Cozy Up to Comfort-Food Cooking in Myrtle Beach

Remember how mom's home cooking made everything all right? Nothing else seemed to matter when there was something good cooking on the stove. That's the magical power of good home-cooking, but you don't have to go home to get it.

Myrtle Beach and the surrounding Grand Strand area are lined with restaurants serving some of the same sweet meals your momma made. Country-fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy, creamy mac and cheese and crispy fried okra are just a few of the tasty morsels on the menu at some of the Strand's coziest comfort-food eateries.

Hungry enough to eat a horse but prefer some more traditional cuisine? Load up at one of the many country buffets that put out a massive spread like a big family meal. Mammy's Kitchen, Magnolia's at 26th and Prosser's BBQ are among the many all-you-can-eat buffets in the area, but three of the few that offer authentic home cooking.

For slightly smaller portions but an equal amount of love in each dish, check out Big Mike's for some soulful soul food or The Shack for some real country cooking. From old-school cafes like Hoskins to the more polished themed restaurants like the House of Blues, the Strand has you covered when it comes to home cooking. Grab a fork and see for yourself.


Little River has its share of upscale, seafood and waterfront dining, but sometimes you just need a cozy place to stuff your face with some good country cooking. Mama Jean's is that kind of place. Serving breakfast and lunch six days a week in the small town of Little River, Mama Jean's is known as a local hot spot for comfort food. Breakfast features all the Southern favorites - eggs, bacon, sausage and its famous grits. Lunch is all about the barbecue, slow-cooked Carolina-style BBQ, although a country buffet puts out a spread of fried chicken, meatloaf and mashed potatoes and other home-style vegetables. The menu also features burgers, sandwiches and seafood.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Mama Jean's country cooking provides a weloome change in a town known for seafood buffets.

Terry's expert tip: If you don't want to fill up on the buffet, order the popular Grilled Ham and Swiss on Rye.

Read more about Mama Jean's →

Hog Heaven BBQ
Photo courtesy of Hog Heaven Bar-B-Que

The sign says BBQ but the buffet goes the extra mile to include some of the best homestyle cooking on the South Strand. Also serving Lowcountry barbecue at it's best, Hog Heaven also does fresh local seafood and vegetables just like momma used to make. Hog Heaven is a small, stand-alone shop on a secluded stretch of highway just north of Georgetown, and people come from miles around the check out this unique eatery. Families gather around the picnic tables and feast on the smoked pork, ribs and other S.C. favorites. This place gets pretty busy on the weekends. Phone ahead for carry-out service.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Folks make the long drive for a taste of what the Hog is cooking.

Terry's expert tip: Hog Heaven is one of the few places that also smoke fresh, local seafood. Steamed oysters are available in season.

Read more about Hog Heaven BBQ →

Webster's offers more than great country cooking; a meal at this Pawleys Island institution is an experience in itself. Surrounded by live oak trees draped with Spanish moss, the setting is ideal for Lowcountry cuisine. Start with sherry-laced she crab soup or fried oysters, and follow with a traditional Southern favorite � shrimp and grits. The tavern menu is a bit more casual but no less tasty, offering burgers and sandwiches, fried fish and seafood, and salads. At breakfast, the buffet has a full range of favorites, from waffles, fresh fruit, pancakes and pastries to omelets, grits, potatoes and sausage.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Webster's has the best homestyle cooking on the South Strand.

Terry's expert tip: On balmy Pawleys Island evenings, Webster's deck is ideal for relaxing with a chilled glass of chardonnay or some ice cold sweet tea.

Read more about Webster's Low Country Grill & Bar →

North Myrtle Beach

If you're staying on the North Strand and have tired of the big crowds and long waits at the more high-profile, "touristy" spots, then why not give a local fav like Hoskins a shot? Located just up the street from the world-famous Fat Harold's shag club, this family-friendly restaurant serves everything from fresh flounder to your standard meat-and-three lunch specials such as meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy or fried pork chops. The true treat, though, lies in paying the place an AM visit � it's then that you can enjoy a good, homemade standards like grits, pancakes, and biscuits-n-gravy.

Recommended for Homestyle because: This North Myrtle Beach institution has a lot of history and a huge following.

Terry's expert tip: Walk off those breakfast calories with a stroll down North Myrtle Beach's Main Street for a nice afternoon walk.

Read more about Hoskin's →

Prosser's Bar-B-Q
Photo courtesy of Prosser's Bar-B-Q

This family-owned and operated eatery has been serving sweet barbecue and country cooking since 1953, and for good reason. Not only does Prosser's do barbecue the good ol' Southern way - slow smoked over hickory coals to perfection - it also serves some of the best country cooking on the Grand Strand. Fried chicken, country-fried steak and the Lowcountry favorite dish of chicken bog join barbecue and ribs on the buffet amid a sea of home-style vegetables. Breads and desserts are also available on the buffet, which is quite affordable for hungry visitors. Be sure to try the mustard-based sauce even if it's against your BBQ religion.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Prosser's brought its country cooking from the tiny town of Hemingway to the beach.

Terry's expert tip: Forget about the menu. The multi-item country buffet is the way to go even if you are not a heavy eater.

Read more about Prosser's Bar-B-Q →

This restaurant and music hall offers Cajun fare and Southern cuisine with an upscale twist. Fried catfish, jambalaya and ribs are among the Southern treats on the lineup, along with sides such as sweet potatoes, grits and more. The HOB also offers 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. 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.

Recommended for Homestyle because: The HOB is your headquarters for Southern-inspired music and food.

Terry's expert tip: Make reservations for the Sunday Gospel Brunch. This is one of the few reasons to wake up up early on your vacation.

Read more about House of Blues →

The Shack
Photo courtesy of 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, which can be ordered any time of day for the late-rising lunch crowd. The sweet tea is the best on the Strand.

Recommended for Homestyle because: The Shack has been keeping locals on visitors on the North Strand happy for decades.

Terry's expert tip: Noon can get a bit busy so shoot for an early or late lunch.

Read more about The Shack →

Magnolia's at 26th
Photo courtesy of Magnolias 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 neighborly atmosphere make this place well worth waking up to on your vacation.

Recommended for Homestyle because: The buffet ensures you won't leave Magnolia's at 26th hungry.

Terry's expert tip: Magnolia's leaves the breakfast bar open later on the weekends so an early afternoon brunch yields the bonus of both breakfast and lunch served simultaneously.

Read more about Magnolia's at 26th →

Big Mike's

Soul food doesn't get much more soulful than a Big Mike's, which features classic Southern cooking mixed with Southern hospitality to create a special place for locals and tourists alike. Named for owner and Myrtle Beach City Councilman Mike Chestnut, this place is packed with movers and shakers from the city rubbing elbows with everyday lunch lovers. For a mere $7.95, diners get their choice of one meat (fried pork chops or chicken, meat loaf, etc.) , three veggies (mashed potatoes, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, etc.) and a drink. Belly up to the lunch counter or bring a big party and grab a table for an enjoyable experience and some of the best food this side of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Soul food doesn't get much more soulful than Big Mike's cooking.

Terry's expert tip: Forget the menu and order off the dry-erase board featuring the daily specials.

Read more about Big Mike's →

Mammy's Kitchen
Photo courtesy of 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.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Generations of families have been filling up at Mammy's for more than 60 years.

Terry's expert tip: Don't be fooled by a new restaurant by the same name a few blocks away on Ocean Boulevard. The real Mammy's has been at the same location, on the corner of Kings Highway and Mr. Joe White Avenue, for decades.

Read more about Mammy's Kitchen →


Meet 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...  More About Terry