Po'Boys, Rich View:
River City Café in Surfside Beach

By Patricia B. Mitchell, 2005.

River City Cafe

The beachy vista from River City Café in Surfside Beach.

On our last day at the beach, we went “exploring” south of Myrtle Beach to once again see Pawleys Island, Murrell's Inlet, Garden City, and Surfside Beach. We had restaurant recommendations for all four locales, but due to the fact that it was off-season, lots of places were closed. By a fluke (and our sons' votes) we ended up at River City Café at Surfside Beach (11 North Seaside Drive; see map). — We are River City Café fans, but we had eaten at one of them only two days earlier.

Henry, my husband, and I determined to not order burgers, for the sake of variety (and because of my food-writing objectives). In this case, that was a poor decision. The best thing about the eight-inch Oyster Po'Boy ($7.95) which we shared was the excellent cocktail sauce served with it. The sandwich was mediocre. It was accompanied with lots of fries and slightly over-mayonnaised coleslaw.

Having said all that, I will surprise you, perhaps, by saying that the overall dining experience was positive. Despite the so-so main course, the lagniappe peanuts were superb, and the ocean view absolutely magnificent! What an amazing, incomparable, prime oceanfront piece of real estate for a “burger joint.” (I somehow didn't catch on to the fact, until after I no longer had “low blood sugar,” that on the floor above our eatery was another Divine family restaurant, the Caribbean-themed Latitude 22°, which also obviously has a great view. — Had I realized, before we ate, that that restaurant was literally only steps away, I might have pushed for trying it, rather than the good ol' River City Café.)

River City Cafe

Homemade Texas Chili.

Anyhow, back to our meal: Sarah ordered a serving of Homemade (no-bean) Texas Chili with cheese and (raw) onions for $3.70. As the menu promised, it was “mildly hot.” She added Texas Pete hot sauce and crumbled saltines. It contained, besides the meat and sauce, small, peeled whole tomatoes. The cheese on top was slightly dried out. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable.

Jonathan chose the Tex-Mex Cheeseburger, which approached the “wildly hot” category. It was topped with plenty of sliced jalapenos, chili, and cheddar cheese. It was messy to eat, but mucho tasty, earning it a “B” in Jonathan's grade book. Served with fries and slaw it cost $7.00. (Had we thought ahead, we could have brought River City Café coupons from one of the tourist magazines in order to get a discount on the burger platter.)

David got the Ultimate Pizza Burger, which has marinara sauce, mushrooms, and Swiss cheese. It was a top-notch concoction for $5.05.

In addition to the fact that the kids enjoyed the food, and the view of the surf was postcard perfect, one more good thing happened at the restaurant. I overheard the man at the next table request a slice of lime with his Diet Coke. That's an idea I can use, and share.

River City Cafe

Tex-Mex Cheeseburger.

River City Cafe

Oyster Po'Boy.

River City Cafe

Ultimate Pizza Burger.

River City Cafe

River City Café and Latitude 22° occupy the building in the center of the photo.