341 Robert M. Grissom Parkway, 843-945-4111, truebbqmb.com
$$-$$$, L, D
They claim that the flavor-bite behind Myrtle Beach's best barbecue brisket is smoking it on Southern oak wood. About the dish dubbed Marilyn loaded fries with BBQ pork? … no one's squealing any secrets.
Beachside @Sands Ocean Club, 9550 Shore Drive, 800-786-6662, oceanannies.com
$, L, D
No shoes? No shirt? Well, c'mon in! There's live music, dancing in the sand and on the patio, a swimming pool, and bikini-clad servers delivering pitchers of cocktails.
504 16th Ave. N., 843-712-2048, facebook.com/BigMikesSoulfood
$, L, D
"People tell me they can taste the love," says Big Mike of his tiny soul-food joint. He's talking about the daily queues for his collard greens, hush puppies, fried chicken and smothered pork chops.
Pier View Open Air Bar
$-$$, L, D
Offering 180-degree Atlantic Ocean views from its perch on MB's 2nd Avenue Pier, this scenic spot draws the beautiful crowd, who come for the creative cocktails and seafood-themed casual fare menu.
5101 N. Kings Highway, 843-449-9191, aspen-grille.com
$$$, D, R
Being a Southern-fare eatery that sources South Carolina ingredients is clearly the reason folks flock here to chow on specialties like fried green tomatoes and black Angus sliders. The regulars know to end their meal with the homegrown blueberry bread pudding.
Johnny D's Waffles and Bakery
3301 N. Kings Highway, 843-448-6789, johnnydswafflesandbakery.com
$ B, L
Jambalaya omelets, Benedicts with corned beef hash or crab cakes, and coconut-banana waffles are some of the imaginative fare of this award-winning eatery. Heck, you'll even want a doggie bag for the heavenly homemade hand scrub in the ladies room.
8907 N. Kings Highway, 843-497-9700, piratesvoyage.com
$$, D, R
Arr'ing buccaneers-in-training fearlessly drag their landlubbing parents to this swashbuckling, four-course dinner show where Captain Hook battles and searches for buried booty. After, those wee ones can yo-ho-ho around the interactive Pirate's Village for sing-alongs and sideshows.
Heidi Vukov of Croissants
3751 Robert M Grissom Pkwy, 843-448-2253, croissants.net
$-$$, B, L
Myrle Beach's revered pastry chef and cookbook author has expanded her bakery into an imaginative bistro, serving pastries and café fare, sunrise to sunset.
Hoosier Daddy's Modern State Fair Fare
Beachfront at The Grand Strand, 843-424-5724, hoosierdaddys-biz.com
$, L, D
The long queues and carnival aromas are the clue to finding this popular mobile kitchen. When you finally reach the counter, you'll choose among corn dogs, funnel cake, tenderloin sandwiches — Hoosier Daddy's replicates those nostalgic flavors found at a midwestern state fair, on wheels.
Fire and Smoke
411 79th Ave., 843-449-0085, fireandsmokegastropub.com
$$$, D, R
Whiffs of tantalizing sweet meat from the wood-fired grill and smoker pervade your scent receptors the moment you arrive. Inside await melt-in-your mouth lamb porterhouse, duck-confit nachos, scallop Benedict and more of what's considered some of MB's most creatively concocted cuisine.
Scatori's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant
1399 S. Commons Drive, 843-650-3370, scatoris.com
$$, L, D
Pizza aficionados rave about the N.Y.-style thin-crust pies here. "It's got the fold, dip and drip, and we hand make the dough two to three times a day. It's my brother-in-law's recipe. We're from the New York/New Jersey area, so it's authentic," says executive chef Kevin Levine, who has competed on Food Network's "Cutthroat Kitchen." Purists prefer plain, but the specialty pies (think fresh vegetables and seafood) are scrumptious.
Coastal Wine Boutique and Tasting Bar
301 21st Ave. N., 843-808-9332, coastalwineboutique.com
$-$$, L, D, R
Who'd have thunk that this clandestine hideaway buried in the tourist district could be a destination for such a vast array of exotic international wines? They're also famed for their Egyptian hookah lounge, run by a hookah master (an expert mixologists of the smokes) and sophisticated lite-fare menu.
The Chemist Craft Cocktails and Modern Cuisine
300 Ninth Ave. N., 843-443-7077, chemistbar.com
$$$, L (Saturday and Sunday), D
Belly up to the bar for some radioactive Coke or a thyme machine with a flux capacitor. The theme is molecular gastronomy at MB's new hocus-pocus-y "dining laboratory," where beverages arrive in experiment-style beakers.
110 9th Ave. N., 800-826-9379, thebowery.com
$, L, D
The super-country music group Alabama began as the house band here, and the groove continues today. Quality country music happens every night to crowds eager to discover the next great sound.
900 N. Ocean Blvd., 843-448-7424, peaches-corner.com
$$-$$$, B, L, D, R
This circa-1937 burger and footlong joint is a throwback to the days of simpler fare. The menu hasn't changed much since its inception, except the addition of totally addictive deep-fried Oreos.
