When vacationing in Myrtle Beach, a seafood dinner is a must. Luckily, there is a multitude of restaurants that specialize in the area, and with so many options its no wonder vacationers are always asking which one is best. There are few restaurants that come to mind as standouts, but topping the list is The Original Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood.
Tourists tend to question why so many seafood restaurants along the Grand Strand employ the name Calabash, and the answer to that is rather simple. Approximately 30 miles from Myrtle Beach, just across the State line in North Carolina, lies a tiny fishing town called Calabash. With fresh catches coming in every day, the area became known for its seafood and, in particular, the way the locals prepared it – lightly breaded in a flour and cornmeal dip, and then deep fried. The town was dubbed “The Seafood Capital of the World” and their preferred cooking method became known as Calabash style.
There was a time when Myrtle Beach tourists would make the trek to Calabash for such a seafood meal. But as Myrtle Beach gained popularity, the need for Calabash-style restaurants grew obvious for the vacation hot spot. A long stretch of road in North Myrtle Beach soon became known as Restaurant Row after several steakhouses and seafood restaurants were established there. The Original Benjamin’s has been among them since 1988, with a second location approximately 10 miles south, toward Surfside Beach.
Now considered a landmark in the area, The Original Benjamin’s serves up an award-winning, 170-item buffet of fresh and local seafood. Shrimp is available unpeeled or battered, and the deviled crab is to die for. But if you aren’t a big fan of seafood, deep fried or otherwise, rest assured that there are plenty of other selections to choose from, including pasta, salads, and steaks. There is also a carving station for roast beef. But of all the dishes on the buffet, by far the most popular is crab legs with melted butter. And if you somehow you manage to save room for dessert, there’s plenty of that as well.
Typically, Benjamin’s is crowded very soon after it opens, but don’t be deterred. The restaurant is huge inside, with 11 dining areas containing a total of 1000 seats, so line-ups move quickly. Not to mention that the food and ambiance are worth the wait. There’s no shortage of nautical decor to admire so use your wait time to look around at model ships, antique diving suits, shark jaws, and taxidermied prized game fish.
Locals have come to refer to the Original Captain Benjamin’s as the ‘Best on the Beach‘. We tend to agree!