By Becky Billingsley
Wednesday, November 3, 2010, Myrtle Beach - First let's start with how the new Jamaican restaurant in the Socastee area of Myrtle Beach is pronounced - it is Bingy's, which rhymes with dinghy.
Chef/proprietor Charlene Rice says the restaurant name comes from a nickname. Her maiden name is Bingham, and when she was a schoolgirl in Jamaica her friends called her Bingy.
Charlene is married to Gale Rice, and they have two daughters and live off Forestbrook Road. Charlene has worked in area restaurants as a server, but she and Gale (he was a countertop fabricator) have long wanted to open a Jamaican restaurant. When they saw the spot available at 4989 Socastee Blvd., they inquired.
"We decided it was the right time," Charlene said on Monday. "It's been a dream for both of us, and we talked long about it."
Charlene grew up in Ochos Rios, and she says most of the recipes served at Bingy's were passed down to her from her mother. Her favorites are the Oxtail and the Rice & Peas, which she cooks with a little coconut milk. Gale says he likes the Jerk Chicken best.
This is the second Jamaican restaurant to open in the Grand Strand area within the previous month, but the other one, called Mama Rue's, is 25 miles away in Pawleys Island. Bingy's is the former site of Flavor King, which was a fast food and ice cream spot.
The Rices repainted and remodeled with fresh new colors of white, green, black, red and yellow. You order at the counter, and then food is brought to one of four 4-top tables.
Or you can pick up some carry-out, which a lot of people were doing on Monday afternoon. The restaurant has been open only a week, and business is already booming.
Meals can start ($2-$6) with Vegetable Patties, Beef Patties, Jerk Chicken Patties, Coco Bread, Chicken Fingers or Chicken Wings (Jerk or Buffalo). For $2-$6 there are a House Salad, Fried Chicken Salad or Jerk Chicken Salad.
Sandwiches ($4-$6) come with one side and choice include Fish, Jerk or Fried Chicken, Cheeseburger or two Hot Dogs. Side dishes are sweet potato or white fries, rice & peas, white rice, mac & cheese, potato salad, cornbread, fried plantain and steamed vegetables.
While most of the recipes are Charlene's mother's, three were provided by Gale and have a more southern soul food influence: mac & cheese, potato salad and the sweet and moist mini cornbread muffins.
Dinners ($6-$9) come with two sides and include Fried Chicken, Jerk Chicken, Curry Chicken, Curry Goat, Beef stew, Escovitch Fish, Oxtail and Jerk Pork.
I tried the Curry Goat, and the meat was moist and tender. The curry flavor is not strong, and is the most mild curry goat I've ever had. I chose rice & peas and cornbread as my sides, and they were both delectable, with the rice firm and with separate grains. Watch for bones in your entrees - when meat is cooked Jamaican style you have to eat around them.
Two desserts are offered - cheesecake and rum cake - but only the rum cake is made in-house.
The Rices have plenty of help in the kitchen, and meals come out quickly.
Bingy's is across S.C. 707 from Socastee High School. It's open from 11 a.m. to close Mondays through Saturdays, and the number is (843) 293-2481.