Archive for the ‘Murrells Inlet’ tag
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.
Brookgreen Gardens Nights of 1000 Candles 2012, Brookgreen Gardens (Grand Strand): 22 December 2012 no comments
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.
Well, it seems to me I got better pictures last year, but I had a good time as usual at Brookgreen Gardens Nights Of 1000 Candles last Saturday. The weather was nice -- I didn't have to zip my jacket or put on gloves, and the lights were as spectacular as usual.
If you will be in the vicinity of Murrells Inlet on 9, 10, 16, 17 or 18 December this year, you should definitely stop by and check it out!
I have a weakness for mermaids, but Hoof 'n' Finz in Murrells Inlet was not somewhere I ever ate.
What makes this closing notable for me is that it opens up a Murrells Inlet restaurant space for the return of the much missed Rosa Linda's.
This note from the Weekly Surge, along with this one make me hopeful, as the Favata family was involved with the original restaurants. Apparently the current plan is to be open for Cinco de Mayo, though I have to say, after looking over the work going on at the place, that will be pushing it.
This property listing notes some of the plusses and minuses of the location. Apparently the building is "majestic", but Suck-Bang-Blow is right across the street (spun as a positive in the listing "If this restaurant was ran correctly"..). Of course that only makes it difficult to deal with a couple of weeks a year.
Looking forward to it!
(Hat tip to commenter Buddy)
UPDATE 14 May 2011 -- Well, they are open! (And did make their Cinco deadline):
Brookgreen Gardens Nights of a Thousand Candles 2010, Brookgreen Gardens: 3 December 2010 (etc) 2 comments
Welcome to visitors from the www.city-data.com forum! If you want to see more grand strand area memories and pictures, click this link. There are posts on The Pavilion, Waccamaw Pottery and a number of other Grand Strand institutions -- Ted
[22 Jan 2010]
[12 Aug 2010]
Oliver's Lodge (pronounced as one word Oliverslodge) is the first seafood restaurant I can recall eating at.
Now, if you've read this blog for a while, you'll know I don't like seafood and never have. Nonetheless, as a kid I was always eager to go whenever we were at the beach. At that time (the late 1960s), they served a lunch menu until 5pm, and that menu had spaghetti, something I would always eat, so my folks usually tried to arrange for us to arrive just before 5 so I could have my spaghetti and the grownups could have "supper". The timing was usually touch-and-go since the place drew tremendous crowds, and getting there before 5 was no guarantee of being seated before 6.
Waiting for anything with kids is always dicey, and if there were cousins as well as my sister and me, things could very easily get out of hand, but the location worked towards letting kids "free range". As you can see from some of the pictures, Oliver's sits on a large lot fronting on Murrells Inlet itself. There were several huge trees (which are still there) and a derelict john-boat or two (now gone) as well as a dock going out into the marsh where the fresh fish were brought in each day during the time when the place was a working lodging house. In addition, the lot next door was a church which was generally vacant on weekday afternoons, so there was plenty of room to race around, and plenty of things to fool with. Best of all, the lodge's big back porch always had a low-country "joggling" board -- a long flexible plank suspended between two rocker-edged saw-horses. You could get a crowd of cousins on that going back and forth and up and down until the grownups would eventually get alarmed and tell us to take it easy.
My memory is that when we first started going, dining was mostly on the back porch which was, at that time, screened, but not air-conditioned. Aside from my spaghetti (or baked-potato or whatever I ended up having ot get if we missed the 5pm deadline), the food was basic Calabash Style fried seafood with piping hot delicious hush-puppies.
The building was always a bit ramshackle. I don't know when it stopped being a boarding house and went to restaurant only operation, but the big upstairs area was largely unused in my memory. When we started going, there was still a customer restroom available upstairs, and I always liked going up there and looking around -- by the 1970s I believe the upstairs was wholly closed to customer access.
Also in the 1970s, the owners tacked up plastic sheeting over the screen porch. And I do mean "plastic" and not plexiglass or anything solid. Whenever anyone would open a door or the air conditioning kicked in, the sheeting up over all the walls would billow in and out.
It seems to me that as the 70s went on, we went to Oliver's less and less. It's not that anyone stopped liking it, but more that other options became available as the coast commercialized. The last time I recall going with a large party of cousins was probably in the late 1970s just as my generation was heading to college. We ate inside rather than on the porch, and my cousin Mike stuck his nose in a big sawfish nose hung on the wall -- a picture that I'm sure will surface eventually. I think we also played name-that-drink charades with the bar menu.
After that, I believe the next time I ate there was the last. I think it was the early 1990s, and I was either alone or with a very small party. We (or I) was on the back porch, and I noticed that the plastic sheeting had been replaced with plexiglass. The menu was also radically different, and it was evident that Oliver's had undergone a change in ownership. The defining moment for me was when they brought out the huspuppies and I found they were served with raspberry butter. That might be good, but it wasn't Oliver's.
After that, and after I started spending a lot more time at the beach I thought of going back a number of times but somehow never got around to it. Last winter I actually made the effort, but it never worked out. I would find that it wasn't open weekdays during the off season, or that it was only open for lunch, or not open Mondays or -- that it was apparently never open.
That last was a conclusion I flirted with, but never quite committed to. After all the website was still up [try this archived version once that link goes dead] , I could see the tables set through the window, and there was no note on the door..
