Gut Reaction for March 21, 2013

For Weekly SurgeMarch 20, 2013 

Setting the Table

Spanky’s Pub House, which opened in January at the north end of Myrtle Beach, is notable for its atmosphere and service rather than for its food.

Owners Bob Ross (not the late, great whimsical painter) and Carrie Ross have a contracting business in Raleigh, N.C., and they have owned a second home in Myrtle Beach for several years. The restaurant’s interior was pleasantly remodeled with calming blue tones and a mixture of woods in wainscoting, chairs and tables.

The most striking décor elements are a wide textured icy blue border near the ceiling imprinted with simple waves, with the wall painted robin’s egg blue below it hung with large black and white photographs featuring iconic Myrtle Beach area scenes.

A long bar dominates one side of the restaurant, and cocktail tables and bar stools are situated so that every seat has a view of several televisions. A large uncovered patio faces a golf course across the street.

At 5:15 p.m. on a recent Saturday, two elderly couples were having dinner and enjoying banter with the extremely friendly female bartender.

Down the Hatch

The menu is unremarkable, and a couple of the side dishes I tried were boring.

Starters are $3.50-$9 and include Fried Shrimp, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Fried Pickle Spears, Loaded Nachos, Quesadillas, soft Pretzels from Benjamin’s Bakery and Mac & Cheese Bites. Wings come in mild, medium or hot, in quantities of 10, 20 or 50 for $9-$37.

I tried the Pretzels that came with two dipping mustards. Benjamin’s Pretzels are always a good choice wherever they’re served, and since I was there during Happy Hour the pair was $5 instead of $6. Two Spanky’s Sliders filled with pulled pork in tomato sauce and slaw were tasty, and the fries accompanying them were crispy.

Soups (chili or soup of the day, such as house-made Tortilla Soup or Chicken Noodle) and Salads (House, Grilled Chicken, Caesar, Chef) are $4-$9.

Sandwiches, Wraps and Burgers are $7-$9.50 and come with a pickle spear and a choice of one side dish: Side Salad, Pasta Salad, Onion Rings, Pub Chips or Fries.

I tried Blackened Shrimp Tacos, and they were my favorite. You get a pair, and the small soft tortillas are filled to the brim with lettuce, tomato, cheese and small juicy shrimp, and there’s a slightly spicy and creamy sauce drizzled on it. The Onion Rings with them were not appealing: overly breaded freezer bag stuff.

I also sampled a Turkey Melt on Benjamin’s Marble Rye, and while it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t an especially thick sandwich. The Pasta Salad with it was thoroughly uninspiring: rotini in vinaigrette with a few almost microscopic bits of green onion and mushy tomato.

A few other choices include Cheesesteak (with beef or chicken), Corned Beef Reuben, Classic Club Wrap, Half-pound Hot Dog with chili/onion/cheese, Black and Blue Burger, Portabello Mushroom Burger and the Smokehouse Burger with Cheddar, bacon, mushrooms, fried onions and barbecue sauce.

Check, please

Desserts of the Day change; recently a choice was mini Chocolate Chess Tarts. Daily dining specials have included half a sandwich and a cup of soup for $6.

Children have three $4 choices that include fries and a drink: Grilled Cheese, PB&J or Chicken Tenders.

Three beers are on tap, and there’s a full bar.

Spanky’s has a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere and friendly and fast service, and it would be a fine place to go watch a game and have a nibble. But I can’t imagine choosing to go there just for the food.

Spanky’s Pub House is at 9776 Kings Rd. in Myrtle Beach, and the number is 808-9530. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.

Becky Billingsley serves up fresh news daily at

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