USA Today named Georgetown “America’s Best Coastal Small Town” in 2018, and I don’t think they picked it for the food scene, but maybe they should look again!
Only two towns in South Carolina are older than Georgetown, Charleston, and Beaufort. Historians think the first European settlement on mainland North America was established here in 1526 by Spaniards. Those settlers built an outpost on Winyah Bay, but the settlement disappeared without a trace within six months. The first recorded permanent settlers were the English at the Black River trading post, documented in 1710.
Plan to spend more than a few days on the Hammock Coast. There are interesting shops, museums, breweries, and a lovely waterfront (which you can read more about on RecipesTravelCulture’s online magazine) and, naturally, restaurants galore! Drool on!
These are my absolute favorite restaurants in Georgetown. If you want to eat with the locals, I got you covered! I’ll have to write about the ones in Georgetown County another time—it will take a lot more room (in the article and my waistband!!) All these spots are open for lunch and dinner, making it easy to eat an early lunch, tour this historic town, and enjoy dinner, too! I couldn’t pick my favorites in any order, so I’ve listed them in alphabetic order so nobody feels slighted!
The Fourteen Best Georgetown SC Restaurants
1808 Highmarket Street // (843) 546-9903
Opened in 1970, the Ball & Que is a local gem. You can have meat and three with a roll and tea and shoot a game of billiards while you wait for your plate!
Feeding locals and visitors for over 53 years, you know they’re doing something right! If you are craving a burger and fries, or a couple of hot dogs, the Ball & Que has a complete grill menu in addition to daily specials.
Open for Southern country breakfast at 6 am, by lunchtime, there are daily meat or fish specials, like fried chicken, pork chops, and flounder.
And you pick three of eight vegetables, salad, and dessert items. Monday is peach cobbler day, so plan accordingly! Then nightly dinner specials are available from 5-9 pm.
100 Wood Street // (843) 833-8989
The Starry Place Between the Antlers sits on Vinegar Hill bluff near the Kaminski House Museum. You’ll find the restaurant between the steel mill and Front Street, with a stunning view of the Sampit River. Back in 1791, when this was a federal wharf, you might have spotted George Washington and his peers imbibing in a bit of rum on this very ground!
Today, there is still a bit of imbibing going on. Four of us met for dinner before seeing The Strand’s production of Sound of Music. We devoured everything and washed it down with a drink or three. The perfect night in a Georgetown restaurant!
One of my favorite items comes from their Shellfish & Raw Bar menu—Illegal Grilled Oysters! Southern to a fault, these fabulous oysters are floating in drawn Irish butter, topped with minced baby collards, house-smoked bacon, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Oh! Be still my heart!
One friend tried the Front Street Fried Flounder Sandwich, served on a hoagie bun with lots of lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce. She scarfed it up, and I didn’t even get a bite. Nuff said? And another friend ordered the McClellanville Shrimp & Rice Grits—shrimp swimming just down the coast the day before, over creamy grits and topped with Tasso ham, diced tomatoes, and tiny green onions. Yum!
Two of us couldn’t pass up Dickey’s She Crab Soup. While I ate a cup, she ordered an entire bowl of deliciousness. It came with a wedge of fresh bread on the side. We both pronounced it yum-worthy!
The dessert menu lists various desserts each day. But, we were utterly stuffed (and besides, there were pralines squirreled away in our pockets!)
807 Front Street // (843) 546-1045
By now, you know if She Crab Soup is on the menu, it is on my table! Big Tuna’s She Crab did not disappoint; thick and full of crab meat, with just the right amount of sherry.
The late spring day was beautiful, with a gentle breeze, so we requested a table on the back deck overlooking the Sampit River. It’s the perfect place for people-watching; sooner or later, everyone walks by on the harborwalk.
The first employee you meet at the Big Tuna will probably be Sassy, a big, red Macaw Parrot. She’s at the front door, ready to greet all visitors.
The Big Tuna serves fresh local seafood, much of it caught by the restaurant owner. They brag on the whole fried flounder, but their shrimp and oysters are also outstanding. If someone in your party is not a seafood fan, they will find delicious burgers on the menu.
Naturally, I recommend chowing down on the fresh fish sandwich—they start with the fish of the day, fry it, and top a bun with the filet, lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce. All sandwiches arrive at the table with chips or fries and cole slaw.
