* BurgerFi: The Grand Strand has a new contender for best burger joint, and this national chain is quickly gaining converts. Since the first store in the state of South Carolina opened in North Myrtle Beach in the fall of 2014, burger fans have been flocking to BurgerFi to find out why this upstart chain already has more than 100 stores nationwide. It's the burgers, of course: all-natural Angus patties piled two high and topped with all the usual suspects, plus the secret house sauce. The bun is steamed, branded with the logo and wrapped in wax paper. BurgrFi also has all-beef hot dogs and brisket, and they are also famous for their hand-cut fries and frozen custard.
* Burky's Grill: Formerly known as Ritzy's, this longtime locals' favorite is back by popular demand. The original owner changed his mind about retirement and re-opened as Burky's, featuring the same hand-patted burgers hot off the grill. The 1950s-themed diner offers the usual toppings, along with chili and nacho cheese. Burky's also serves hot dogs, thin-cut fries, soups, salads and baked potatoes, and there's a small ice cream counter for dessert. Burky's also hosts a biweekly “cruise-in” where classic car owners show off their vintage hot rods in the parking lot.
* Cheeseburger in Paradise: Decades after Jimmy Buffett sang about the perfect burger in the idyllic locale, the iconic crooner opened his own chain of restaurants in an effort to replicate what he described in song. Buffett has another hit on his hands with Cheeseburger in Paradise, a family-friendly beach shack that's as laid back as his music. Located only two blocks from Ocean Reef Resort, CIP serves 100-percent Angus patties with a wide range of toppings, including the house special “with lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French-fried potatoes.” In true Buffett style, there's an extensive menu of Caribbean cuisine, and the frozen drinks are straight out of Margaritaville.
* Hamburger Joe's: If you are looking to feed a hungry family for only a few bucks, Hamburger Joe's is your place. This locally owned burger joint is not only affordable but also happens to serve one of the best burgers on the Strand. Hand-patted and steamed under a cover on a flat-top grill, these burgers melt in your mouth. Hamburger Joe's also has excellent wings, chili and onion rings, and draft beers are only a buck all the time. Located across from Barefoot Landing, Hamburger Joe's recently opened a second location in Surfside Beach.
* River City Cafe: Ocean Reef guests don't have to search very far to find a great burger. Located next door to the resort, this local chain is famous for its half-pound ground beef patties. Thick and juicy and covered in a wide range of toppings, River City gets creative on some of its house specials, like the Peanut Butter Burger and the Shrimp Burger. River City also serves chicken and fish sandwiches, hand-cut fries and onion rings the size of doughnuts. The River City beside Ocean Reef also has a nice patio deck and bar, as do the other locations on 21st Avenue North and Murrells Inlet.