By Becky Billingsley
Wednesday, July 4, 2012, Little River - Something I appreciate is when area restaurants have a local feeling, and at Swing Bridge Pizza Co. in Little River, diners get the sense they're at the north end of the Grand Strand.
This is accomplished with music, which is 94.9 The Surf, featuring great shagging tunes like "Cherry Groove Down in Cherry Grove." I can't hear beach music without thinking of North Myrtle Beach, and although Swing Bridge Pizza Co.'s address is Little River, it's right on the border with North Myrtle Beach by the swing bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway.
The decor has tasteful browns in the booths lining the left and right walls, and in the wooden 8-top and 4-top tables in the dining room's center. A small four-stool bar is at the restaurant's rear, by the exposition kitchen. Movie and sports memorabilia abound, and the eclectic collection contains old-school rollerskates, movie posters ("The Godfather," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"), an autographed New Orleans Hornets T-shirt, 45 records from Journey and Stevie Nicks, and photos of Albert Einstein, James Dean and John Lennon.
Tyler Spencer opened Swing Bridge Pizza Co. about a year ago, and at lunchtime on July 2, many locals were enjoying the day's special of two slices of cheese pizza and a drink for $5.
I decided to go with one slice with three toppings (grilled shrimp, roasted red peppers and fresh tomatoes) and a drink, which came to $5.75, including tax.
That slice was excellent, with a thin and slightly crunchy crust and a generous amount of fresh tomatoes. My server made the experience welcoming and friendly, and my wait time for the food to arrive at the table was less than five minutes.
I definitely plan to return to Swing Bridge Pizza, because many menu items have me intrigued.
Appetizers are $4.65-$7.65 and include Gooey Sticks (cheese-topped breadsticks), Piggy Sticks (cheese- and bacon-topped), a Basket of Spicy Chips, Pub Chips, Deep Fried Southern Pickles and Quesadillas (chicken, shrimp or steak).
Eight salads are $3.55-$7.25, like Nic's Grilled Chicken Salad, Taco Salad, Antipasti and The Godfather with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, egg, bacon, blue cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries and a marinated and grilled chicken breast.
Of course there are many pizzas, starting at $7.45 for a 10-inch cheese pie to $18 for a 16-inch specialty pizza, from Ricotta White and Barbecue Chicken to Greek and Bacon/Ranch. The Swing Bridge Special is topped with pepperoni, ground beef, green peppers, onions, mushrooms and mozzarella.
A few new specialty pizzas have been added: Philly Cheese Steak, Broccoli Chicken Alfredo and Chicken Caesar.
Calzones and Stromboli start at $7, and several $7 hoagies include the Big Daddy Meatball, The Vegan, Eggplant Parmesan and Mimi's Cheesy Melt with provolone, Cheddar, mozzarella, bacon and tomatoes.
Want wings? A basket of 10 is $9, and flavors include hot, medium, mild, teriyaki, barbecue, roasted garlic barbecue and honey mustard.
Pasta dinners are $8.50-$11.50 and come with a house salad and garlic bread. A few of those are Chicken Parmesan, Fettuccine Alfredo, Lasagna and Manicotti.
Beer and wine are served (beers are $3.25-$3.75, and a glass of wine is $4.25), and a specials board said a new dessert is a Turtle Brownie.
Swing Bridge Pizza is at 4207 Sea Mountain Highway, across from the North Myrtle Beach High School football field in Napa Plaza. It's open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and from noon to 9 p.m. Sundays. The number is (843) 390-1010, and delivery is available.