Archive for the ‘US-17’ tag
Austin's / Bove Restaurant & Bar / Pastaria 811, 11359 Ocean Highway / The Exchange: 2011 / 2012 (closed,moved) 5 comments
I never went to Bove as my impression of it was always that it was too tony a spot for me to be a regular. It was the type of place that had named chefs and a deep wine selection.
Some time last year, it occurred to me that I never saw any cars there, and I stopped to take a look. There was no indication whatsoever that the place was closed, in fact there was what seemed to be a unique-for-the-day menu posted on the door and all the fixtures were in place. However, that menu never changed, and now that I was paying attention, there were no cars ever.
Bove was on US-17 in Pawleys Island, just north of the Sonic and south of the new Fresh Market. A few miles north on 17 in Litchfield Beach is an office complex and small mall called The Exchange.
My memory is that The Exchange was built in the late 1970s or early 1980s as a very upscale place. I particularly remember that on the north side of the gallery, just above where the tourism office now is (if indeed *that* is still there..) there was a specialty cheese shop, with all sorts of exotic cheeses that you could not (then) find in a typical grocery. There were also jewelers and upscale clothing botiques as well as some art galleries. Well -- it was simply a place that the Grand Strand was not ready for. First, I doubt they truly realized how seasonal the market was -- just because things looked good in June and July didn't mean that you would see customer-one in October, and second, that's not the kind of crowd that came to the beach in those days. Certainly now there are a bunch of well off retirees, but people toting a load of kids to the beach and Pavilion weren't going to have the time or inclination to peruse fancy cheeses -- essentially what happened is that every original tenant went bust over a very short period of time.
The second incarnation of the place was as an art mall. There were several galleries, one of which was very good and stayed many years and others which came and went. There were also spaces for painting classes and exibits and a couple of artist studios.
During this phase one of the long term tenants, The Coffee & Chocolate House opened. I never could understand how they subsisted on the meager foot traffic, but finally decided that mostly the place was a work area for their catering which seemed to carry them (and as far as I know they are still there).
The other long term non-art tenant was Pastaria 811. They were in a back slot which had originally (during the inital incarnation of The Exchange) been some sort of deli, and were a very good Italian restaurant. In fact, I would say they have the best bread on the Grand Strand, and one of the best pizzas in South Carolina (curiously, the other best pizza in SC is now less than a mile removed). In addition, the salads and pasta dishes like "stuffed shells" were quite good as well.
I should probably have tried to cut down the number of pictures of the place that are below after the break, but I'm a little sentimental about it as I ate there with both my mother and father.
As the years passed I ate there less frequently because my hours gradually shifted to the point I would go out to lunch at 3:00, and the Pastaria is one of those places that closes between lunch (ends at 2:30) and dinner (starts at 4:00), but still I would catch pizza there every now and then.
A year or two ago they did a major expansion, opening a new dining room area in what had been part of the Chocolate & Coffee House space (in the meantime, the good art gallery had moved in with the Coffee house), so I was very surprised, after they went to that expense, to hear that they were moving. I can only figure that 1) The Exchange was continuing to implode and they feared for its future stability and 2) The opportunity to get a building directly on US-17 that was already outfitted as a restaurant was too good a deal to pass up.
At any rate, they started moving into the old Bove space in January, and are now up and running. I went by recently, and the bread, stuffed shells and pizza are just as good from the new kitchen as the old.
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!
The Mayor's House was for many years at the South Litchfield Beach causeway and stoplight, across from Latte Litchfield and a bit north of The McKenzie Beach Motel. I would, in fact, give the location as "Litchfield" rather than "Pawleys Island", but the later designation is creeping steadily northward.
I always had the impression that The Mayor's House was a) "Too Fancy" and b) "Too Seafood" for me (what with the big pink shrimp and the Fried Lobster come-on), so I never got around to eating there despite liking the pier-like aspect of being built over a pond.
Looking for the address of the place did turn up an online review site which was decidedly... mixed. It did confirm my impression that it was probably too rich for my blood. I do wonder what happened to the shrimp though.
The House of Blues at (The bankrupt) Barefoot Landing in Myrtle Beach seems to make a policy of booking major "legacy" acts into its rather intimate space. In the past, I've seen Boz Scaggs, Cyndi Lauper, The Beach Boys (Carl Wilson was visibly failing), and Blondie there.
The only problem I have with the place is that while they have a reserved seating area, the tickets don't seem to be available on the standard web site, and standing up for two hours gets old pretty quick for me nowdays.
Steve Miller has, of course, been around forever, but scored his greatest success in the mid 70s with the "Fly Like an Eagle" and "Book of Dreams" albums. Supposedly he has never allowed a recognizable picture of himself on an album cover, and at the peak of his fame, could ride his bike around venue parking lots without being recognized. He has never had what you could call a "great" voice -- it's a very servicable reedy tenor, and the fact that it's never been perfect means that it hasn't dropped off much either: he was in good vocal form for Saturday's show. The Steve Miller Band is now apparently a six-man outfit. Two guitars, a bass, drums, keyboards and a (very flamboyant) second vocalist.
As you'll recall, when I saw The Doobie Brothers in North Charleston, and Al Stewart in Newberry, I was surprised at how lax the venues were about cameras. In the past it almost seemed like places would break your kneecaps before letting you in with a camera, but apprently, as in school, the Battle of the Cell Phone has been lost, and other cameras reap the benefit. Since I regretted not taking the closing-cam to those shows, I checked on the HOB ticketing site, and non-removable-lens cameras are allowed, so in it came.
