Two new restaurants are open in North Myrtle Beach along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Local On The Water, a Pittsburgh-based restaurant, opened its first out-of-state location in North Myrtle Beach in early April at 1525 13th Avenue North. Next door, a taco joint called Steel Cactus opened last week.
Both places are operated by David Stebbins, a businessman who’s lived in the area for five years.
“We had an opportunity,” Stebbins said. “About two-and-a-half years ago – this property itself had been empty for seven years when we got it – and it just kind of fell into our laps, right place, right time. We decided to put two locations in here and for the last two years we’ve been plugging away and getting ready to open.”
Both places are open-air concepts with a great view of the waterway. Stebbins spent the last two years renovating the building that houses Local on the Water.
“Besides the four walls, we renovated everything,” he said.
The menu is a mix of Southern-American and Northern dishes.
“I’m originally from Rhode Island, so seafood is a very big opportunity with us,” Stebbins said. “So I took everything that I liked as a kid, everything that I liked growing up, and stuff that I’ve always liked, and put a twist on it.”
One specialty is the hot buttered lobster roll, which goes for $15.
“We bring in our fresh lobster daily, we steam it daily, we poach it in butter on a New England-style hot dog roll, it’s seared with a little butter and then we serve it with our house hand-cut fries or cole slaw,” he said. “Realistically in an opening, you’re kind of looking to see what sells and what doesn’t and you try to make opportunities to switch stuff around. But there’s not one item that’s not selling.”
The other dishes Stebbins said have been popular are the shrimp scampi pizza, mussels, seafood fritters and burgers. And Stebbins said the place doesn’t usually use a freezer.
“Everything that we do is as fresh as possible and as local as possible,” he said. “The only thing realistically that we have a small box freezer for is ice cream. And the only thing I can’t make by hand better than another company is sweet potato waffle fries. Everything else we make in-house.”
They also have 40 different draft beers on tap.
Stebbins said he wanted to get as local as possible with the beer, and aimed at getting 80 percent local or regional brews.
“A lot of the beers that are up there are either from South or North Carolina,” Stebbins said. “Some from Atlanta, some a little further south. But we really tried to hone in and be as regional as possible.”
Next door, the Steel Cactus is taking it slow for the first month. During the month of May, the taco place is only open Thursday through Sunday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Those hours will expand throughout the season, Stebbins said.
The Steel Cactus Taqueria offers build-your-own burrito and taco menus plus a few specialty tacos.
“We also did three signature tacos to really kind of highlight this area, which are our camerones, which is our spicy shrimp taco," Stebbins said. "We have a tempura ahi taco, and we have a mahi taco."
Local also has an indoor and outdoor stage. Stebbins said they plan on having live music every day throughout the summer.