The Myrtle Beach City Foods Guide: Famous Foods of U.S. Cities Served along the Grand Strand
As Myrtle Beach continues to grow, so does its culinary palette. What has been widely regarded as a town filled with seafood buffets now has more culinary offerings than ever before. And some tasty options may hit pretty close to home for many visitors and transplanted locals.
Visitors from several cities and regions throughout the United States will be surprised to find that many signature dishes well known for their geographic birthplace are served at select restaurants along the Grand Strand. St. Louis toasted ravioli, po’ boys from New Orleans, Baltimore crab cakes and locally-grown meals like shrimp and grits are just some of the delicious foods that are served throughout the Grand Strand. And we’ve compiled a ‘City Foods Guide‘ showing you exactly where you can find these delicious hometown meals along the beach.
There are a few accounts on how toasted ravioli originated in St. Louis depending on who you ask, including multiple Italian restaurants in the mid-1900s that attest to the delicious appetizer’s true origin–either accidentally or purposefully dropped into hot oil instead of boiling water. The tasty fried squares live on today as breaded ravioli, filled with either cheese or meat and dropped into a fryer. A few restaurants along the Grand Strand, like Maggie D’s in Myrtle Beach and Aromas Pizza, Pasta & Subs in Murrells Inlet, serve this delicious appetizer which pairs deliciously with marinara sauce and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
The birth of the Po’ Boy sandwich originated nearly 100 years ago in New Orleans after a street car strike had begun during the Great Depression by the street car workers in the city. Some of the workers on strike opened up a sandwich shop where they placed potatoes and roast beef gravy between loaves of French bread as the initial dish and lo-and-behold, the poor boy sandwich, aka Po’ Boy, was born. Now you can find a Po’ Boy in many variations, including fried shrimp, catfish or oysters served with pickles, hot sauce, lettuce and tomatoes. Being the seafood destination Myrtle Beach likens itself to be, there are many places along the Grand Strand that dish out the famous sandwich like Mr. Fish in Myrtle Beach and Flo’s Place in Murrells Inlet.
A Cajun specialty, the seafood boil has spread across the southern United States as a delicious dig-in type of meal traditionally used for social events. A traditional boil may include crawfish, crab legs, shrimp, ears of corn and red potatoes, along with a plethora of spices and seasonings. If you want a true taste of southern comfort, visit The Noizy Oyster in Myrtle Beach and order one of their Steam Pots which include crab legs, crawfish, shrimp, red potatoes, corn on the cob and andouille sausage.
Continuing with seafood is the Baltimore crab cake. The phrase “crab cake” may not have been used regularly until the 20th century when the delicious concoction was referred to as “Baltimore crab cakes.” Crab cakes come in different variations including crab meat, bread crumbs, eggs and seasoning and spices. There are plenty of spots along the Grand Strand that serve the tasty dish, including Brother Shuckers Fish House in Carolina Forest, Flamingo Grill in Myrtle Beach and Lee’s Inlet Kitchen in Murrells Inlet just to name a few.
It’s no surprise that the Philly cheesesteak would end up on this list; it’s nearly second nature when discussing popular city foods that the Philly cheesesteak is instantly mentioned. What began as two brothers with a hot dog cart became a new craze once they experimented with a sandwich consisting of beefsteak and onions (provolone would be added later) between an Italian roll. This would lead to the Philly cheesesteak becoming one of the most well-known sandwiches in the country and the Grand Strand has plenty of dining options available for those looking to get their cheesesteak fix. Popular destinations include Dagwood’s Deli in Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach, Peppers Philly Steaks & Pizza in Socastee and the Cheesesteak Factory in Surfside Beach.
Pork Roll Sandwich
New Jersey native John Taylor is credited for the creation of the pork roll in 1856. The ham hybrid is so famous in Trenton that the city held its inaugural Pork Roll Festival in 2014. Pork roll is normally eaten as a sandwich with condiments including salt, pepper, lettuce and tomato, among other toppings. It’s also popularly used in the “Jersey Breakfast” sandwich with eggs and cheese between a bagel or roll. Jersey Bagels & Subs in Carolina Forest serves up multiple variations of the famous pork roll sandwich, including breakfast options and grilled sandwich options.
Primanti Brothers Sandwich
If there were ever a comfort food created to ease the after-effects of a night of partying, it’s the Primanti Brothers sandwich. What includes meat, provolone cheese, slaw, tomato and loaded with fresh cut fries in-between two pieces of Italian bread is an appetizing and near perfect sandwich invented in Pittsburgh. If you’re looking to try this delicious meal, head to Oscar’s in North Myrtle Beach and ask for your sandwich to be “Pittsburgh Style.”