The curtain opening number was "Jet Airliner" (with the synth prologue [mostly missed here] playing before the curtain dropped), and Miller went on to play pretty much all of his hits and well known songs: "Jet Airliner", "Abracadabera", "Wild Mountain Honey", "Serenade To The Stars", "Swingtown", "Dance Dance Dance", "Take The Money & Run", "Jungle Love", "Space Cowboy" (dedicated to William Shatner), "Livin' In The USA", "The Stake", "The Joker" (acoustic), and "Rockin' Me". He also played a few blues numbers (it was originally "The Steve Miller Blues Band") that really let the second vocalist shine.
In short, it was an excellent show, and if you get the opportunity to catch him, do.
Maybe there is no such thing as a recession-proof business...
On the other hand, this WPDE story speculates that perhaps Wal-Mart put some pressure on this Garden City strip club to close as they opened a new SuperCenter across the street. Certainly, the coming of Wal-Mart seems to be what closed the nearby Krispy Kreme (though the building is still standing so far).
I believe The Pink Pony building started life as a steakhouse, though the WPDE piece says the club had been there for a dozen years.
UPDATE 4 May 2011: Added Western Steer to the post title based on the comments.
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):
First let me note that although no description of Myrtle Square Mall would be complete without the famous clock, I did not take that picture. It appears in the Wikipedia entry for the mall, and has been explicitly released into the public domain.
What can I say about Myrtle Square Mall? For many years, it was the mall on the Grand Strand and the "general" shopping destination on any beach trip. To be sure, there were outlet and specialty malls like Waccamaw Pottery, but MSM was the "it" place.
As kids, of course, The Pavilion was first in our hearts and minds, but over the years we took many trips to the mall as well.
It had a different mix of retail than anything in Columbia, with anchor stores I never saw elsewhere like Peebles as well as standard stores like Sears and Eckerds. For me, the main attraction was the book store just off the clock court. I cannot now recall the name, but it was either completely independant, or part of a small chain that never opened in Columbia, and I found that it had an interesting selection of science fiction books that I didn't see elsewhere. Recall that in those days the only books you knew about were the ones you saw on the shelves -- there was no Amazon where you could search for any book in the world, or that would recommend books to you based on your previous purchases. I can particularly recall finding there a a Virgil Finlay collection I had never heard of, and had no clue existed. Finlay was an old-school SF pulp illustrator who had an amazing black & white line and stipple style that was unsurpassed (in my opinion) until Stephen Fabian came on the scene, and in retrospect I think Finlay's work has aged better than Fabian's. Anyway -- I bought the book :-)
The record store (whose name I have also forgotten) seemed to have slightly different selections than the Columbia stores as well.
Apart from the stores, obviously I have to say something about the clock. It sat above the central court, and was a marvel of conceptual design. The version pictured above is in fact one of the later versions -- the first version had 60 colored balls suspended from the ceiling in a circle with suspened numbers (similar to those pictured) at every five minute mark. The bulk of the balls were one color, with the ones at the five second intervals being another. As ever second passed, another ball would illuminate until all 60 were lit at which point they would all go dark and the next numeral would be illuminated for the current minute. Hmm, or maybe the numerals were for the hours and there were seperate balls for the minutes. At any rate, you could sit there and watch the time pass before your eyes so to speak. It was not a particularly easy clock to read -- it always seemed to take a minute to figure out just what was lit, but it was a fun clock to read.
I remember a number of interesting solo trips to the mall. The first was when I had just started to drive. My mother and I had gone to the beach to winterize the beach house, and having done that, she agreed to let me drive while she walked on the beach. Well, that's an always risky permission to give to a teenager, and I headed straight to the mall, despite it being a 25 mile drive one way. I had no particular goal other than I was, by gosh, going to drive, but I did end up getting some Trixie Belden books for my sister's birthday from Sears of all places. Needless to say my mother was not pleased at being ditched for three hours longer than she had planned to be...
Another trip to Sears years later (and near the end of the store's life) for dryer parts also yielded a trove of retro flashlights of the kind I grew up with, and which I thought were no longer being made -- I still have four or five.
I'm unsure why Burroughs & Chapin decided to deep six the mall. Certainly it was somewhat dated, but that could have been fixed by a remodel. I suppose access was an issue, but it's not like there's an Interstate in Myrtle Beach, -- the replacement mall at Coastal Grand may have slightly better traffic at US-17 bypass and US-501, but it's not a slam dunk.
At any rate, by 2005 most of the stores had made the transition, and in 2006 they started knocking Myrtle Square Mall down. The fact that B&C owned the replacement mall meant that Myrtle Square never went through the "death of the old mall as the new mall draws stores and traffic" phase. It was not in B&C's interest to eake rents out of Myrtle Square while firing up Coastal Grand.
On the other hand, they seem not to have had any Plan B for the Myrtle Square Mall site. Currently the huge tract bounded by 23rd & 27th Avenues North on the north and south sides and Kings Highway and Oak Street on the east and west sides stands vacant (as does the other large B&C tract at the old Pavilion site). It's hard to believe that two such prime tracts in the heart of Myrtle Beach have sat vacant for so long. (Well, not completely vacant -- there's still an Office Depot which must have had a long term lease, and I saw signs of homeless presence in the bushes).