4123 Highway 17 Business, 843-651-9987, thewickedtuna.com
$$$, L, D, R
If you look out back here while munching on your blackened bayou prawns, you might spy WT's fishing fleet dropping off today's catch — laying confirmation to the restaurant's "hook to plate" claim. Or just trust us, and feast your eyes on the spectacular panoramic ocean vistas instead.
Autism-Friendly Space at Myrtle Beach International Airport, 1100 Jetport Road, 843-448-1580, visitmyrtlebeach.com/blog/post/autism-friendly-myrtle-beach. Partnering with the local Champion Autism Network, the Myrtle Beach airport has become the second in the country to provide families with autistic children a quiet room to decompress after a flight. Located in the baggage claim area, the room features pillowed and cushioned cubicles.
American Tap House, Broadway at the Beach, 843-712-2301, americantaphouse.com. This rocking, rustic-vibe tavern opened last fall, offering innovative gastro-pub fare , more than 40 craft beers on tap, outdoor dining and live entertainment.
Costa Coastal Kitchen and Bar, 4606 U.S. 17 Business, 843-299-1970, costamyrtlebeach.com. Located in Murrell's Inlet, aka the seafood capital of South Carolina, the cuisine here features coastal Italian dishes crafted from fresh catches and local ingredients. "The best views of the Inlet ... are on our plates!" says managing partner Howard Howell.
International Culinary Institute's new restaurant and bakery, 920 Crabtree Lane, Fowler, 843-349-5334, hgtc.edu/academics/academic_departments/culinary_institute/restaurants. MB's Culinary Institute has launched a 100-seat open-kitchen concept restaurant. Operated by students and offering gourmet dishes at impossibly low prices, the nightly menu features provisions derived from local farms and fishers.
RipTydz Oceanfront Grill & Rooftop Bar, 1210 N. Ocean Blvd., 843-839-4705, riptydz.com. "We looked at everything that's lacking here in the restaurant scene and entertainment venues, and built it," proclaims general manager Dave Goodbread. Opening early June, this 500-seat oceanfront eatery will offer an array of dining and cocktail, wine and beer spaces, spanning rooftop to beach. Outside are volleyball courts and a concert stage.
Southern Living Store, 3064 Howard Ave., 843-945-2714, marketcommonmb.com/listing/southern-living. Ever wish you could find some of the dreamy products you read about in fancy home or fashion magazines? MB is home to the nation's first retail translation of Southern Living Magazine.
Naomi and Stanley Bleifield Gallery at Brookgreen Gardens, 1931 Brookgreen Drive, 843-235-6000, brookgreen.org. Showcasing the work of historic and contemporary sculptors whose subjects are taken from the natural world, Brookgreen Gardens boasts the most comprehensive collection of American figurative sculpture in the country.
Ripley's Aquarium of Myrtle Beach Glass Bottom Boat Adventure,1110 Celebrity Circle, 843-916-0888, ripleyaquariums.com/myrtlebeach. Enter if you dare, because just three inches of glass separates guests from the sharp-toothed predators of the Dangerous Reef Tank! This is the first of what's billed as just two indoor glass-bottom boat adventures in North America.
Sun Fun Festival: Myrtle Beach's official kickoff to summer, this fest features a parade, games and beach concerts. Better still the event is held in conjunction with Native Son's SALT surfing competitions and lifeguard games. June 2-3. sunfunmb.com
The Carolina Country Music Fest: Calling itself "the East Coast's largest outdoor country music fest," it draws more than two dozen of the industry's biggest stars to perform in a glorious oceanside setting. This year's lineup features Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean and South Carolina native Darius Rucker. carolinacountrymusicfest.com
Conway Riverfest: Conway's charming waterfront festival is just 25 minutes from Myrtle Beach. Events include two entertainment stages, bull rides, an artisan market, local fare and a Jell-O jumping contest. July 1. conwayriverfest.com
Murrells Inlet 4th of July Boat Parade: Dozens of floating vessels decked out in their finest patriotic pageantry set sail in celebration of Independence Day. In the evening, nab an outdoor table at Creek Ratz (4065 Highway 17 Bus, creekratz.com) and munch on hush puppies and a bucket of oysters while you wait for the big fireworks show. July 4. visitmyrtlebeach.com/event/murrells-inlet-4th-of-july-boat-parade/12330
Beach, Boogie & BBQ Festival: Ahhh, that Wing Competition & Tasting. The BBQ Derby. The Beer Garden. And dozens of other local food vendors. Then, if you can still move, oink yourself over to the cornhole competition, car show and the main stage for live music, before the fireworks finale. Sept. 1 and 2. visitmyrtlebeach.com/things-to-do/events/beach-boogie-bbq-festival.
B = breakfast
L = lunch
BR = brunch
D = dinner
R = reservations suggested
$ = entrees under $15
$$ = $15-$24
$$$ = $25 and up