New diner ‘a home away from home'

Charlie Raptis used to be a corporate man, but he is now excited about being a diner gentleman.

Raptis will open Prince Creek Diner in Murrells Inlet, S.C., come October.

Folks in and around his neighborhood are already coming by to read his sample menu posted at The Shoppes at Tournament Boulevard at 11907 S.C. 707, where the eatery will be.

“I moved here a couple of years ago, but I have been vacationing here for 25 years,” Raptis said.

This isn't his first foray into the restaurant business: “I grew up in a diner because my grandpa owned one in Wellsville, N.Y.”

His brother runs that diner now.

The Murrells Inlet diner experience will be accentuated by hospitality, good eats and a local following, Raptis said.

A diner is “a place that gives you comfort food, quick service, inexpensive meals and allows you to see the same people day in and day out. It's a home away from home. You can sit down for an hour, open up your newspaper and not be concerned about being rushed out of the door.”

Raptis said the menu will be a hodgepodge of homemade favorites, including liver and onions, pork chops, spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf and onion rings.

The kid's menu will feature food they usually only get at home such as turkey and dressing and roast beef. Chicken fingers, burgers and hot dogs will be on the kid's menu, too.

Plus, there will be milkshakes, fried fish, cheese steaks and sweet potato fries. Johanna Wilson, The Sun-News



The place: 2520 U.S. 17 Business, Unit 12, Garden City Beach, S.C. Hours: 5-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Details: 843-651-3222.

The taste: Twelve is a perfect way to treat yourself for being good. The presentation of the food is lovely, and its taste is excellent.

The menu offers enough choices for variety but not so many that I felt overwhelmed. The baked brie appetizer is brie cheese baked inside puff pastry with spiced pecans and brown sugar, served with apples and mini slices of bread.

Other appetizers include assorted smoked sausages (with sweet and spicy bourbon mustard dipping sauce) and Pizzette (arugula, caramelized onions, prosciutto and shaved Parmesan atop pizza crust).

I had the Asian short ribs. It was actually one giant rib – tender beef – topped with a slightly salty barbecue sauce. The entree comes with two sides. I tried the mixed root oven-roasted vegetables and sweet corn and red pepper saute. Other sides: potato-fennel gratin, sweet potato salad and sweet and spicy slaw.

Entrees include chicken pot pie (prepared with sherry and topped with herbed bread dressing) and Uptown Mac and Cheese (pasta, sweet sausage, spinach and oven roasted tomatoes baked with four-cheese béchamel sauce and topped with bread crumbs).

Key lime tart (with a ginger snap crust) and apple maple croissant bread pudding are among the six desserts.

To drink: Coke products are $1.75; mixed drinks from about $5.75 and up; bottled beer starts at about $3.50.

The price: Prices range from $5 (New England Clam and Corn Chowder) to $36 (Surf and Turf). Johanna Wilson


Mellow Mushroom

The place: 1571 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach. This pizza joint is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Details: 843-444-1122.

The vibe: If you're a longtime fan of the Mellow Mushroom chain, you'll notice right away that this restaurant is a little more Myrtle Beach and a little less mellow than other sites – but it's still packed full of good vibes. Check out the golf-themed chandelier in the entryway, the huge boat-style booth in the dining area and the bright colors and televisions everywhere.

The crowd: You can find everyone from families to singles packing this new eatery.

The drink/the taste: Happy hour? Half-price glasses of wine and beer specials, plus more fun Wednesdays-Fridays during football season. Get ready for the good times by sampling one of the 101 beers offered at Mellow Mushroom.

If you simply can't wait for the after-work hours, grab a slice for lunch. Slices are available 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday and start at $1.75. Each extra ingredient will run you a quarter.

The only drawback? Service tends to be pretty slow. That's been consistent during our half-dozen visits. We've heard the same from several friends. Allow for extra time if you're waiting on a pizza pie. If you're just hitting the bar for drinks and appetizers, you should be fine.

The sound: Mellow Mushroom's got a pretty hip sound but can turn on the cheesiness when it needs to – think a little My Morning Jacket mixed with late '80s/early '90s schmaltz.

Overheard: “He's such a jerk!” Jenn Parker, The Sun-News