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Krystal, 3120 U.S. 17 Business (Murrells Inlet): June 2013   14 comments

Posted at 12:30 am in grand-strand,out-of-area,restaurants

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Apparently this was not the last Krystal in South Carolina, but it's pretty close. It looks like the other few that are left are clustered along the Georgia and North Carolina border areas with none in the Midlands, Pee Dee or Low Country.

This store, on US-17 Business near to Inlet Square Mall is not in an obviously bad location (though a Five Guys did open nearby a couple of years ago) but is in a little strip that doesn't seem to prosper. In particular, a Moe's failed a few storefronts down, something that seemed unlikely to me at the time, and one end unit has cycled through quite a few entertainment concepts (comedy club, karakoe..) in the last few years.

Written by ted on July 10th, 2013

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Our Lives, Our Fortunes And Our Sacred Honor   1 comment

Posted at 12:03 am in commentary,grand-strand

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Written by ted on July 4th, 2013

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Extra Crispy Crust, Please! (Pizza Hut, 530 Church Street Georgetown: December 2012) Open Again   8 comments

Posted at 1:13 am in grand-strand,out-of-area,restaurants

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UPDATE 9 April 2014 -- Here are a few pictures from early January 2014 of the new building, which is now open. (Unfortunately, it was a very grey day):

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Written by ted on June 1st, 2013

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Rosa Linda's Restaurant & Taproom, 3415 US-17 (Murrells Inlet): April 2013 (arguably)   no comments

Posted at 1:00 am in grand-strand,nightclub,restaurants

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Well, this is no surprise I'm afraid.

I've told how the original Rosa Linda's was the first Mexican (ish) restaurant where I was a regular, and an important part of my beach trips from the 80s into the oughties, so I was quite excited when the original Rosa Linda's family started to re-establish the restaurant in the former Hoof 'n' Finz in Murrells Inlet where US-17 business and US-17 bypass reconverge around Inlet Square Mall.

When they finally re-opened, everything tasted exactly as I had remembered it, from the yellow rice to the pinto beans flavored with crisp bits of lightly cooked onion. My only disappointment was that the new floor plan (and possibly elevation..) did not make a pizza oven possible as I had really loved the pizzas in the old locations. (And after all it was "The Mexican / Italian Connection").

My only concern was that attendance seemed very light the times I was there, and sure enough I found it closed on one of my 2011 trips.

Later, I heard it was open again, but the story seemed a bit confusing. Basically piecing things together from the Rosa Linda's Facebook page, and some things that local restaurant writer Becky Billingsley (who often seems to know more than she puts down) had written (here, here, here, and here)., I think the story was this: The original owners had a silent partner in the re-establishment of Rosa Linda's and when the initial financial goals weren't met, the silent partner took over the operation with some grandiose plans for making it a chain.

I was a bit reluctant to go back, as the original manager knew me by sight if not by name, and I didn't want to undercut her, but after I saw that they had moved to Texas, I figured it would be OK to check it out. My thought was that the new management would have tinkered with the menu, possibly adding some standard Mexican fare such as chile rellenos etc while keeping the signature items in place. In fact that was not the case, and the menu was completely new without any of the historical Rosa Linda's items. I thought it was acceptable, but gave me no reason to come to Rosa Linda's in preference to the many other Mexican restaurants on the strand. I mean, no Mexicana Mud? Come on!

After that, the place showed the dreaded Rule #1 from signs your favorite restaurant will soon be closing: The hours changed. More to the point, though the place was not supposed to be seasonal, it closed for the winter with a note on the roadside marquee that it would be open again in March. When I went down in March, the sign said it would be open again in April. I think we all know how that story ends! When I went down in early May, the branding signs (except for the parking lot marker) had all been taken down, there were Home Depot boxes and packing tape inside, and the new phonebooks sat in lonliness outside the front doors.

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Written by ted on May 14th, 2013

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Myrtle Beach IMAX, 1325 Celebrity Circle: November 2011   11 comments

Posted at 12:20 am in attraction,entertainment,grand-strand

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IMAX theaters are kind of an odd duck in the movie world. They have tremendous screens and potentially a lot of advantages over regular theaters, but all seem to be run on kind of an amateur basis. For a time, South Carolina had two IMAX screens, one at the Charleston Aquarium, and this one at Broadway At The Beach in Myrtle Beach.

I used to go down to the Charleston one fairly regularly for spectacles like Harry Potter and The Polar Express. I wasn't too surprised when it went under as the parking situation was rather fraught.

Given the amount of time I spend on the Grand Strand, it always surprised me how seldom I got to the Myrtle Beach IMAX. It just seemed that whenever I would check it out, it was all sharks & dinosaurs. From time to time there would be a a good second run movie there, like Beauty & The Beast, The Phantom Menace or The Dark Knight, but it was always six months or more after the fact, by which time I had usually seen them elsewhere. (Though for the record, the IMAX cut of The Phantom Menace was much better than the regular theatrical release because the hard running-time limit imposed on IMAX at the time, due to the huge weight of the reels, forced Lucasfilms to cut a lot of the dross..).

