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When most people think of dining out in Myrtle Beach, seafood understandably comes to mind. After all, the pond in our backyard happens to be the Atlantic Ocean, so it only makes sense that seafood takes center stage.
But often overlooked in this little corner of South Carolina is our local tradition for Southern cuisine. Country cooking, soul food, Lowcountry dishes - you name it, Myrtle Beach has it. Although there are lots of little meat-and-threes where you can find a wholesome meal for cheap, these five stand out above the rest:
Big Mike's: Don't let the giant surfboard out front fool you. This place serves the best soul food on the beach, and you will more likely want to ride a couch for a couple of hours after chowing down at Big Mike's than a surfboard. Owner "Big Mike" Chestnut and head chef Queenie Bowens put out a huge spread of comfort foods, including a daily specials board where you can get a meat and three veggies for only $8.50. Fried chicken and pork chops, meatloaf and country-style steak are among the staples and collard greens, mashed potatoes and gravy and mac and cheese provide a solid side-dish lineup. Wash it down with sweet tea and dessert, or order a cold beer from the bar, and make sure to get a to-go box.
Mammy's Kitchen: This country-cooking mecca is an institution in Myrtle Beach. Serving hot meals in the heart of the downtown district since 1953, Mammy's Kitchen continues to cook up some of the best eats on the beach. The Southern-style breakfast buffet is a huge hit, featuring scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast, grits, fresh fruit and more. The lunch menu includes traditional country dishes, as well as the standard hamburgers-and-fries fare for those in your party who aren't keen on Southern cuisine. This family owned and operated diner has been serving generations of vacationers who come back every year.
Prosser's BBQ: This Murrells Inlet barbecue joint also includes a country-cooking buffet that will melt in your mouth. After relocating from the nearby tiny town of Hemingway to bring their fare to the masses at the beach, the Pro9sser family has struck a chord with hungry locals and vacationers. The buffet includes the famous family pulled-pro BBQ recipe, along with other South Carolina favorites like chicken bog and Brunswick stew. You'll also find a full lineup of Southern staples - fried chicken, country ham and a garden full of vegetables. Prosser's also serves some of the sweetest banana pudding in town, if you have room.
The Shack: This North Myrtle Beach establishment used to be known as "The Biscuit Shack" and operated for years on Sea Mountain Highway. The new owners may have dropped the "Biscuit" from the title but not the tradition of outstanding country cooking. Daily specials offer meat-and-three combinations, including country-style steak, fried chicken and meatloaf surrounded by mashed potatoes and gravy and a wide selection of side dishes. Breakfast is also a popular meal at The Shack and, yes, biscuits are available. House-made desserts and baked goods make this place a must-visit for guests staying on the North Strand.
Simply Southern Smokehouse: Barbecue may be the main event at Simply Southern, but the country buffet is filled with excellent country cooking for those hungry for some comfort food. Featuring pulled pork and barbecue chicken fresh from the on-site smokehouse, Simply Southern puts together the perfect fixings to go with it, like chicken bog, chicken and dumplings, sweet potatoes and collard greens. Fresh biscuits and cornbread and peach cobbler a la mode are among the many the many items that will keep you going back for seconds.