Myrtle Beach may be famous for golf, the beach and other attractions, but it also just might have the highest per capita number of breakfast restaurants and pancake houses in the nation. It's hard to drive a couple of blocks without seeing a sign for the rise-and-shine chow time, and it's hard to go wrong with any of them when it comes to the most important meal of the day. But good is not good enough for the 10Best.com crew. Among the mass of breakfast options, a select few stand out as the best. Take Magnolia's at 26th, which is famous all over town for its country cooking at lunch and supper time, but just might have the best breakfast buffet around. But you don't have to travel far to Mammy's Kitchen to find some stiff competition. Mammy's has been serving customers at the same location since the 1950s, and its breakfast buffet is so popular that even when the kitchen closes in the off-season for lunch and dinner, it stays open almost year-round for breakfast. Other morning hot spots include the Eggs-Up Grill, Magnolia's at 26th and The Shack, another long-standing hot spot that serves all the Southern favorites - grits, biscuits, sausage, bacon, gravy, eggs, hash browns and, of course, pancakes. That's pretty much the standard fare for the morning hours, but some even serve breakfast all day for those sleeping in on their vacation. Breakfast - it's not just for breakfast anymore, especially at the beach. Popular brunch spots include Croissants, Chestnut Hill and The House of Blues.
10 Hot Stacks
The name says it all - hot stacks of pancakes smothered in butter and syrup and covered with some bizarre yet tasty toppings - strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate chips or all of the above. Hot Stacks also serves the traditional Southern fare - made-to-order omelets, scrambled eggs and meats, biscuits with sawmill gravy - but flap jacks is what these fine folks do best. For late sleepers who prefer to skip straight to lunch, Hot Stacks also serves a wide selection of tasty sandwiches, such as a hot ham and cheese between two waffles that comes hot out of the iron. (843-448-4668)
9 The Shack
Known for generations as the Biscuit Shack, this North Myrtle Beach institution is under new management with the same familiar country classics. The new crew kept the spirit of the old place alive - great Southern cooking and friendly service - while updating the menu and decor a bit. The Shack specializes in South Carolina favorites and serves daily meat-and-three specials. The food is like something you can only get at your grandmother's house - true Southern cooking, especially for breakfast. Country ham, sausage and bacon with scrambled eggs, toast, biscuits, grits and fried potatoes are a great way to start your day. (843-663-3636)
8 Johnny D's Waffle House
The tired old breakfast and lunch get an extreme makeover at Johnny D's Waffle House, where the traditional eggs and pancakes undergo a serious upgrade. In addition to an array of waffles and pancakes topped with fruit, chocolate chips and whipped cream, Johnny D's goes the extra mile by making red velvet cake waffles and creative pancakes. Egg combinations include a selection of omelets, Benedict combinations and even huevos rancheros. For lunch, try a fresh house salad, soup and sandwich combination, or get adventurous with the fajitas. Johnny D's has got it all. Be sure to grab some in-house baked goods to go. (843-448-6789)
7 Croissants Bistro & Bakery
This European-style bistro is a favorite for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Known for creative small plates and dishes, Croissants offer a wide selection of homemade breads, croissants, pastries and muffins that are simply out of this world! They also serve heartier dishes such as a fabulous souffle casserole with grits, eggs, cheese and ham, plus French toast and pancakes. For lunch you might try one of their hot sandwiches or specialty soups, salads or starters. The shrimp and scallop pasta and steak frites are popular choices for dinner. And don't forget that this bakery is known for their heavenly desserts. (843-448-2253)
6 Eggs Up
The menu may not be extensive, but you can be sure that everything on it is a time-tested winner. Ham and eggs, steak and eggs, grits and eggs, pancakes and eggs, biscuits and gravy and eggs -- well, you get the idea. There are also egg sandwiches and omelets, and when it gets to be lunch time you can order up a great burger and fries. There are also plenty of items on the menu where the egg doesn't play a starring role, like the pancakes and waffles for breakfast and soups and sandwiches for lunch. Or you can just order some more eggs! (843-237-7313)
5 Crepe Creations Cafe
The latest sensation on the Grand Strand dining scene is the Crepe Creation Cafe in the trendy new Market Common district. The name says it best - yes, crepes, as in those thin French pancakes that most Americans don't eat and can't properly pronounce. But this cafe is doing some marvelous new things with crepes, things that Americans do best - stuffing them full of tasty ingredients. Breakfast favorites are the Stuffed French Toast filled with a cream cheese mix and the Western Morning Crepe filled with scrambled egg, ham, bacon and cheddar. Top lunch picks are the Gyro and the Cordon Bleu Crepe, and do save room for dessert crepes filled with fresh fruits or chocolate treats. (843-839-4019)
4 House of Blues
This restaurant and music hall offers Cajun fare and great live music performed by nationally and internationally known rock, folk, blues, jazz and blues bands. Besides offering interesting night life entertainment, they also serve up a wonderful Sunday Gospel Brunch. Phenomenal gospel music is performed live during the entire brunch. The regular lunch and dinner menus are filled with Southern stick-to-your-rubs favorites such as pulled-pork barbecue, salt-and-pepper fried catfish, jamabalaya and BBQ ribs. Call ahead for a schedule of upcoming events. Ticket prices and showtimes vary -- most are about $20 and start around 8pm. Smoking section available during lunch hours only. (843-272-3000)
3 Chestnut Hill
Known for its outstanding American fare and charming atmosphere, this restaurant tops many "favorites" lists. All of the fish and seafood they serve are fresh -- How fresh? Try this on for size: The upscale restaurant owns and operates its own fishing boat. But for those with more terrene tastes, there are delicious steak, chicken, lamb and veal selections, helping Chestnut Hill stand as one of the Strand's most versatile dinner choices. Perhaps the best meal of the week is Chestnut Hill's Sunday brunch, which features Eggs Benedict, peel-and-eat shrimp, Southern fried chicken and a wide selection of house-made desserts. (843-449-3984)
2 Magnolia's at 26th
Located on the ground floor of a hotel convention center, this restaurant draws lots of locals who only venture downtown in the summer months if there's something really good waiting for them. This buffet-style eatery serves three hots a day, but breakfast may be its best offering. Hot grits, gravy and biscuits along with eggs, bacon, sausage give guests a true taste of the South to start their days. Fresh fruit and French toast are available for those with a morning sweet tooth. The friendly service and relaxed atmosphere make this place well worth waking up to on your vacation. (843-839-3993)
1 Mammy's Kitchen
This downtown Myrtle Beach institution has been serving locals and tourists hot, home-style meals for 60 years, Mammy's is famous for its breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. From freshly prepared pancakes, eggs, fried potatoes, sausage and bacon for breakfast to a wide selection of meats and vegetables for lunch and dinner, Mammy's has it all. But the main draw is the first meal of the day, perfect for filling up before a long day at the beach. Mammy's puts out a spread for breakfast, including fresh fruit that goes well over French toast and hot grits with all the fixings. (843-449-7242)
About Terry Massey
It's no surprise that journalist Terry Massey is credited with creating the word 'stay-cation.' He considers the past 18 years in Myrtle Beach a vacation.
He and his wife Stephanie were honeymooning in Myrtle Beach, when Terry was offered a job at the local newspaper. Without hesitation, they packed a U-Haul with their belongings - including unopened wedding gifts - and moved to the beach. They now have a daughter, Riley, a golden retriever, Duff, and their roots are deeply grounded in the sand.
After 13 years at the newspaper, Terry became a freelance writer to cover all the things that brought him to the beach.
Read more about Terry Massey here.
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