Featuring more than 20 local restaurants serving tapas-sized samples of their best dishes, Taste of the Inlet is a culinary contest and a heated competition among some of the top restaurants on the Grand Strand, the 60-mile stretch of coast that surrounds Myrtle Beach.
Interestingly, much of the seafood served in Myrtle Beach actually comes from the fishing and shrimp boats that sail out of Murrells Inlet, as well as its tidal creeks.
Fresh fish and shrimp are also delivered directly from the docks to the kitchen doors of Murrells Inlet's seafood restaurants, as are the blue crabs and oysters harvested out of the local swamps and marshes.
Murrells Inlet provides the freshest possible seafood to its restaurants and their customers, who are in for a treat when these eateries compete. Taste of the Inlet is like going out to eat at 20 different places in one night!
Taste of the Inlet lets beach visitors and locals experience the Grand Strand's tasty seafood — Photo courtesy of Murrells Inlet 2020
Held at Inlet Square Mall in Murrells Inlet, Taste of the Inlet sees hundreds of hungry patrons flock to the festival to sample top-notch cuisine. Restaurants and chefs vie for the title of best in show by serving their best dishes.
Ironically, the real winner is the general public, who gets the opportunity to taste the delicious and creative recipes that are rolled out by dozens of award-winning chefs and restaurants.
Although the annual fundraiser for Murrells Inlet 2020 is understandably heavy on seafood, there are also plenty of "land food" options for those who prefer a little surf-and-turf combo.
The menu lineup is a closely guarded secret among chefs seeking a competitive advantage, but visitors can count on a wide selection of Lowcountry favorites with a twist, such as the Crab Cakes and Filet Medallions in a Wine Sauce.
Patrons purchase food and drink tickets for $1 apiece, and most dishes range from two to four tickets for sample-sized portions. Visitors are allowed to vote for their favorites in the People's Choice category, and a panel of expert judges rate the plates anonymously before an overall champion is crowned in soups, appetizers, entrees, desserts and booth decor.
Among the participating restaurants in this year's event are Bliss, Bovines, Flo's Place, Hot Fish Club, Lee's Inlet Kitchen, Murrells Inlet Smokehouse, On the Half Shell and Salt Water Creek Cafe, just to name a few.
There will also be more kid-friendly menu items available, such as pizza and chicken fingers. There's food for the whole family regardless of their taste buds, as well as live music, entertainment and the all-important awards ceremony.