By Becky Billingsley
Thursday, August 9, 2012, Murrells Inlet – It is quiet at lunchtime at the new 19th Hole Grill & Sports Lounge in Murrells Inlet, but it won’t stay that way for long once diners discover its economically priced and expertly prepared dishes.
The 19th Hole opened on July 28, and Wesley Rundle and his partners, brothers Joshua and Bradley Lentz, have performed a creditable job transforming the space at 4378 U.S. 17 Business (next to Jackson’s Inlet and catty-corner from River City Café) into a spacious place to play, party and dine.
At the entrance are several tables and a roomy L-shape bar made of gleaming wood. This area is big, but through a side door to the right is an even bigger room with two pool tables, many video games, cocktail-height tables and black “leather” furniture grouped around a coffee table.
A unique non-service bar separates the lounge area from the pool tables, and several pendant-style lamps with varying shades adds warm light and color to the décor.
The overall effect is a lavish and well-appointed Man Cave with feminine touches. It is the sort of place I can imagine adults would have birthday parties, because it is so roomy, comfortable and affordable.
Darrin Hubbell, a longtime local chef, is in the kitchen executing a menu of casual finger foods and entrees. None of the dishes are priced more than $9.
I tried a Marinated Chicken Quesadilla, which contains julienne red and green bell peppers, onions and Cheddar cheese. The chicken was tender and flavorful with its oil/vinegar/herb marinade, and the quesadilla was served with sides of salsa, sour cream, pico de gallo and chiffonade lettuce.
It is easily one of the top three quesadillas I’ve eaten. Those who love quesadillas will understand the importance of achieving a delicate crispiness to the tortilla, and this one was just right. It isn’t too thick or thin, and held together well for dipping in the sour cream and salsa without its ingredients falling out.
A friend visited 19th Hole this week for happy hour, which is from 4-8 p.m., and he said he enjoyed some tacos and looks forward to returning for more.
Those tacos can be filled with blackened fish, chicken or shrimp. You get two for $5 or three for $7.
Other small-portioned dishes are Blue Fries, which are house-made fries or chips topped with seasoning salt, black pepper, blue cheese and blue cheese dressing; Smoked Baby Back Ribs in chipotle barbecue or Carolina Gold sauces; and Stuffed Mushrooms filled with cream cheese and served with horseradish sauce.
Heartier portions are served for the Half-Pound Burger, Spicy Chicken Wrap, Carolina Pork Sandwich, Mahi Mahi Fish and Chips, and Caesar Salad with chicken or shrimp.
Service was friendly and prompt, and the quesadilla came out of the kitchen five minutes after my order was placed.
My friend and I were joking that we need to be sure and visit 19th Hole often before corners are cut or prices go up. Seriously though, diners receive above-average food for value prices, and it’s served with a smile. I’ll definitely go back.
Happy hour is from 4-8 p.m. with $2 off specialty cocktails, $2 draft beers, $7 pitchers and buy-one-get-one-free appetizers.
The 19th Hole Grill & Sports Lounge opens daily at 11 a.m. and stays open late, and the number is (843) 299-0096.