The first time I walked into Lulu’s Cafe I knew I had found something truly amazing in Myrtle Beach. Bright pink tablecloths covered the tables, a yellow and black checkerboard pattern on the floor, shiny aluminum accents on the bar, and classic 80’s rock and roll music playing softly from the speakers. Then I tried the food and I knew: this place needs to be on everyone’s list during their next Myrtle Beach vacation.
Lulu’s Cafe (1903 North Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, SC | 843-712-1890 | https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lulus-Cafe-Myrtle-Beach/151351954890017 |$5 – $10 per person) is locally-owned by Misty Pate. Juliet argued that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Although I agree that Lulu’s Cafe by any other name would taste just as sweet, there is still an interesting story behind the name.
When Misty first decided to build a restaurant, she approached a designer to craft the place she would come to know and love. He suggested names like Misty’s Diner or Meme’s Cafe. But Misty didn’t want her name a part of the restaurant title. One night she called an old childhood friend to talk about her restaurant. Her friend asked, “So what are you going to call the restaurant, Lulu?” The old childhood nickname was so good, it stuck. When she opened the doors on February 14, 2011 (her favorite holiday), Myrtle Beach was greeted with Lulu’s Cafe.
But this is more than just another locally-owned business, it’s a family business. An extended family business. Misty personally knows just about everybody who works in the restaurant since most of them live in her neighborhood. They ride to work together, most of them know each other from school or clubs, they act like a giant family. Her current manager, Sean Teylor, is someone she’s known since he was in 8th grade in the same school as her younger son. He now lives down the street from Misty in the same neighborhood, so she hired him as the day manager. Sean’s brother, Joe, works as the night manager. She enjoys keeping it “in the family” like this because she finds people work better together, trust each other a bit more, and it’s easier to ground them if they step out of line!
Lulu’s Cafe is open 24 hours a day from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and runs on shortened hours 7AM – 2PM about March – May and September – October. But during the slower winter months, she closes her doors much like other local businesses. It’s a good time for her, however, because the restaurant takes a beating with the 24 hour schedule during the peak months and needs to be repaired, repainted, and spruced up for the next year. But Misty doesn’t like leaving her chefs out of a job and seeking a kitchen at another restaurant, so they hop over to her husband’s business, The Boathouse, just a few miles away. She takes care of her employees anyway she can because that’s what you do for family.
LULU’S SERVES BREAKFAST AND LUNCH ALL DAY with a small menu packed with great choices. Misty changes 20% of the menu each year, but she only removes the items that didn’t sell well so chances are you’ll still find your favorite meal when you return the next year. The menu is divided between breakfast and lunch meals, but the names are anything but standard.
You can get The Rise and Shine (2 eggs, your choice of meat, stack of pancakes, grits, and toast), sample the Charleston Benedict (pan sauteed crab cake, poached eggs, and hollandaise on an English muffin), or try Lulu’s French Toast (warm strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries with whipped cream on 2 slices of thick sliced french toast). And that’s just for breakfast.
Everything on the menu has been created and tested by Misty. She enjoys creating new meals with her full chef’s kitchen in her house and enjoys thoroughly testing each meal. She never puts an item on the menu until she knows she has it just right, and she doesn’t hesitate to remove it the next year if it doesn’t hold up. It doesn’t matter when you walk in the door, you can get an amazing breakfast or lunch menu item at any time that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
THE DOUBLE DECKER PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY SANDWICH is perhaps their signature dish. I’ve never seen anything else like this anywhere I’ve traveled. Sure, I’ve seen PB&J sandwiches in other restaurants, but usually on the kids menu! But the sandwich Misty serves in Lulu’s is unlike anything else: three thick slices of Texas toast loaded with creamy peanut butter and sugary jelly. I’m getting hungry again.
The meal is served with fries that are thick, slightly crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and quite a bit salty. It’s the perfect balance for the sugar overload of the sandwich. The peanut butter and jelly of the sandwich are perfectly balanced so it’s not too thick or sticky and doesn’t leave you gulping water just to swallow a bite. The Texas toast is dense, thick, but soft and easy to chew. It’s not exactly something you would order for the children; this is an adult’s PB&J!
The next time you head to the beach, put Lulu’s Cafe on your must-do list. Broadway at the Beach will always be there. IHOP is exactly the same here as it is in Des Moines. But Lulu’s is unique, delicious, and fun. You’ll probably even find Misty helping people to their seats or changing the giant chalkboard menu behind the bar. Be sure to say hello because as soon as you do she’ll make you feel right at home.