By Becky Billingsley
What constitutes a family-friendly restaurant in the Myrtle Beach area? One where mom and dad can order decent food, children are happy with their menu selections and the staff treats children nicely. Bonuses are games and activities.
Angelo's Steak & Pasta, 2011 S. King Highway, Myrtle Beach, (843) 626-2800
Families receive special warm welcomes at Angelo’s, and children are entertained by the tableside magic of Michael Bairefoot. This renowned magician recently earned the title of Magic Idol (along the lines of the “American Idol” contest) from the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Children, or anyone who enjoys tasting a variety of dishes, head for Angelo’s Italian buffet. For an amazingly affordable price, diners may have some or all of more than a dozen selections, including lasagna, chicken cacciatore, spaghetti, tortellini Alfredo, pizza, Italian green beans, garden salad, fresh baked garlic rolls and Italian sausage. Of course there's also the regular menu full of steaks served on sizzle platters, plus Italian dishes.
The Coliseum, 3901-A Dick Pond Rd., Myrtle Beach, (843) 215-6093
The decor is sports-themed with a Yankees corner, lots of football memorabilia and nods to basketball and boxing. There are several televisions so guests can watch their favorite teams, but this place is more where sports teams - from T-ball to adult leagues - can visit after their games with spouses and children in tow, and everyone will be comfortable and happy. The restaurant is non-smoking. There are pinball and many more games, and a menu full of excellent sandwiches, entrees, salads, finger foods and more.
Dirty Dick's Crab House, 1101 N. Kings Highway, North Myrtle Beach (843) 663-3499
Families are welcome at Dirty Dick's, and children get their meals served on Frisbees they get to keep. An especially popular children's beverage is the Shark Attack where a small vial of grenadine is attached to a cup of Seven-Up. Children dump the grenadine in the soda and watch the red "blood" spread throughout the drink.
Hot Fish Club, 4911 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, (843) 357-9175
Parents can dine on fresh seafood in the waterfront gazebo and keep an eye on children enjoying a playground and wide grassy lawn. They also have a cornhole area.
Longbeard's Grill, 5040 Carolina Forest Blvd., Myrtle Beach, (843) 903-2905
The family that owns this restaurant that looks like a hunting lodge has gone to lengths to make it family-friendly. The side patio is a hot spot for family cornhole tournaments, and there's room for kids to toss a Frisbee or have a catch.
Poppy's Burgers & Subs, 3290 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, (843) 651-6800
Two dads own this cute restaurant and serve great casual food at low prices. From 3-8 p.m. Tuesdays, a burger and fries is $3! Children's meals are less than $5 and include fries, chips or applesauce. There's a big chalkboard to keep little ones busy drawing. Click the link in the headline to see more of their special family-minded deals, like the kids eat free night.
Revolutions Bistro & Bar, 10125 U.S. 17 Bypass, Murrells Inlet, inside Inlet Square Mall, (843) 651-9400.
Everyone in the family should be happy with this restaurant that's surrounded by an arcade, 16 bowling lanes, a full service bar and a movie theater with 11 screens. Children have several $7 meal deals, and adults enjoy finger foods (try the Melty Mound), salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizza and wraps.
The Blue Crab, 9448 Ocean Blvd., Pawleys Island, (843) 979-2722
Adults enjoy the laid-back weathered fish camp atmosphere and a wide variety of fresh seafood choices. Children's meals are $5 and include burgers, corn dog, chicken fingers, flounder and shrimp, and they come with fries or tater tots. An enclosed outdoor playground provides distraction. Although they aren't listed on the menu, dessert choices are one of two ice cream bars (Choco Taco or Reese's Peanut Butter Bar), Key Lime Pie, Peanut Butter Pie, Lemon Meringue and Chocolate Spoonful.
Thorny's Steakhouse & Saloon, 600 S. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, (843) 448-2333
This is a family-style steakhouse with much more than just steaks. Two kid-friendly play areas - one for little'uns and one with video games for tweens and teens - keep everyone happy and active.
Ultimate California Pizza Game Zone, 959 Lake Arrowhead Rd., Myrtle Beach, (843) 449-1160
Their pizza is good, but the menu also boasts a lot of great salads, appetizers and sandwiches. The dining area is separate from the dozens of arcade games, so mom and dad can eat and have a drink in peace.
Who decides the lists? Becky Billingsley: a local food and restaurant journalist who has been covering the Myrtle Beach area restaurant beat for local, regional and national publications for 15 years.
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List updated on June 20, 2012