Hard Rock Park goes
to daily operations
With its formal grand opening Monday and Tuesday, there's no time like now to check out Hard Rock Park while it's fresh. The $400 million theme park was partly built on the site of the former Fantasy Harbor entertainment complex; partly on the failed Waccamaw Factory Shoppes. There was a soft opening in April and in mid-May. Now it'll be open daily, with the bugs worked out and everything slated to be up and running – including recently-in-the-works Maximum RPM roller coaster (you do the track in a “mini sports car”; a ride-in Ferris wheel lifts your vehicle to the track overhead).
Still available: two-day ticket package – $250 – that includes park admission for both days, admission to concerts by the Eagles (Monday) and Moody Blues (Tuesday), free parking, a souvenirs package and a food/beverage package. Details/tickets: 843-236-7625; www.hardrockpark.com. Staff and Wire ReportsThe Fresh SeafoodRestaurant & Market
The place: 1343 Kings Highway (beside Kmart), Myrtle Beach. Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Details: 843-448-9043.
The taste: Here's a casual eatery with friendly staff and tasty, reasonably priced food. Friends and family could easily go there and just hang out because the place has a laid-back atmosphere.
The seafood comes from the market, with the cook scooping out fresh seafood right from the meat case in the front of the store. There is a lunch and dinner menu, with a variety of seafood featured on each. There are fish, clams, shrimp, perch, catfish, chicken and burgers on the lunch menu, while the dinner menu additionally features mahi-mahi, flounder, orange roughy, coconut shrimp and other popular seafood.
Sandwiches are also an eatery staple, with the restaurant offering whiting, spot, croaker, grouper and other fish sandwiches. A crab cake sandwich is also offered. The eatery sells frog legs, too. I opted for the “Big Four” – fish, shrimp, oysters and scallops. All the seafood was lightly breaded.
The dinner came with coleslaw, hush puppies and french fries. Land lovers can order steak; seafood lovers will be glad Dungeness crab legs and lobster are also sold here. Dieters should know their food can be grilled.
To drink: Pepsi products and ice tea (sweet and unsweetened) are $1.64. Refills are free.
The price: Prices range from $4.90 to market price (for the lobster dinner). Johanna D. Wilson, Sun NewsPanini 38
The place: 1289 38th Ave. N., Myrtle Beach. Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday. Details: 843-448-5154.
The vibe: Panini 38's cozy atmosphere is great for both the wine and beer crowd. Two high-definition TVs situated above the bar offer good views from all seats in the restaurant, so you can enjoy a beer while checking out college basketball.
Booths and tables abound, but for a more intimate experience, check out the booths, which are great for sharing a glass of wine and some conversation.
The crowd: The patrons were older, fun-loving sorts, singing along to live country tunes and calling out requests. A feel-good vibe also surrounded the pack of gentlemen at the bar.
The drink: Happy hour is 3-6 p.m. daily, and there are several beer specials available. The bartenders were knowledgeable about the wines on the menu and were extremely polite. Your tab comes in a sleeve, so there's no one eyeballing you as you write in the tip.
The sound: On most evenings, there is live music. Genres vary. The night we were there, Jason “Cowboy” Parchert performed acoustic country and classic tunes. Parchert is worth a listen, especially if you love country sung in a deep, bass voice, a la Johnny Cash or Randy Travis. Plus, he takes requests.
Overheard: Patron 1: “How did Steve get home last night?” Patron 2: “I don't know. I heard he took his clothes off.”
Most awesome/strangest site: There is artwork on every wall at Panini 38 and even some photographs. It gives the place a gallery feel, while still maintaining a cozy vibe. Mary Erskine, Sun News