Setting the Table
Rockabilly BBQ is a new restaurant from daughter-and-father culinary duo Sheina Hammerman and Ted Hammerman, who are best known around Myrtle Beach for their seafood at Mr. Fish.
The Hammermans recently moved Mr. Fish from 3401 N. Kings Highway to 6401 N. Kings Highway, and Rockabilly is in the former Mr. Fish location. The color scheme in two rooms is hot pink with vivid turquoise, and the nod to a rockabilly theme is chalkboards mounted on the walls framed by LP vinyl records.
However, the connection between rockabilly, which is music with roots from the 1950s that combines rock ‘n’ roll with bluegrass (think Stray Cats), is blurred with the menu’s illustration. It features Rosie the Riveter holding a plate of ribs: she is the famed icon from the 1940s depicting a woman with her hair bound in a scarf and rolling up her sleeve to fill a man’s factory job during World War II.
In the name of historic accuracy, Rosie the Riveter has nothing to do with rockabilly and preceded the music by a decade or so.
Down the Hatch
The menu and its execution also send mixed messages.
Rockabilly music has Southern and British connections, but Rockabilly BBQ serves Cuban sandwiches, chili with jalapeno cornbread and Quesadillas. I guess the link is they contain meat.
But there are plenty of interesting dishes that do have a Southern heritage. Appetizers ($4-$10) include hot pimento cheese served with tortilla chips, pork belly sliders, fried green tomatoes served with jalapeno Ranch dressing, boiled peanuts and extremely dense corn muffins.
Sandwiches are $5-$7, and you can add a side for a buck. They have pulled chicken, pork, fried bologna, meatloaf sandwich, smoked sausage dog and burgers. Sides are coleslaw, stewed collards and cabbage, fries, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, potato salad and fried okra.
I tried the collards and cabbage, which was a hearty portion and mildly seasoned. The macaroni and cheese is elbow noodles in a rich and creamy cheese sauce, but it isn’t baked Southern-style.
Entrees are $6-$12 and include pulled barbecue chicken, smoked ribs, “smokey” fried chicken, meatloaf wrapped in bacon, chicken bog and a “duo of smoked S.C. sausages,” which must mean they are made in South Carolina, because Polish kielbasa and Cajun Andouille are not traditional Palmetto State foods.
I tried the “low and slow smoked BBQ” pork, which tasted great. It is moist and tender and had a rich mouth feel due to a significant amount of fat left in it. It isn’t South Carolina style barbecue – its presentation looks more like corned beef – and I didn’t detect a smoked flavor, although Sheina Hammerman said they use hickory wood in their smoker.
The meat is served naked, and there are three sauces on the tables from which to choose: tomato-based vinegar, sweet red, and mustard sauce. None of them are especially spicy, and I had a hard time choosing a favorite because they’re all delicious and fresh tasting.
No alcohol is served – the choices are tea, coffee or soft drinks. Two desserts are each $6: house-made apple crisp a la mode or pecan grit pie.
I’d go back – I heard a couple of diners making happy noises over the meatloaf, and I’d like to try the pulled chicken. The dishes may not all be Southern-style, but they taste OK and the prices are fair.
Becky Billingsley serves up fresh news daily at MyrtleBeachRestaurantNews.com.