Best Southern Restaurants in Myrtle Beach

Southern Cooking Stays True to Its Roots in Myrtle Beach

There are three kinds of Southern cuisine that are commonplace on the Grand Strand - country cooking, Lowcountry cooking and soul food. Newcomers may not notice the subtle differences at first, especially since there are a lot of crossover dishes, but Southern-cooking connoisseurs can tell chicken bog from pilau - both rice dishes with similar ingredients but distinctly different for longtime lovers of Coastal Carolina cuisine.

Country cooking is more traditional and familiar to visitors. Fried chicken, grilled pork chops, chicken-fried steak with sides of mashed potatoes and gravy and other vegetables. Long-standing institutions like Mammy's Kitchen and The Shack know how to put out a spread just like grandma used to make.

Lowcountry cooking is specific to the Coastal Carolina area and features some of the treasures from the area's tidal creeks and swamps, such as crab cakes, shrimp and grits and she-crab soup. The influences of Gullah and plantation culture combined with traditional Southern fare to create a unique taste. Webster's in Pawleys Island serves the best around.

Soul food also takes a page from the Gullah cookbook with some comfort-food classics, like fresh oysters, mac and cheese, collard greens and more. Big Mike's is the place to feed your face with soul food. Of course, the ultimate Southern food, barbecue, is available at many of these country cooking hot spots.


North Myrtle Beach

This family-owned and operated barbecue joint is a popular spot among locals who like their smoked meat with all the Southern-flavored trimmings. Not only will you get the great taste of true Carolina pork barbecue, slow cooked over hickory coals until it is melt-in-your-mouth tender, but also its famous barbecue chicken. Whichever you choose, your plate also will be packed with hot hushpuppies, cole slaw, fries, potato salad and most any other country dish your tummy desires. Save room for a dish of banana pudding or peach cobbler. This family owned and operated eatery is also a fun hangout for locals.

Recommended for Southern because: The Barbecue House is known for its pulled pork but locals also come for the home-cooking.

Terry's expert tip: Fridays are Frogmore Stew Day, when seafood, smoked sausage, corn on the corn and potatoes combine to make a tasty local delicacy.

Read more about Bar B Que House →

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, including its famous meat loaf, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and cornbread. 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 Southern because: Experience a true taste of country cooking and the good, old days of North Myrtle Beach at Hoskin's.

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

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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 Southern because: There are lots of places to get country cooking, but Webster's is the place for Lowcountry cooking.

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 →


Rock 'n roll was born in the Deep South, and the House of Blues reflects its roots both with its music and its food. This soul-food restaurant and music hall offers everything from Cajun-inspired jambalaya to Memphis-style ribs and barbecue. Great live music is performed by nationally and internationally touring 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 Southern because: Experience Southern cuisine and roots-rock music in a unique environment at the House of Blues.

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.

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Just look for the huge, colorful sign out front, and you'll know that you've found Locals. A light and airy atmosphere awash in white serves as the backdrop for a menu that dishes up traditional American eats. Open for breakfast and lunch, Locals offers a traditional country breakfast of eggs made to order with bacon, sausage, country ham, grits, hash browns, biscuits and toast. In addition to a regular menu of burgers, sandwiches and fries for lunch, Locals has daily specials of a meat and three vegetables. If you still have room for dessert, try a slice of pie a la mode.

Recommended for Southern because: Locals Corner offers Southern hospitality and great country coking for the price.

Terry's expert tip: Locals Corner is located in an industrial park area so it gets pretty busy around lunch time. For quicker service, visit a little before or after the noon hour.

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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 save room for dessert.

Recommended for Southern because: Prosser's offers a great sampling of Southern coking and South Carolina barbecue.

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.

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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 casual atmosphere make this place well worth waking up to on your vacation.

Recommended for Southern because: Great country cooking and an ocean view make Magnolia's a must-visit.

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.

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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. Biscuits and gravy, pancakes and sausage, country ham and grits are among the many house specialties available every day.

Recommended for Southern because: This traditional diner has undergone a major upgrade, both the decor and the menu.

Terry's expert tip: Breakfast is now served until 2:30 p.m. daily so no need to rush out of bed to get a good taste of breakfast.

Read more about The Shack →

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 Southern because: Big Mike's head cook, Queenie Bowens, is a magician in the kitchen.

Terry's expert tip: Forget about the menu; the dry erase board has all the great 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 Southern because: Generations of families have been returning to dine at Mammy's since this Myrtle Beach institution opened in 1953.

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.

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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