The wine list has a good selection by the glass, but what the heck—you’re on vacation—order the Island Mimosa (like I did!) And it was perfect for washing down a platter of Fried Grouper Fingers. By the way, I heartily encourage double-dipping: use both the cocktail and the tartar sauce!
815 Front Street // (843) 461-9539
The best seat in the house is overlooking the Sampit River, and even in hot weather, there is a breeze off the water. Their lamb burger was delicious, dripping with Tzatziki Sauce and topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickled Red Onions.
But those Brussels All The Way?? Oh, my gracious!! A little bit hot, a little bit sweet—one of those dishes that makes you check to see who’s watching so you can lick your plate! The Brussels Sprouts are dotted with bacon, goat cheese, and almonds, then drizzled with honey and balsamic reduction.
If someone in your group doesn’t like Brussels Sprouts, don’t encourage them to try one—just keep stuffing them in your mouth!
Time your visit for Tequila Tuesday – and order their Hibiscus Margarita. Just do it!
They’re open for lunch seven days a week and still there until midnight! Some nights there is live music!
132 S Fraser Street // (843) 325-2725
Tucked into a nondescript building on Highway 17 South (Fraser Street), Eve’s Carribean Soul Food is a local gem, open 11 am – 7 pm! I passed by on my way to Charleston on several occasions. My chance to stop finally came, and now that I’ve been to Eve’s, I’ll be back!
Miss Eve is celebrating her own brand of south-of-the-border flavor with her Caribbean cooking with her southern flair! Eve happily served me a bowl of the best Oxtail I’ve ever eaten!
I also tried the Curry Chicken, Chicken Pilau Rice, and her Southern collards, mac n cheese, and candied yams (I never claimed to have restraint!)
I ordered a slice of fresh Pound Cake to go, but—full disclosure—it didn’t make it home! Next time it will be Peach Cobbler for me, with ice cream, of course!
The only thing that disappointed me about Eve’s was that the place wasn’t filled with folks. But then, I thought…more for me! If you aren’t eating at Eve’s Restaurant in Georgetown, you’re missing out on some seriously good eatin’!!
833 Front Street // (843) 527-8000
Yes, you really can order fresh gator at The Gator Grill. Gator Bites were barely breaded and fried to perfection. Then they served me their fried bacon-wrapped shrimp and spicy Remoulade sauce.
I was already counting my blessings when the Mango Pineapple wings arrived, falling right off the bone! Pure heaven! Once again, I didn’t make it past the appetizer menu.
Not only are they dishing up delicious food, but the Gator Grill has pool tournaments. So, if you’re more of a (pool) shark than a gator, stop by, prepared to play.
And if dancing is your thing, this is the place—come and enjoy the live music on Saturday night!
5225 US Business 17, Murrells Inlet // (843) 947-0520
Located on Front Street since 2018, sadly, the restaurant closed in 2022 – but a fantastic new Mexican restaurant has taken its place. However, Graham’s mom, Miss Ella, had THE. BEST She Crab Soup—and I KNOW She Crab Soup!!
But now that she’s retired, you’ll have to visit her son’s place just up the road in the Murrells Inlet section of Georgetown County. She shared the recipe with Graham, so you can still have lip-smacking-good She Crab Soup at Graham’s Landing.
I love that you don’t have to remind them to float sherry on top—they bring you an entire bottle! Tell Graham “Hi” for me!
929 Front Street // (843) 461-9224
Low Country Cantina opened in May 2022 in the former Graham’s building. Serving Tex-Mex cuisine with a Southern twist right alongside signature cocktails, they’ve got locals coming back for more. Manager John will greet you with a smile—tell him I sent you!
I didn’t make it past the Pork Wings on my first visit. Who would, after seeing Chipotle Smoked Pork Wings listed? I mean, I didn’t even know pigs could fly—and yet, here they were, rubbing those wings in chipotle and brown sugar and coating them in Low Country Peach BBQ sauce!
And, as if that wasn’t enough, they come with a bowl of Cilantro Lime Avocado Ranch dipping sauce!
My friend had the Cheerwine-marinated Carnitas. The chef didn’t just marinate the meat in Cheerwine; those beef-stuffed tacos were dripping in the house-made Cheerwine BBQ sauce.