This pattern continued even when IMAX hit its peak nationally with big hits. Given the lackluster record of the Myrtle Beach site, I wasn't too surprised when it closed in November of 2011. As it turns out though, there was a reason the place was so far below its potential. According to The Sun News the IMAX actually had a non-compete agreement with the Carmike 16 adjoining it at Broadway At The Beach. The fact that they would ever have agreed to such a thing kind of confirms my opinion of the amateur nature of IMAX management, but does explain why they never had the hit first-run movies. The ampitheatre re-opened this summer as a Carmike property, using a different big-screen technology called BIGD. I have not had a chance to check it out, but presumably there is no longer an issue of Carmike competing with itself.

Currently South Carolina has no IMAX locations. I believe that Charlotte is the closest outlet, but I have incorporated an IMAX stop into my Florida vacations for the last few years of big releases. Tampa had two, one at the port Canalside complex in Ybor City, and one at the big science museum. The Canalside location closed a year or so ago, and the last two years, I have hit the World Golf Hall of Fame location in St. Augustine for Dark Knight offerings. I'm pretty sure that this summer they had switched to digital projection, and it was much less impressive. In fact, I'm pretty sure I could see pixels at times. IMAX seems to be floundering at the corporate level as well as at the local. In recent years, they have diluted their brand by revamping mall-type multiplexes and labeling them IMAX. This, of course, leads Internet wags to label these outlets as "Liemax" locations, and there is no easy way to tell from their publicity which locations are true IMAX and which are not. In the meantime, Hollywood seems to be betting that High Frame Rate rather than huge screens is the next big thing. I guess time will tell, but in the meantime, even sharks and dinosaurs are gone from Myrtle Beach.

Written by ted on February 18th, 2013

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Little PaPa's Bar-B-Que / SBBQ Bar-B-Que, 2921 Georgetown Highway: 2000s   2 comments

Here's a little barbecue joint (and live venue apparently) in between Andrews & Georgetown on US-521 west of US-17Alt.

It looks as though there were some attempt to rebrand it after Little PaPa's closed.

The pig does not appear to have fully grasped the gravity of his situation..

Written by ted on January 15th, 2013

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Brookgreen Gardens Nights of 1000 Candles 2012, Brookgreen Gardens (Grand Strand): 22 December 2012   no comments

Posted at 1:38 am in attraction,events,grand-strand

I went down to see the Gardens last weekend (the 15th) and ended up getting rained out, so I took a daytrip back yesterday.

This was neither the warmest nor the coldest of the Candles events I've been to, but it was cold enough that I had trouble feeling the smaller camera controls with frigid fingers..

I didn't take my tripod this year. They were disallowed last year, and while I didn't see any verbiage one way or another this time, I decided I would do more handheld shots at high-ISO rather than try to get a lot of long exposures. (Though I did set the camera on various rests to get some). That is preface to say there is a good bit more noise than previous picture sets, but there are still some nice ones.

They went all out in the exhibit room with electric trains this year -- possibly the most iconic Christmas present for boys of a certain age. The room had that immediately identifiable ozone smell from the working transformers and small hot engines as well as the unique sounds of O-27 trains (there were other guages as well). I've still got a set up in the attic -- I ought to take it out and set it up some time.

If you liked this set, there are others: 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008.

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Written by ted on December 24th, 2012

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Kangaroo Express, 2950 Glenns Bay Connector (Surfside Beach): Fall 2012   3 comments

Posted at 12:41 am in grand-strand,out-of-area,stores

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The Glenns Bay Connector runs, under a couple of different street names, from oceanfront in Surfside Beach, across US-17 business, across US-17 bypass and to SC-707.

Between US-17 and 17 bypass, it is two lanes only. This has not been enough for years, especially since a large number of appartments have been built off of the road in this area. If you are trying to go from the bypass to US-17 in the afternoon, there will always be somebody stopped in the road trying to make a left turn into their complex, backing traffic up for blocks.

Currently there is a project underway to widen the road, and it has apparently eaten this Kangaroo Express on the north east side of the intersection. Don't cry for Kangaroo because there is *another* one on the south east side of the intersection.

It looks to me as though the carwash has been closed longer than the store itself.

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Written by ted on November 9th, 2012

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Fireworks Over Barefoot Landing: 4 July 2012   no comments

Posted at 4:45 pm in entertainment,events,grand-strand

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Written by ted on July 5th, 2012

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Socastee Mini Mart, 8545 Highway 544 (Socastee): Fall 2011 (open again)   9 comments

Posted at 12:06 am in grand-strand,out-of-area,stores

Someone can probably look at the gas price signs and make a better guess at exactly when Socastee Mini Mart went under, but I'm pretty sure it was open last summer and not last November 13th (when these pictures were taken -- Unfortunately, it was not a sunny day).

The place is on SC-544, probably 5 miles on the Socastee side of Coastal Carolina. SC-544 is the handy little cut-through from US-501 to US-17 and can save you a lot of grief if you end up inbound to Myrtle by the north route. It's less useful than it used to be though, as there are now more lights and a constant 45MPH speed limit. For many years, the road had a real rural character, and this station is a holdover from that era. Now however the area is getting more and more built up, and "regular" chains are starting to move in.

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Written by ted on June 23rd, 2012

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