A popular dish in Baltic, Slavic and other Eastern European countries, the pierogi has multiple origin stories that are still disputed. However, the pierogies’ introduction to the United States dates back to the Great Depression, where unemployed steel mill workers were served the stuffed dumplings. Fillings for pierogi include fried onions, meat, mashed potatoes, strawberries and apples, among others. The dish is popular in many U.S. cities, but Pittsburgh loves the pierogi so much that the Pittsburgh Pirates created a home-game tradition that pits contestants in a “pierogi race” to commemorate the beloved food. You can find many delicious Baltic food items, including homemade pierogies stuffed with potato and cheese, meat or kraut at Pulaski’s Deli in Myrtle Beach.
New York Style Pizza
The only dish that rivals the Philly cheesesteak based on its namesake is New York style pizza. Never has a phrase been used more than “New York Style Pizza” to attract hungry customers and pizza enthusiasts. Authentic New York pizza is well known for its thin hand-tossed crusts, light spread of tomato sauce and grated mozzarella cheese. Gino’s Real New York Pizza in Carolina Forest is a top destination for pizza by the slice or the whole pie, including the Bada Bing and Sicilian pizzas.
The signature sandwich of New York City, the pastrami reigns supreme as the classiest of sandwiches in the U.S. Traditionally placed between marbled rye bread is thinly cut slices of pastrami, thickly layered for a delicious and appetizing sandwich. If you’re searching for the best pastrami sandwich experience along the Grand Strand, head to Kaminsky’s New York Deli on the north end of Myrtle Beach or The Bagel Factory in Myrtle Beach, which also serves their own freshly baked bagels.
Shrimp and Grits
Shrimp and grits is synonymous with South Carolina’s Lowcountry, which starts in Jasper County and reaches as far north as Pawley’s Island. Shrimp and Grits has had a significant impact on Southern culinary cuisine–yes, Lowcountry is not a city, but this dish deserves a place on this list regardless. For a tasty bowl of shrimp and grits, head to Fire & Smoke in Myrtle Beach, which includes jumbo shrimp, white cheddar, applewood smoke bacon, andouille, mushroom, smoked tomato and shellfish broth. Or visit Sea Captain’s House in Myrtle Beach or Flying Fish Public Market & Grill at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach. It’s highly recommended that you try this dish on your next visit to the Grand Strand.
Obviously, North Carolina is not a city, but Carolina style barbecue deserves representation on this list due to its popularity along the Grand Strand and throughout the Carolinas. Carolina barbecue is normally classified into two categories: Lexington and Eastern style. Lexington style uses only the pork shoulder while Eastern style uses almost every part of the pig for its barbecue. Both styles also use different sauces. For a plate of delicious Carolina style barbecue, visit Little Pigs Bar-B-Q in Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach, Simply Southern in Myrtle Beach or Prosser’s Barbecue in Murrells Inlet for a delicious plate of Carolina barbecue.
The Cuban sandwich originated as a dish for migrant workers out of Cuba that reached the shores of Florida in the late 1800s and early 20th century. Although the sandwich is famous for its association to Key West, Miami and Tampa, Florida, Tampa officially named the layering of ham, pork, cheese, mustard and pickles between two long slices of Cuban bread the city’s signature sandwich, so Tampa earns its bragging rights for this list. To grab a bite from this hearty sandwich, go to Graham’s Landing in Murrells Inlet where their Cuban sandwiches are signature items.
San Diego, the mecca of all things fish tacos, has spread its infectiously-delicious beach meal across the United States, with many eateries imitating but never duplicating the dish. Mr. Fish of Myrtle Beach is an exception; give their Boom Boom Shrimp Tacos a try and you’ll want to surf every wave in Myrtle Beach. Featuring fried shrimp served over sautéed peppers and onions and topped with Mr. Fish’s signature Boom Boom sauce, you can’t go wrong with their iteration of the fish taco. Or hit up Sun City Cafe in downtown Myrtle Beach for their fresh fish tacos and you’ll leave wishing you were living in a van down by the beach.
This is really a no-brainer: the power food; the tailgate delicacy; one of the most consumed foods in the United States throughout the fall and winter months; the buffalo wing. Served covered in a delicious hot sauce and accompanied by a handful of celery and carrot sticks, the buffalo wing was first invented in, you guessed it, Buffalo, New York (although with anything ‘famous foods’, there’s almost always dispute regarding its origin story). If you’re looking for a delicious plate of chicken wings along the Grand Strand, head to King Street Grille at the Market Commons in Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet, Fat Jack’s Wings & Things in Surfside Beach or Wild Wing Cafe in North Myrtle Beach. And be sure to have your napkins ready.
Is there a dish we missed? Let us know in the comments section below!