Eat, Drink and Be Merry at 31st annual Taste of the Town

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The highlight of the fall social calendar in Myrtle Beach is the Taste of the Town culinary event at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, where food takes center stage.

More than 10,000 pack the Convention Center’s exhibition halls each year to sample some of the best cuisine in town. More than 50 restaurants participate in the annual fundraiser for St. Andrews Catholic School, which has seen this event grow from a small gathering in the school lunchroom in 1984 to perhaps the most popular festival on the Grand Strand in 2014.

Visitors purchase food tickets for $1 apiece and roam the rows the food booths and drink vendors in search of satisfying their taste buds. There are plenty of different types of cuisine available to choose from, including seafood, sushi and steak dishes for the adults, and pizza, hamburgers and ice cream for the younger set. There’s also a kids play area to keep the little ones entertained, and live music plays on the main stage, where the winning dishes are announced later in the evening.

The awards are not only for the best entrees and desserts, as selected by the judges and the general public, but also for the best decorated booths. The colorful displays create a carnival-style atmosphere and the Grand Strand’s largest dining party. Many festival regulars prefer to pick up a handful of dishes and retreat to the Beer Garden, where wine and beer vendors are set up alongside more secluded tables and bar stools. There are also long rows of tables set up between the booths to give people a place to enjoy their dishes, and the seating arrangements allows total strangers to share tips about where the best dishes can be found.

Among the featured restaurants for this year’s event is 21 Main, the fine dining establishment at North Beach Plantation that specializes in prime steaks that are aged in-house and fresh seafood caught from just off our shores. Because the upscale establishment is out of the price range of many festival-goers, 21 Main is traditionally one of the most popular booths for those looking to get a taste of the good stuff for a few tickets.

Bimini’s Oyster Bar is another crowd favorite, not only for its tasty seafood offerings but also its colorfully decorated booth. The island theme is on full display with tropical décor and food to match. The fried oysters are a fan favorite, and the key lime pie is in high demand. Fiesta Mexicana also goes all out with both food and décor, with Mexican cuisine and regalia attracting big crowds. Hard Rock Café brings a rock’n’roll attitude and some surprisingly creative dishes to this annual food fest.

Other participating restaurants include Asian Bistro, Athena’s, Bandito’s Cantina, Bubba’s Fish Shack, Cakes By The Sea, Carolina Roadhouse, Cocoadotts Cake Shop, Divine Prime, Flamingo, Greg Norman’s Australian Grill, LIL’ Tokyo, Nacho Hippo, New York Prime, Pawley’s Raw Bar, River City Café, Senor Frogs, Sticky Fingers, and Ultimate California Pizza, just to name a few.

Enjoy tapas-sized servings of these restaurants’ best offerings and even register your own vote for your favorites in the People Choice category.            In addition to food and drink vendors, there are also lots of dessert places so you can satisfy your sweet tooth at the end of the night. Many of the participating vendors hold after-parties at their restaurants or bars to celebrate another successful festival. For more information or to purchase advanced tickets, visit the website at



(Posted: 9/24/14)