Are you ready?" Rice asked. The answer was yes, and Fire & Smoke soon went from a subject of their planning sessions to a reality.

And it was a new kind of reality for the Grand Strand restaurant scene. While some local restaurants and bars claimed the "gastropub" label, no one in town was sticking to the true definition - an eatery with a pub-style atmosphere featuring high-end cuisine and a wide selection of craft and imported beers. Fire & Smoke fits the description to a tee.

Located just a few blocks from Ocean Reef Resort, Fire & Smoke sits at the end of a strip mall near the corner of Kings Highway and 79th Avenue North. You might have to look around a bit before you find the exact location, but you know you've arrived once you walk through the doors and into a classy, cozy atmosphere and a distinct aroma of hickory smoke wafting in the air.

Specializing in grilled and smoked meats (hence the Fire & Smoke name), this small but comfortably relaxed establishment uses a wood-fired grill to prepare its steaks and chops, along with special hot and cold smoker that yields tender cuts of lamb, pork and beef. The cold smoker allows Fire & Smoke to produce its own flavorful cheeses.

These items form the foundation of a creative and diverse menu that is sure to awaken your taste buds. Recipes that were developed over years of experimentation have placed Fire & Smoke on the cutting edge of the Grand Strand dining scene. You know a restaurant is doing something special when you spot owners of other eateries in the dining room.

Start the night off with Wood-Grilled Caesar and the Fire & Smoke Chopped Salad, Appetizers include tapas, or sharing portions, of cheese fondue plates and Fire & Smoke's famous Duck Confit Nachos. Folks with tamer tastes should try to Soft Pretzel Bread and the Hickory-Grilled Chicken Wings before moving onto the goodies on the grill.

Tapas servings include Seared Nantucket Bay Sea Scallops, Lamb Porterhouse and Crispy Pork Belly over Mustard Greens. "Comfort Foods Revisited," as the entrees are called, include Lobster Cobbler, Buffalo Meatloaf and the house specialty Smoked Chicken Mac and Cheese. Can't decide? Remember that sharing is part of the gastropub experience.

But it is only half of the gastropub experience. Fire & Smoke also has the "pub," with an extensive wine and beer options. From a wide selection of ports, reds and whites to a full bar offering 10 rotating microbrews on tap and a bottomless list of bottled beers, Fire & Smoke even incorporates alcohol into some of its dishes, including desserts.

Fire & Smoke is located at 411 79th Ave. North in Myrtle Beach and is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and Saturday for dinner only. Reservations are recommended by calling 843-449-0085. For more information, visit www.fireandsmokegastropub.com.

(posted 8/11/14)
(Photo courtesy: FireandSmokeGastroPub.com)

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