It’s tempting to load up on the hush puppies that arrive hot from the fryer the moment you sit down, but try to hold back. Wait for the seafood platters that will soon arrive groaning with huge portions of fried, broiled, or grilled fish, oysters, fantail shrimp, and deviled crabs. They come accompanied by sides of veggies and potatoes and homemade desserts such as Key lime pie and peach cobbler.
Order: Chef Clay Williams’ she-crab soup ($6) has won the Murrells Inlet chowder cook-off competition for the past seven years. 4460 Business 17; leesinletkitchen.com or 843/651-2881
It’s like Sunday dinner at grandma’s every day in this general store-turned-cozy restaurant where rice and gravy, okra soup, and butter beans vie for your attention with just-caught flounder, fish stew, and creek shrimp (the sweet, diminutive cousins of saltwater shrimp). The setting is equally old-school—homemade cakes look out from under glass domes, rustic wooden beams line the ceiling, and silhouettes of Southern scenes rendered in iron by Lowcountry artist Thomas Smoak decorate the walls.
Order: Stone crab claws caught in nearby Bulls Bay ($11 as appetizer, $22 as entrée). 4808 Highway 17 North; 843/928-3609
T.W. Graham & Co.
After graduating from Johnson & Wales University and working as a chef in Florida and California, Pete Kornack moved to the tiny fishing village of McClellanville in 1994. Pete and his wife, Claudia, opened T.W. Graham in 2003. Their shrimp dishes are standouts, but save room for a side of fried green tomatoes and a slice of homemade pie.
Order: A bowl of Claudia’s blue crab, shrimp, and corn chowder ($5) is so good that she’s been asked to deliver it to the State House in Columbia for special legislative lunches. 810 Pinckney Street; 843/887-4342