Beach bites: A guide to Myrtle Beach’s classic hot dog and burger stands
The crashing waves, the salty sea air, that skin tightening sun - there’s something about a day on the beach that makes beachgoers famished.
Maybe it has something to do with the scent of grilling burgers and hot dogs wafting across the Boulevard that gets sunbathers out of beach chairs in search of summer fare.
From North Myrtle Beach to Garden City visitors can use their nose, or this guide, to find a classic hot dog or hamburger stand that is flip-flop approved.
The North End
North Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Drive section is nationally renowned for beach music venues and Shag dance halls. Just off Main Street, and within a block of the ocean, there are plenty of local favorites to grab some grub including Fat Harold’s Beach Club, Fenway Grille, Buoy’s On the Boulevard and the OD Arcade and Lounge.
But Harold’s On the Ocean (HOTO’s) Restaurant and Beach Bar, 100 Main St, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582, bill themselves as having the “best view on the beach.” Their wide expanse of back porch seating overlooks miles of beach and the sparkling Atlantic beyond. People-watching is a prime activity here.
“Frozen drinks are a huge seller,” said manager Kim Shelton. “People come in off the beach, go get a drink, sit down, and they are in the shade watching the beach and enjoying it.”
She says that beachgoers often stay all afternoon and hang around until evening to listen to the live music played every night except Thursday at the popular resort.
Shelton says HOTOs is best known for their burgers and tacos but that they have a full menu that offers good seafood choices as well.
Ocean Boulevard and the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk - Peaches Corner
Myrtle Beach’s downtown boardwalk area has long been the center of the tourist season at the beach. There are casual eateries all along the boardwalk and Ocean Boulevard from the Second Avenue Pier to Pier 14 and beyond.
On summer afternoons places like Art Burger, The Beachhouse Bar & Grill, Ryptidz Oceanfront Grill and Bummz Beach Cafe are teaming with tourists straight from the beach.
But the most classic of the Grand Strand’s boardwalk hot dog and burger joints is undeniably Peaches Corner at 900 N Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577.
An icon of beach culture, Peaches has become one of Myrtle Beach’s most famous landmarks. The restaurant, named after “Momma Peach” Justice, opened in 1937, a year before the town was incorporated. Flanked by two other historic establishments, The Fun Plaza Arcade (1938), and The Bowery (1944), Peaches is a true cornerstone of Myrtle Beach tourism.
Little appears to have changed since those early days. The building sits right on the corner of 9th Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard. Sliding glass doors open to the sidewalk that overlook all the activity on “the strip.”
Bar stools run the length of the grill where short-order cooks flip sizzling burgers and serve up foot long hot dogs and cold beer to patrons who then swivel around to watch as cars and bikes cruise the boulevard, just as they’ve done for the last 86 years.
The South End
With six locations throughout the Grand Strand, River City Cafe, 11 N Seaside Dr, Surfside Beach, SC 29575, is one of Myrtle Beach’s best known hamburger joints. Its walls are lined with donated license plates from across the U.S. and guests can grab a basket of roasted peanuts and toss the shells on the floor while they await a burger that has won awards from many local publications.
The Surfside Beach location is right on the beachfront, so sunbathers can walk up a short boardwalk to eat while keeping an eye on their umbrellas.
Other local favorites just off the beach in Surfside include the Conch Cafe’, Scotty’s Beach Bar and Neal and Pam’s Bar and Grill.
Down in Garden City Beach, Sam’s Corner, 101 Atlantic Ave, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576, is THE quintessential classic hot dog stand on the South end serving Garden City Beach serving visitors for generations.
Situated on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Waccamaw Drive, the late Sam Baker opened his restaurant on Easter weekend 1976 and is still run by the Baker family.
Sam’s daughter Emily Baker, who now operates the business, says Hurricane Ian in 2022 brought three and a half feet of storm surge through the diner but after months long renovation “everything in here is brand new” and they reopened in time for Spring Break 2023. The stand retains its classic vibe with bar stools overlooking the short-order grill and tributes to its long history lining the walls.
Baker says they are known for their foot-long hot dogs “all the way” (chili, mustard and onions) but that the pimento cheese burger is also a fan favorite.
Just around the corner from Sam’s is the Garden City Pavilion Arcade and GiGi’s Grill, 103 Atlantic Ave, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576.
Since 1969, families have made the pilgrimage to play classic games like Ski-ball at the arcade and grab a bite from GiGi’s Grill within. The Pavilion Arcade won recognition from the Horry County Historic Society in 2022 as a “Legacy Business.”