By Becky Billingsley
Tuesday, June 12, 2012, Myrtle Beach - For the first time, a pair of partners has leased Phillips Seafood's Myrtle Beach location.
Phillips Seafood, founded in 1956 in Ocean City, Md., by Brice and Shirley Phillips, expanded to Myrtle Beach in 2003 at 1807 21st Ave. N. with a menu full of classic recipes featuring blue crab meat. The menu and concept underwent tweaks in the ensuing eight years when the parent company operated it.
Now for the ninth season, Phillips Seafood has leased the large restaurant to partners Ed Smith and Bekah Van Deuren of Grand Strand Management, Inc. This is their first collaborative business venture.
He is from West Virginia, and she is from Michigan. They met three years ago in North Myrtle Beach while dining at the bar at Logan's Roadhouse.
"We were eating at the bar and got to talking," Van Deuren said at Phillips Seafood on June 7. "We talked for three hours, and we've talked every day since."
The fast friends talked about opening a restaurant in the Myrtle Beach area, and this spring when the opportunity came to lease Phillips Seafood, they took it.
Shane Moody, who has previous experience at area restaurants, is the executive chef. This year's menu features many classic Phillips dishes and several new recipes.
"The traditional Phillips Seafood is the best you can find, especially the crab," Smith said, "and when we can buy seafood from local docks, we do. Our menu is a little more chef-driven that will spark taste buds a little more, it's a little more contemporary. We still have the original 1956 Crab Imperial recipe, but we also now have the Low Country Surf and Turf."
That Surf and Turf features tempura-fried Gulf oysters drizzled with Caribbean citrus sauce, and an 8-ounce center cut pork chop with barbecue sauce and Peruvian blue mashed potatoes, for $20.
Other new dishes include Fried Green Tomatoes with pickled corn salsa and lime aioli; Shrimp Ceviche, Seafood Skins (potato skins filled with crab, shrimp and cheese); Fettuccine Alfredo; Pan-seared Tilapia with Raspberry Chipotle sauce; Land & Sea (Chianti-braised short ribs and a Rock Lobster tail with wild mushroom risotto); Lobster Burrito; and The Strand Stack Sandwich, which is open-face topped with a lump crab cake, Muenster cheese, bacon, avocado, fried egg, sweet and sour slaw and hand-cut fries.
For fans of the traditional Phillips dishes, there are still Jumbo Lump and Phillips Famous Crab Cakes, Fried Seafood Platters, Crab Imperial-stuffed Flounder, Fresh Catches, Steamed Show Crab Legs, Shrimp Scampi and more.
For now Phillips Seafood is open only for dinner, but starting on Friday, June 15, the market will also be open for lunch. Smith and Van Deuren are also bringing back the market's popular crab nights - perhaps more often than the previous once per week.
Phillips Seafood has happy hour from 4-7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, when select drinks are $3 and appetizers are half-price. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Pabst Blue Ribbon drafts are $1.
Phillips Seafood is at 1807 21st Ave. N. in Myrtle Beach, and the number is (843) 626-2722.