Finally I went back on 12 August this year, and this time it was obvious that the place was closed: There was a big bar across the front doors, Coke had put a sticker claiming the fountains inside and the place was seriously overgrown. All these photos except 2, 3, 4 & 5 come from that visit.
So when did the place actually close for the last time? That's hard to say, but look at photos 2, 3, 4 & 5. These were taken on 22 Jan 2010. In particular, look at the place settings on the back porch table. Although a chair has been moved, it is clear to me that the napkins, plates and silverware in the 22 Jan photos are exactly the same as in the 12 Aug photos. So, sometime before 22 Jan, the bus staff laid out all the place settings -- and never came back.
As I was taking these photos on 12 Aug, two different cars pulled into the lot looking to eat, and both parties took their own pictures and shared stories of eating there as kids as well.
I've been spending some time on the coast recently (Brookgreen Gardens had a nice little fall festival this weekend), and noticed this closing while driving by the terminally-ailing Inlet Square Mall where US-17 Business and US-17 Bypass come together at Murrells Inlet.
Tracking Grand Strand closings would be a full time job as the area has incredible churn, but I can't resist listing some here from time to time. Just two thoughts:
a) The economy must really be bad if Hooters can't sell what's on their menu.
b) They have a pre-printed company-logo sign (with slogan) for store closings?
UPDATE 29 August 2011 -- It's now The Carolina Tavern:
Rosa Linda's was one of the first out-of-town places I became a "regular". Once I had a job, and car, my comings and goings from the beach came to depend more on my whims than elaborate family vacation plans, and when I was on the coast alone, I could always choose a place I liked. At the time (and still to a large extent), what I liked was Mexican and pizza.
Rosa Linda's billed itself as a Mexican/Italian restaurant, a combination which seems natural to me, but which I have seldom seen elsewhere. Of course, it wasn't authentic Mexican food, and the menu would cheerfully admit as much, but it was Mexican food prepared in a way which seemed very natural to me as a South Carolinian, and I quickly became addicted to the chips & salsa, which were almost my first experiences with "hot" food. I realize now that the salsa which seemed so amazing at the time was in fact Pace Medium, but it was certainly better than what was (and is) served at Mexican run Mexican restaurants, and the chips were made on-site, and were excellent. The pizza was prepared in a brick oven, and was the best single item on the menu. The crust was thin, but not anexoric, and firm but not brittle. It was also great for dipping in any of the salsa you might have had left over.
The wait staff was uniformly friendly, and they became so used to seeing me there, that they gave me their "locals" discount card (despite the fact that I was living in Fayetteville and then Aiken at the time) and membership pin. Supposedly, if you wore the pin, you would get seated first if there were a line. That didn't seem quite fair to me, so I never wore it, but I didn't hesitate to take advantage of the discount card which got you 10% off everything except bar drinks for the whole party. Being in the program also meant you got a postcard every year on your birthday with some sort of free food offer. I'm not sure I still have the pin or card. I know they were in my '85 Camry when it was totaled, and I'm not sure I've seen them since.
I was very upset when I came down to the beach one spring and found Rosa Linda's closed. I'm not sure I got the complete story from a lady in another local establishment but it seemed to boil down to family issues, and maybe moving somewhere outside the country to retire rather than to a failure of the business.
There were originally two other Rosa Linda's locations, each run independantly, but with the same menu. Once was in Myrtle Beach near the old Myrtle Square and the other was in North Myrtle Beach almost across from Barefoot Landing. The Myrtle Beach location was subpar. I ate there a few times, but it was never as good as the other two, and it closed before the Murrells Inlet location. The North Myrtle Beach location was as good as the Murrells Inlet (but too far a drive to become a "hangout" for me), and soldiered on until they lost their lease and were unable to find another location. A new Olive Garden restaurant was opened on that lot.
After the Murrells Inlet location closed down, no other operation was able to make a go of the location. The first to try was some sort of chain Mexican place whose name I cannot now recall. That lasted about a year and was followed by a Mexican run Mexican restaurant, which didn't last much longer. That was followed by The Royal Oak a faux English tavern operation which had a formidable number of different beers on tap, as well as burgers and pizza. I tried the pizza, and found it inferior to Rosa Linda's by a good bit. The pub folded last year, and the building is now vacant again. Oh well.
UPDATE 7 July 2009: Added scan of Rosa Linda's loyalty card above.
The Royal Oak was replaced by Spencerz's Sports Pub, which is now "closed for remodeling".
UPDATE 7 October 2009: Added the first picture, which shows Rosa Linda's with some wind damage after Hurricane Hugo in the fall of 1989
UPDATE 26 October 2009: Added the picture of the building's current tenant, Spencer'z Sports Pub (the pizza is 'ok', not nearly as good as Rosa Linda's).
UPDATE 22 Jan 2010: Well, looks like the Rosa Linda's folks are going to have a reunion (see the comments). Maybe they can rent their old building -- because Spencer'z South went under this week..
UPDATE 3 June 2010 -- Well, after 30+ years of being a restaurant, it appears the building will now be a golf shop:
UPDATE 14 May 2011 -- The new Rosa Linda's is open!
I went by the other night, and am very pleased! They don't have a pizza oven because of structural limitations in the building, but the enchiladas taste exactly as I remember, as do the chips and Mexicana Mud.