Gwen Fowler



Going to Atalaya? Eat at Murrells Inlet's Marshwalk

Posted 9/17/2010 9:12:00 PM

Whether you’re visiting the Grand Strand to attend the Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival Sept. 24-26 or for a fall getaway, make time to visit the Marsh Walk in Murrells Inlet.

The boardwalk along the salt marsh winds one-half mile by eight restaurants and bars where you can stop for a snack or a meal. But dining isn’t the only thing to do here.

You can watch the goats and peacocks on Goat Island or sea birds looking for handouts. As fishing boats come in, small crowds often gather to watch crews clean their fresh catch. At the south end of the Marsh Walk, Veteran’s Pier juts out into the water, and you can watch people with crab lines trying their luck.

The Marsh Walk is a great spot for people watching, and several restaurants offer live entertainment many nights.

On a recent summer evening, we enjoyed strolling the Marsh Walk, watching an egret prancing along a boat ramp with a fish in his mouth, stopping to talk to a vendor selling sweetgrass baskets and another selling Gullah art, watching two men filleting a dolphin and finally stopping for dinner at Creek Ratz.

We also had to stop to have a photo taken with the statue of Bubba Love near Drunken Jack’s. Jerome Smalls, Love’s real name, started helping his mother, who worked at Oliver’s Lodge, when he was a small boy. Now he’s been working at Drunken Jack’s for almost 30 years. Some people consider him the unofficial mayor of Murrells Inlet (which is an unincorporated fishing village and has no elected mayor). He’s so well known in the area that Bubba’s Love Shack is the name of the back porch dining area of Dave’s Dockside.

Bubba Love also helps the owners of Drunken Jack’s look after the goats and peacocks on Goat Island, which is just behind the restaurant. The goats get moved off of the small island during the winter months, and they get evacuated if a hurricane threatens.

You have your choice of fine or casual dining along the Marsh Walk. Here are the restaurants:

Bovine’s is a Southwestern-themed restaurant featuring local seafood, wood-fired beef, and gourmet pizzas.

Captain Dave’s Dockside offers seafood, including live Maine lobsters and steaks. Out back is Bubba’s Love Shak, with “Bubbatizers” and
sandwiches as well as seafood platters and steaks.

Creek Ratz has indoor dining, but the outdoor dining is the spot to be in nice weather. The menu features pizza, sandwiches and seafood baskets, and one of the specialties is fried dill pickle chips.

Dead Dog Saloon has a huge covered deck and bar, making it a popular stop. In addition to a variety of appetizers, there are steaks, seafood and such specialties as jambalaya and baby back ribs.

Divine Fish House features seafood specialties and fresh fish, as well as chicken and steak. This restaurant, Bovine’s and Wahoo’s all are owned by the same company, Divine Dining Group.

Drunken Jack’s is named for the legend of a pirate named Jack, who was a pirate on Blackbeard’s ship. When the ship stopped at Murrells Inlet to hide a supply of rum, Jack got so drunk that he was left behind. It was two years before the ship returned for Jack, and all the crew found was 32 empty casks of rum. Drunken Jack’s has indoor dining, but a popular spot is the large covered deck, with stools looking out onto the marsh. There’s a huge selection of seafood dishes.

Spud’s Waterfront Dining offers all types of seafood in the main dining area as well as a tiki bar featuring local bands.

Wahoo’s Raw Bar & Marina has an attractive outdoor tiki bar and dining area, decorated with colored lights. In addition to a full menu of appetizers and entrees, Wahoo’s offers a big selection of specialty cocktails.

In addition to the restaurants on the Marsh Walk, Murrells Inlet is home to many other restaurants along U.S. 17 Business.