Story by Ian Guerin
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | The best part about going to a new restaurant with a large group is that you get to try a bunch of different food without having to foot the entire bill. And at Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s at Barefoot Landing, there’s plenty of menu tap dancing to do. In many ways, her third location (the other two are in Destin, Fla., and Gulf Shores, Ala.) is very much proof that she has designed a menu that will cater specifically to beach goers and golfers hoping for a dining option crafted around the carefree environment. None of that would matter if the food here was awful. Trust us when we say it was anything but.
We’ll start you off where our party group of 12 did, up and down the happy hour menu. It’s one golfers playing the north Strand courses should be taking advantage of after late-afternoon rounds for years to come. Running from 4-6 p.m. seven days a week, it features a dollar off draft beer, wine, well drinks and the hellaciously good Homeport Margarita. As far as the discounted food, this is where you can really get a fantastic bang for your buck. For $5, you can choose from crab toast, a massive pile of okra, salad, soup, gumbo and nachos. We went with two of the latter, tearing through the Jerk Chicken and Pineapple and BBQ Pulled Pork. They’re slightly smaller versions of the original, but at a much more affordable price.
If you’re hungrier than some appetizers, this joint has a menu stacked with gut-stuffing options, too. The crab melt - claw meat, multiple cheeses and various topping served atop French bread - requires a fork to eat. The fish, shrimp or oyster Po’ Boys are hefty, and the tacos come three-deep alongside tortilla chips and salsa. No Buffett restaurant would be complete without a selection of burgers. Atop the list here is the “Pa-menna”, a half-pounder with pimento cheese, bacon and fried green tomatoes.
The restaurant opened in June of 2018, bringing another of the famous Buffett family’s business ventures to the area. They joined previous eateries Margaritaville (at Broadway at the Beach), Ocean Boulevard’s Landshark Bar & Grill and the now-closed 5 O’Clock Somewhere. Lulu’s provides some of the same Buffett-inspired decor - including the bright-colored gift shop located immediately inside the front door and some photos from old vacations and the such on the walls. However, more than the others, it has been crafted as a true family style restaurant with something for everyone.
Regular music acts play a variety of clean music, the bar is good sized but not the focal point of the open floor plan and then there’s the outdoor area tailor made for entertainment as much as it is eating. Set atop nearly a half acre of beach-quality sand is a volleyball court, kids water stations, picnic tables and a ropes course that rises two-and-half-stories. It all overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s a dynamic addition to the backside of Barefoot’s sprawling property, and one sure to start acting as one of its anchors sooner rather than later.