We’re in Longs, South Carolina, for a few days visiting old friends from USC. The little town of Longs, marked on the map above, is just a few miles northwest of North Myrtle Beach. Which, as you might suspect, is north of Myrtle Beach. And quite a different place.
Yesterday our hosts suggested we visit Southport, North Carolina. Great idea. The drive of about 55 miles took us about an hour and twenty minutes. No photos, unfortunately. But all of the way up and back we drove through miles of interesting natural and social scenery.
The owners have resisted the natural temptation to cram more tables into a small space. Instead they created this additional mezzanine seating area. That also can be arranged to seat larger groups. Neat!
Now, notice this ceiling. It’s the original embossed tin ceiling to which pharmacist Doc Watson must have raised his eyes when asked for the umpteenth time if he had Prince Albert in a can. No reproduction! Back when it was known as Watson’s Pharmacy. For over fifty years.
Pharmacists in the South often were called “Doctor” or “Doc” as an honorary title of respect. But Doc Watson, in fact, was the real thing. He had a medical degree, and just happened to be Southport’s pharmacist. He also served as secretary-treasurer and managing officer of the Southport Building and Loan Association from its formation in 1911 to 1933. Later to become the Security Savings Bank. Click on the link above to learn more about him and his role in the development of the bank.
Doc Watson was said to have maintained the Association’s records and receipts in a cigar box kept under the pharmacy counter. Which now serves as the restaurant’s bar! He sounds like a real character.
The combination of subtle, and not-so-subtle, decorative touches throughout this restaurant combine to create a wonderfully relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. I’ve learned to be suspicious of moderately priced restaurants that look too good. It often means their reputation is based upon the appearance and atmosphere of their dining room rather than on the quality of their food.
That concern proved unnecessary at the Pharmacy. Prices are reasonable. Not cheap. But certainly not expensive. And the food. Well! I had a delicious “Chorizo Sausage,” described as “a mildly hot Spanish sausage ….” On French bread topped with melted mozzarella and marinara sauce. It was excellent.
But the real star of the meal was the soup. Soup??? Yes, the Soup! Roasted carrot and parsnip, if memory serves. The best soup I’ve ever tasted. At home or in a restaurant. Incredible! And I’m something of a soup fanatic. This soup would have driven Seinfeld’s celebrated neighborhood soup specialist out of business!
We were all just too full to order dessert. But the soup alone justifies the awards and framed reviews hung discreetly in a back hall. Thanks, Dan and Kelli Menna, for a terrific meal. I look forward to my next visit, and hope you still have that roasted carrot and parsnip soup on the menu.
Time to see more of Southport, North Carolina. We left the Pharmacy restaurant smiling and walked toward the beach. Stay tuned for more of Southport in the next post.