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Sam's Corner, 12036 Ocean Highway Pawleys Island: Late April 2015   1 comment

Posted at 12:31 pm in closing
















The only time I ever ate at a Sam's Corner was Monday 30 June 1997.

I was living in Aiken at the time (and working in Augusta), but found out less than a week in advance that The Beach Boys were playing the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach that day. It was a rare small venue appearance, and I think many fans realized it was probably one of the last chances to see Carl Wilson on stage. In the event it was a bittersweet performance. Carl played most of the set seated and I think everyone in the audience could tell he was not long for the world, though he still sounded like an angel.

At any rate, when the show was over, with it not being a weekend, I was on the hook to be at work the following morning, so I fortified myself at the NMB Sam's with a hot-dog and coffee and made it back to Aiken (after further fortification with Waffle House coffee in Manning) in time to slip into bed half an hour before I had to get up. It was not something I could do now, and could barely do then.

Truthfully I was so focused on what I had to do that Sam's made little impression on me other than it was well lit, had an acceptable chili-dog and drinkable coffee.

I think the NMB location was the second for the chain, with one by the pier in Garden City being the first.

This location on US-17 in Pawleys Island came much later, and was, I think, something of a miss-step as the South Strand is a much different place from Myrtle Beach or even Garden City. I had noticed over the few years it was open that despite the proudly proclaimed 24 Hours in fact during the off season, it was rarely open past 10, and lately wasn't open at all except during the summer. I even did a post on the dark building called 25th Hour a few months ago.

On my last trip down over the Memorial Day week I saw that the place is now officially closed, even though they apparently had a plan to upfit the office space.

Written by ted on June 11th, 2015

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One Response to 'Sam's Corner, 12036 Ocean Highway Pawleys Island: Late April 2015'

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  1. Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2015 15:36:20 +0000
    Author: Rick

    I guess it was 1992 or '93. My wife and 2 year old son were staying at the Ocean View Motel in Garden City.
    Ocean View is situated Catty-Corner across from the Garden City Pier and just one business over from Sam's Corner.

    It was late one night, maybe around midnight, my wife and son were already asleep. I went out on the balcony to have a smoke. I looked across the street at Sam's Corner, to which I had never been, saw the lights on, and their "World Famous Hot Dogs" sign. I was a little hungry so I thought I'd walk over and try one of those dogs out.

    I went in and there were a couple of guys sitting at the counter if I remember correctly, talking to the cook. The cook had on a greasy apron that appeared as though he had been wiping his hands on it for some time.

    I said "Let me try one of your world famous dogs" he asked foot long or regular, well, foot long of course. He grabbed a dog out of the cooler and literally threw it into the deep fryer. I had never seen or heard of anyone deep frying a hot dog before in all my life. After a minute or so he plopped the dog into a bun, hit it with some mustard, ladled on some chili and dropped a hand full of onions on top. Shoot... that was a good dog. I have eaten there many times since, it's just something about the ambiance that keeps me coming back. Open air, worn in well, the sights and sounds of the beach.

    With that said, the Sam's Corner at Pawleys was a mistake. It did not have the same feel of Sam's in Garden City.
    First of all I do not like the way the building looks, second it was to clinical, I like the greasy spoon atmosphere of the Garden City Location. I felt like I was at a Sandy's Hot Dogs in Columbia. Anyway it does not surprise me they closed,
    I never went back after the first time.

    Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2015 15:38:19 +0000
    Author: Rick

    My previous comment should have said at the beginning, My wife, 2 year old son AND I were staying at Ocean view Motel. I was there too.

    Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2015 02:23:01 +0000
    Author: badger

    Looks like Sam died two years ago:

    Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2015 05:03:56 +0000
    Author: Terry

    "True beach atmosphere" is how I would describe the location across from the pier at Garden City. Open windows and doors, ceiling fans and 6o's beach music is always the draw for me (along with a delicious patty melt).

    I was not aware of the Pawley's Island location but from Ted's photos it does not resemble the original.

    Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2015 21:03:48 +0000
    Author: Rick

    From the time I was one year old (1958) until I was fifteen (1972) my parents and my Mothers sisters family (My Aunt, Uncle and Cousins) would rent a cottage, as we called it, in Garden City or Surfside Beach. We always had one right on the ocean and those were some of the best vacations of my life.
    Garden City and Surfside only had a few motels, NOT hotels, back in the sixties and seventies. A far cry from the way it is now with all the condos and hotels taking up every available spot. Back then the beach was not nearly as crowded. The piers at garden City and Surfside both had open air arcades and a small amusement park with rides. My cousins and I would spend hours in the arcade. Such great games, pinball, that baseball game where the ball came out and you had to hit the button just right to knock the little metal ball into a hole for base hits or over the ramp for a home run.
    I remember well the sights, sounds and smell of the coast from back then sometimes even dreaming about it.
    It is such a shame the beaches of South Carolina have gone so commercial now. People that were not able to experience what I did just have no idea of how great it was.

    I have tried many different beaches since trying to recreate those days but so far have been unsuccessful in my endeavors to do so. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

    Date: Sat, 13 Jun 2015 03:06:38 +0000
    Author: Andrew

    What Rick speaks to with regard to seeing the Grand Strand area before it was built, I go through with regards to airports.

    I used to enjoy, up until 9/11 (I was in 8th grade when 9/11 happened), being able to meet arriving passengers at the you can't get in the gate area without a boarding pass and I hate that the current crop of kids miss out on the experience of seeing them step off the aircraft. I have managed to enjoy airport settings in different ways during the intervening years but it simply isn't the same as the ability to enjoy it the way you could have before 9/11.

    Date: Sat, 13 Jun 2015 03:53:27 +0000
    Author: Homer

    I posted this one the Pavilion thread earlier this week but it seems appropriate here....

    While flipping channels last Sunday I happened to run across an old documentary on ETV that was made about the history of the Pavilion. It was part of the Carolina Stories series and was made just before the closing. It brought back a lot of memories and just re-enforced that its closing was one of the stupidest things Myrtle Beach has ever done. There is also a 30+ minute video on Youtube that covers the history of the Pavilion. I downloaded it and plan to watch it this weekend. The link is -

    Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2015 16:29:11 +0000
    Author: TahoeChic

    @Rick - I believe you and I have discussed the downfall of our beaches on another post in the past, so you know I share your feelings on how it used to be. I grew up in the 80s and even then Surfside had the pier arcade, and Myrtle Beach was still the place where I could wander around and feel safe. I remember reading a few years ago that Myrtle Beach had one of the highest crime rates per capita in the country. I know the commercialism is partially to blame, but I also think the fact that the local police down there became so concerned with cracking down on the "hooligans" like myself who just wanted to go to the beach and cruise the boulevard in our custom cars, that they outlawed cruising, closed down the old hangouts like Mother Fletcher's, tore down Chapins, Myrtle Square, and The Pavillion, and unwittingly drove everyone and their money elsewhere causing the real rif raff to have the whole town to themselves. Last time I went to Myrtle Beach and Surfside I barely recognized what they had become.

    Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2015 19:18:43 +0000
    Author: Rick

    @Tahoebabe - I could not have said it better. Times have changed and not for the better. Myrtle Beach is not for South Carolinians anymore, but for people from out of state.
    Closing down the Pavillion was one of the worse mistakes anyone could have made. What idiots.

    @Homer - I watched the Youtube video yesterday and enjoyed it, thanks for the link.

    Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2015 22:02:07 +0000
    Author: Andrew

    I have never enjoyed Myrtle Beach very much...Rick & TahoeChic have me wondering if I'm fortunate enough to see the age they currently are, what will I be lamenting about in terms of changes (for better/worse)

    My grandmother felt that whatever Myrtle Beach wants, they should get...I know they've been working to link I-73 to Myrtle Beach for years which I think is slowly progressing (especially in the NC portions of it) but I feel like it will take years to get completed...I dream of a situation where I-73 is complete and I-20 is extended to connect into I-73 at some point between Florence and Myrtle Beach.

    The way Allegiant Air is headed with Myrtle Beach definitely supports Rick's conclusion that MYR is for out of state people. They fly to Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne (IN), Lexington (KY), Clarksburg (WV), Pittsburgh, Youngstown (OH), Akron/Canton (OH), Syracuse (NY), and the Leighigh Valley airport serving the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton areas of Pennsylvania from Myrtle Beach in addition to service to Orlando's Sanford Airport. They do it on a b 2-4x weekly basis to each of those and they utilize MD80 aircraft that seat b 150 passengers. One thing that makes Allegiant unique is that they specialize in selling travel packages so that you can book your hotel and flight at the same time so they've found a market linking that part of the country to Myrtle Beach. On top of all that Spirit Airlines flies from MYR to several spots (Detroit, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Atlantic City, Ft. Lauderdale, Boston and Chicago O'Hare) that are 'focus cities' for them but they also fly to Latrobe, PA; Plattsburg, NY; Niagra Falls, NY and s?xz
    easonally to Charleston, WV from MYR...

    Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2015 22:42:20 +0000
    Author: TahoeChic

    @Rick & Andrew - I agree Myrtle Beach has definitely become a destination for out of state people. I know they have a lot of very nice golf courses, and I don't mind the recognition and money that brings to our state from other areas. At 37, I'm beginning to understand the nostalgia for the "good ol days" that my late granddad always had. Seems like all anyone wants now is bigger, better, more exciting things at the expense of our history. I had my wild times in my life, but even when I'd be partying at the beach with friends, I'd always make time to go play the old baseball machines in the oceanfront arcade. Unfortunately, a lot of the younger generations don't have an appreciation for the simpler things in life anymore.

    Date: Mon, 15 Jun 2015 20:06:35 +0000
    Author: TahoeChic

    Glad to know there are some still there! I haven't been to MB in years, but I used to win prizes on them every time I went. I want to buy one of those for our media room when it's finished. That and an Atari Hercules pinball machine, which they had at another arcade in MB back in the 80s.

    Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2015 05:48:02 +0000
    Author: Homer

    I always gravitated towards the (1) skee ball machines, (2) the 'shuffleboard' bowling games, (3) the pinball machines, and (4) the classic video games from the 80's and early 90's. Taking a fist full of tickets to the counter just to see what kind of crappy prize you actually got for all of the quarters you spent was a laugh in itself. There used to be a pinball machine called 'Space Shuttle'. I would love to have one of those. Of all the pinball machines I have played in my life, that one just clicked with me. I could rack up more points on that thing that ANY other pinball machine I have ever played.

    Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2015 18:33:48 +0000
    Author: TahoeChic

    @Homer - I remember Space Shuttle pinball, it was fun! My favorite pinball other than Hercules was Pinbot. The Pavillion arcade used to have a Guns N Roses pinball machine - to this day that's the only one of those I've ever seen. Do you remember the old bowling games that used skee-ball like balls and you'd roll them and the fake pins went up? Some of my earliest memories are playing those at the Surfside pier arcade with my late granddad.

    Date: Wed, 17 Jun 2015 04:06:01 +0000
    Author: Homer

    @TC - I vaguely remember the skee ball bowling but most that I saw were of the shuffleboard layout. I don't recall a GnR machine but I do remember a Kiss themed machine. Do you remember the video games that used laserdiscs for the display source? The one I recall was Dragon's Lair. I know that there were a couple more but the names escape me.

    I have copies of all of the old classic Bally, Williams, Atari and Midway video games on disc but it's they don't work correctly (or at all) on any machine over Windows XP.

    Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 00:32:48 +0000
    Author: TahoeChic

    @Homer - I vaguely remember Dragons Lair but nothing specific about it. My husband wants to build video game machine when we do our Media Room using a computer with copies of all the old games like you're talking about and put them in an old arcade machine box. But I still need a separate Baby Pacman machine. LOL

    Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 03:41:52 +0000
    Author: Homer

    @TC - that would be totally cool. The only thing that would be a challenge is to designing the 'human interface' so all of the buttons and joysticks, etc. would look and function as they did. Most of the games I have look and sound just like the originals but use either the keyboard and/or mouse as an interface. It's hard as hell to play Pacman, Dig Dug or Donkey Kong by using four keys to move about. And games like Defender or Joust are damned near impossible to control!!

    Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 03:45:34 +0000
    Author: Homer

    @ted - a buddy of mine was so addicted to Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man that he developed a callouses on his fingers from working that joystick.

    Like you I was more into Galaxians and Galaga. Those were my games!

    Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 03:53:32 +0000
    Author: Andrew

    TahoeChic brought back memories of some of the computer games I remember from my 4th grade days...the only one that I can remember in Number Munchers...I feel like there were others but I can't remember many of the almost makes me wish there was a way to emulate that but my memory is limited on some of the details and plus the upgrades in the sound systems, etc. in computers (this was right around the time Windows 98 came out and was before USB even existed) means that the sound in different...

    I remember having a 'return of Aracde' with PacMan and another one called Dig Dug as well..

    Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 04:01:15 +0000
    Author: Homer

    I have both of the MS Arcade series as well as the best of the afore mentioned game manufacturers. All of the games were rewritten to run on Windows and kept the original graphics and sound. Like I said to TC they look and sound great but most are a pain in the butt to operate.

    Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 04:12:23 +0000
    Author: Homer

    @Rick - This should gross a few people out. I went to some greasy spoon with some buddies once at the beach, don't remember the name. We were looking for some place to get some 2:00am gut bombs to down before going back to the hotel to crash and we ran across this place. All I remember about it was the 'chef'. He was about 300 lbs. with a full, scruffy beard and an apron that was so dirty that it would have probably stood up on its own. While he was frying our burgers on the flattop he was stirring something in a huge pot on a burner. He was doing everything bare handed since these were the days before gloves and beard nets. He was smoking a cigar that had an ash hanging about an inch off the end. I didn't see it but one of my friends swore that the ash fell off in the pot and he just kept stirring. God help us, I miss the 70's!!!!

    Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 04:21:26 +0000
    Author: Andrew

    I don't think I could eat at a restaurant where someone is smoking while cooking...I for one am happy to be living in a time where smoking indoors is prohibited in most places as the smell makes me uncomfortable...I had HS classmates that had a hard time understanding me when I used to say, "I have no desire to smoke ANYTHING" regardless of what names they devised...

    Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 20:49:01 +0000
    Author: JBL

    @ Tahoechic, et al,
    There are bowling games with the skeeball sized balls and the pins attached to wires that are pulled up at Frankie's Fun Park.

    Date: Fri, 19 Jun 2015 01:46:15 +0000
    Author: badger

    Andrew, it's a generational thang. For many of us of a certain age, we grew up with mothers, grandmothers, etc. who regularly smoked while cooking. That's just the way it was, so we were used to it!

    Date: Fri, 19 Jun 2015 08:27:11 +0000
    Author: Terry

    Just catch any episode of Mad Men. It was the 60s.
    Doctors smoking in their offices and hospitals.
    And roll that car window up! You're letting all the cigarette smoke out.

    Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2015 16:39:17 +0000
    Author: Joe Shlabotnik

    I was in Garden City last week and made my traditional visit to Sam's. The employees are wearing new shirts that read:

    We have upped our standards
    So up yours

    Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2015 21:49:28 +0000
    Author: Rick

    The ash dropping in the pot cooking reminds me of the opening moments of Married With Children when Peg Bundy was cooking and smoking.
    In the late 80's I thought married with children was one of the best shows on TV. I enjoyed it so much that when FOX network started they aired every episode from the first and I recorded all of them on VHS. I still have all the episodes. As a matter of fact, the only VHS tapes I still have are the married with children tapes. I started converting them to DVD but made the mistake of loaning my VHS to DVD player to my Wife's cousin and have not seen it since.
    The Wife say's, "Don't say anything, she'll bring it back one day. Shit, I'll be dead and gone by then.

    Remember when SONY had the BETA MAX format?
    Beta was a much better view but,
    SONY held out, not allowing other electronic companies to reproduce the format and VHS became the "GO TO" format that eventually put BETA out of business.

    Up until the late 80's all SONY products were designed, mad and assembled in Japan. That was some very good equipment. Now, Sony Japan still designs the equipment but the components are made and assembled in other countries where labor is cheap, China, Viet Nam, etc. resulting in a cheap feeling and inferior product. My opinion.
    Even though I work for a Japanese owned company I still think they made some of the best electronics in the world up until the late 80's. Now, not so much.

    Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 01:20:04 +0000
    Author: Joe Shlabotnik

    Like Homer said in a previous post, 'God help us. I miss the 70s.'

    Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 12:26:38 +0000
    Author: larry

    I remember sitting at the dinner table and saying the blessing with the hole faimly,going outside to play,and only tv channels ( 10-25-19-35).if you had a good anteena.and if you wanted to talk to someone you walked or rode your bicycle to thier house.

    Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 17:53:05 +0000
    Author: Rick

    Ahh yes, my bicycles. When I was growing up bicycles were all of us kids main transportation. The bike was what got us to where we wanted to go.
    Now days it seems like the bike is not so much for transportation anymore but more for some sporting event or exercise routine. The bike has gone hi-tech as well.
    Bikes now can cost in the thousands of dollars and need to be well maintained. Heck we use to throw ours on the ground, leave them out in the rain and pretty much performed no maintenance unless a tire went flat or the chain came off.
    back then bikes could take it, after torturing a bike for several years, we might get a new one for Christmas and give the old one away.


    11 Jun 15 at 3:36 pm

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