A Bit of Australia in Myrtle Beach

September 30th, 2010

by Joyce Deaton

If you’re a regular cruiser along the Intracoastal Waterway, you know Barefoot Landing. It’s a great stopping point for a broad range of food and entertainment. If your stopovers so far haven’t included Greg Norman’s Australian Grille, you have a treat in store.

Like the golfer, his restaurant is one-of-a-kind. No chain, this. At 13,000 square feet including its retail store featuring Greg Norman clothing, this oversize, rollicking establishment feels as big as Australia itself. The plenitude starts at the 225-foot dock, where boaters can tie up without charge while they dine. “Because of this, the Myrtle Beach Herald for the past two years has named us the number one most boater-friendly restaurant,” says operations manager Peter Dombrowski.

A huge veranda with a patio-style waiting area beckons you to relax and have a sip of something cool. The Shark Pub (Norman is nicknamed the Shark for his aggressive golfing) is a work of art, with a large oval mahogany bar that holds 30, plus plenty of oversize leather couches and relaxing armchairs. Eight TVs ensure you won’t miss a stroke or a play of whatever sport is your passion. Happy hour is similarly generous – from 3 to 7 p.m. – and there’s live entertainment every evening on the waterway deck.

Looking for lunch or dinner? You won’t be disappointed. The restaurant’s interior is unexpectedly beautiful. No golf-themed décor and only two depictions of the Shark himself. Instead, there’s more leather and handcrafted woods from Australia. An earthy rust-and-coral color scheme is warm and inviting, and Aboriginal artwork adorns the walls. A large mural of Australia’s Ayers Rock, complete with cascading waterfall, transports diners to the outback. In the main dining room, a handpainted sky-blue cathedral ceiling with eucalyptus-leaf chandeliers completes the look, and seating is sumptuously comfy.

The tiered dining room, which holds 164, provides a view of the ICW from every level, and an open-air woodburning grill fills the air with wonderful aromas. Dining is available on the patio as well, where a 130-foot canopy protects seating for more than 80. Lunch is served daily from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., and dinner is available from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Sometimes such a spectacular restaurant offers only mundane food, but not here. Chefs Jeff Edwards and Greg Sandford collaborate on special dishes you’ll remember even more than the surroundings. Appetizers include seafood spring rolls and calamari. Favorite entrees include Cowboy Steak, North Atlantic salmon over mashed potatoes with corn, pea, bacon and lobster succotash, and bourbon tuna with mushroom risotto. Save room for dessert because of the Fallen Chocolate Cake, which is baked to order and served warm with vanilla ice cream, raspberry sauce and whipped cream.

Portions are generous here, and prices more reasonable than you might expect.
“We take pride in being the most affordable fine dining restaurant in all of Myrtle Beach,” says Dombrowski. You can find a tasty entrée for around $16. Service is impeccable, and the restaurant’s wine list has earned numerous awards of excellence from Wine Spectator magazine. As you walk back to your boat and motor down the waterway, you’ll almost certainly be pleased with your experience at this Aussie emporium.