Now, if you don’t know what Cheerwine is, well, you need to spend more time in the South! This distinct wild cherry fizzy drink has been produced in North Carolina for more than a century.
Desserts are tempting Low Country favorites, like Key Lime Pie and Crème Brulee.
Our second visit was as good as the first. You have to love consistency!
We started off with the Fried Green Tomato Stack, layered with house-made pimento cheese stacked on street corn, and topped with blackened shrimp, served with Cantina Hushpuppies (stuffed with shrimp, street corn, and just enough jalapenos) and bourbon butter. Did I mention that was just the appetizer course?
Then we moved right along to the divine Pork Belly Burnt End Tacos—big chunks of pork topped with that Low Country Peach BBQ sauce—uummm, ummm good!
Along with a bowl of Elote.
Elote is Mexican street corn, smothered in Cholula crema, lime, tajin, cotija cheese, and cilantro.
Insider Tip: Order it cut off the cob!
This just about did us in; but we’re no quitters! Not when desserts are tempting Low Country favorites, like Key Lime Pie and Dulce de Leche Crème Brulee. All you need is a spoon.
Instead of Low Country Shrimp & Grits, the Cantina has Mexi-Country Shrimp & Grits—cakes that is (grits mixed with fried jalapeno made into a grit cake.) That dish has my name on it for my next visit! That, plus a Bloody Maria!
Bonus: I found a Crock-pot Cheerwine BBQ Pulled Pork recipe so that you can try this at home! All you need is the Cheerwine.
724 Front Street // (843) 833-8175
Technically, I suppose this is a grocery store. The shop has easy access to the waterfront, so many of its customers are boaters passing through the area. They offer an array of items for restocking a ship’s galley and wine cellar.
But, in addition to staples and wine, they have a big soup pot filled with a soup de jour. It was my lucky day; I left with a container of Zuppa Tuscana on a recent visit. Let me tell you – it was divine the following evening for supper!
The refrigerated section holds a variety of soups and prepared items, too. And, of course, there is an entire section of desserts.
Surprising me on my last visit was a lovely seating area, turning the merc into a cute little café! So now you can choose to dine in, or you can still shop and carry out.
The shop also hosts wine-tasting events. Circle June 2024 for the 3rd Annual Rosé All Day Affair. In the meantime, 1st Friday (when Georgetown has music in the park), there is always a wine tasting beforehand. And they do have other wine tastings, so check the Facebook page when you make your plans.
732 Front Street // (843) 485-4345
A Sushi and Hibachi Restaurant in Georgetown, Rollin Local “rolls up” an impressive array of local items from the sea! Think Lowcountry Sushi Rolls! They also serve sandwiches and some pretty tasty hamburgers!
Just when you think you can’t hold another bite, you discover they have a dessert list that ranges from Brownies to Sweet Potato Maple Cheesecake! *Groan!*
The friendly staff can make recommendations, and the full-service bar can make whatever you want. Check their Facebook page to see the drink of the day.
Recent flavors have been Strawberry Screwdriver and Key Lime Pie Martini (excuse me while I brush the graham cracker crumbs off my chin!)
Insider tip: On Wednesday, you’ll find Half-off Hump Day on Sushi! But they do take reservations on Wednesday *hint, hint!*
919 Front Street // (843)-461-9344
What kind of name is that? Here’s your clue—American cuisine with local roots. Does that get your tummy’s attention?
Root is creative; they have things like a drool-worthy citrus salad. It is topped with Burrata (a fresh mozzarella ball filled to bursting with soft stracciatella—mozzarella mixed with cream—and more cream) and prosciutto, then finished off with a balsamic drizzle.
Root is upscale; they have taken their pretzel bites and elevated them with a cheese sauce made from smoked gouda and topped with crispy pancetta crumbles.
On their lunch menu, you’ll find beef, veal, and pork blended into a meatball and cooked in red sauce, topping local SC Anson Mills’ Grits.
Root is inventive; they have a homemade Root Sauce—and aioli made with grilled onions. Try it on your Root Burger! And their fries? Well, they’re tossed in Rosemary and duck fat, fried, and topped with that sweet charred onion aioli!
