I walked into the casual, wooden-floored restaurant at the Apache Family Campground Pier and was immediately greeted by a cheerful, smiling waitress. It was a good start to a good meal, one that included a fantastic late evening view of the beach and ocean. This was my first time eating at Croakers at the Pier and it certainly won’t be my last.
Croakers at the Pier is a casual, family-friendly dining experience at the beach. It’s located inside the Apache Family Campground at the northern end of Myrtle Beach, about twenty minutes from the “downtown” area near the Boardwalk. The large restaurant has three separate seating areas: two indoor with plenty of tables ranging from two-seaters to large, round tables for ten, and an outdoor patio area. The large picture windows allow diners to enjoy the view of the beach just a hundred feet away and churning ocean just beyond that.
The menu is simple, but expansive. Breakfast options include eggs cooked a variety of ways, omelets, pancakes and french toast, and biscuit sandwiches. Dinner is centered around fresh catch local seafood from nearby Shallotte, North Carolina, including catfish, shrimp, and flounder. Diners can get seafood sandwiches or baskets that include slaw and fries, or they can just enjoy an appetizer and a salad. I tried my very first shrimp burger (fried and breaded shrimp on a soft bun with lettuce, house made cocktail sauce, $9.99). I was pleasantly surprised at just how fresh the shrimp tasted and the softness of the bun (pretty sure they steamed it). I got one good mouthful of cocktail sauce that ended up making my nose burn. I asked the waitress and she said the owner, Ken Calhoun, had just realized he’d made it with a little extra kick that day. Loved it.
I visited on a late Monday evening so it was quiet inside with about a dozen diners. It was warm so the doors were open. You’re not really close enough to the ocean to hear the waves, but it was still a peaceful place to enjoy nature. A local couple who frequently eat here told me the restaurant can get crowded and noisy during the summer months as campers and guests from the nearby condos and hotels come here for dinner, but they still come because the food is that good. The prices are perfect considering this is fresh seafood (about $15-18 for a basket of flounder, shrimp, catfish, or any combination).
Additional Reading: The 9 Piers Along the Grand Strand
After dinner I took a walk along the pier. The Apache Pier boasts the record for longest wooden pier on the East Coast at a whopping 1,206′ in length. It certainly feels like the longest; by the time I reached a large, covered dance floor and stage in the middle I felt I’d already walked the length of most piers. At the end you truly feel like you’re out in the ocean. It was a nice bonus for a great meal, one I’m sure I will repeat in the future.
I think the next time I visit, I’ll come for breakfast and maybe catch the sunrise at the pier. Now that I’ve had a enjoyable shrimp burger, I want to see what kind of french toast they can make (they call it Nick Toast on the menu, so I want to know who is Nick?).