By Becky Billingsley
Thursday, May 31, 2012, Myrtle Beach - Moe Moons has everything a tourist or local could want in a boardwalk restaurant, which is inexpensive delicious food, a fun decor that's not tacky, light-hearted servers and plenty of booze.
Add Primo People-Watching Spot to the list of Moe Moons attributes. It's in the former Marvin's Food & Spirits at 918 N. Ocean Blvd., at the north end of a row of restaurants, bars and beach shops within sight of the Skywheel. If you sit out front on the patio, the parade of interesting humanity is never-ending, plus there's a great view of the ocean.
The restaurant's interior is roomy, with a long bar across the rear, booths to the right and along the front window and three pool tables and various games to the left. Instead of going over the top with a beach decor, a rustic-yet-contemporary feeling is achieved with cedar-stained paneling, a rust-colored overhang above the bar, a smattering of vintage beach photos and a cool van front emerging from a wall sporting a devilishly grinning sun.
The menu still says Marvin's, and if this is what Marvin McHone served for 37 years (I never made it there when McHone owned it), no wonder it became a Myrtle Beach dining icon. Now local longtime businessmen Steve Taylor and Bill Prescott are the owners, and they're doing McHone proud.
I am accustomed to casual beachfront restaurants charging premium prices for below-average food, so my jaw dropped when I saw appetizers priced at $3.50-$9.50, entree salads for $7-$10, hot dogs (including foot-longs) for $2.50-$6, taco plates for $6-$8 and several burgers for $5.
Five buck burgers! On the boardwalk!
I tried one of those burgers, but first my son and I shared Huggins Jalapeno Pimento Cheese Dip, which was also only $5 for a generous serving that came with a huge bowl of corn tortilla chips. It's spicy in a wonderful way, and we spent a happy five minutes munching and tamping the fire with beers.
We had only five minutes with the dip, because our entrees came out of the kitchen quickly. My son had Shreddin' Shrimp Tacos - all the menu items have either beachy or Horry County-based names.
The pair of hard shell tacos certainly appeared to be yummy, and my son says they tasted as good as they looked. Each contained three large fried shrimp topped with lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, salsa, lime juice, spicy mayonnaise sauce and some of the sauce from another appetizer called Banging' Spicy Style Shrimp. More corn chips were served with the tacos.
I had the Mother Fletchers Black and Blue Burger, and again I couldn't believe it was only $5. I opted to add fries for an additional $3, and they were crispy and hot.
The 4-ounce burger was cooked just right - it was done all the way through (pink hamburger scares me, due to the risk of eColi) and was moist. The burger was topped with a thick schmear of blue cheese, three large pieces of bacon and a crispy onion ring that was just a tad smaller than the burger. I savored every bite, including the unpretentious soft white bun.
A few more dishes that sound tempting include Skywheel Taco Salad, Coach Bennett BBQ Dawg (there's a local joke in that name) - Phat Philly Cheesesteak, Creekside Shrimp Basket and Bike Week BBQ Basket.
The cocktail menu is extensive; they serve just about any fruity concoction you could want. Happy hour is from 4-7 p.m., when some drinks are discounted a little.
Moe Moons is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and the number is (843) 448-4926. Whether you're a local or a visitor, it's a fine place to park yourself and enjoy the Myrtle Beach experience.