Root is local; they have things like Shrimp & Grits. They start with local-caught shrimp, served on top of white cheddar grits and topped with sausage and onions tossed in a white wine butter sauce.
Root is wet; they have wine, beer, and a full bar, so they have drinks to pair with your meal. Or, you can stop in after a ball game, concert, or play and relax on the boardwalk with a cold one of your choice while watching the stars twinkling in the sky.
Insider Tip: Ask to sit out back and enjoy the waterfront view!
619 Front Street // (843) 833-8789
So Co (Southern Cooking) is a popular restaurant in Georgetown. The homemade Southern comfort food keeps the place filled with locals. Even the seafood is local, right off the dock! They have delicious entrees, pot pies, Lowcountry Shrimp & Grits, unique sandwiches, and half-pound burgers that are hard to resist.
But So Co is famous for Buttermilk Fried Chicken. So don’t hesitate—just place that order!
There are Brunch and Happy Hour menus, so you get a bonus for going early. I can vouch for the grouper tacos and the shrimp tacos, too. And you are in the home of fried chicken, so an order of Southern Fried Chicken Egg Rolls might hit the spot!
If you have another spot that needs to be “hit,” I highly recommend a crisp, refreshing apple margarita with caramel and salt encircling the rim.
Then, of course, there is always that dessert display case. *drool* If you have any room left, So Co can fill it right up! I think I hear a slice of Bailey’s Irish Cream Cake calling my name.
Insider Tip: Order the fried okra strips—they arrive with Tomato-Bacon Jam for dipping. Oh, my goodness!! You’ll be glad you took my advice!
So Co is so popular they’ve opened SoCo Woodfired Pizza (107 Screven St). A plan is forming for another drive to Georgetown – can you tell??
707 Front Street // (843) 545-5400
A wide selection of in-house treats includes homemade ice creams, brittles, chocolates, fudge, and toffee. They even have treats for your pup.
I have just one word for you—Pralines. If you don’t know what that means, trust me…go in and say, “I need some Pralines.” (Remember our pockets?
This is the place to fill them up!) A southern buttery, sweet caramel treat laced with vanilla and filled with pecan pieces (I sighed out loud just typing that!) Pralines are so sweet you only need one, but buy two anyway—they’re addictive!
Insider Tip: Sweeties is conveniently located across the street from The Strand, Georgetown’s community theatre. Stop in before the play to get your fix for your sweet tooth to enjoy at intermission.
925 Front Street // (843) 936-3697
One of the newest spots downtown is Urban Brew, tucked into the front corner of Bluebird Vintage Furniture. Sometimes you just need a drink (and maybe a muffin). Urban Brew Coffee House can meet that need.
They have a selection of drinks from espresso to tea, including ice-cold drinks and a dizzying array of muffins, scones, pastries, cupcakes, and cookies.
Bonus: The cookies make the perfect finger food for walking the historic streets of Georgetown.
Where Should You Stay?
824 Prince St // (843) 997-4812
Now—who can resist a B&B where one of the Bs stands for Brew? Baxter’s is just steps from the historic downtown.
Downstairs is Baxter’s Beer Parlour, stocked with various craft beers. The proprietor has perfected his recipes with 20 years of practice. It is occasionally open for drop-in events, but just in case, maybe you should book a room!
I can vouch for tasty flavors, especially root beer! It is some of the best I’ve ever had! Georgetown is small but has a mighty food scene…as Uncle Noel used to say, “It is some kind of good!”
Visiting other destinations in South Carolina? Check out our other delicious guides:
- Seven Lowcountry Summerville SC Restaurants
- 8 Must-Try Downtown Charleston Restaurants
- 6 Best Things To Do In Florence SC
- 7 Must-Try Greenville Restaurants
- The 7 Best Restaurants In Downtown Greenville SC
- 7 Best Rooftop Bars in Charleston
Jo Clark is a travel writer, award-winning photographer, and food & wine lover from South Carolina’s Grand Strand. She loves learning about local flavors unique to places she visits and adding to her list of “off the beaten path” places. She is the editor of Recipes Travel Culture online magazine, and is a member of TravMedia, IFWTWA, PWA, and Travel Massive. She would love for you to follow her adventures on Instagram @JoGoesEverywhere or Facebook at HaveGlassWillTravel.