Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Visit to Southport, North Carolina and Pharmacy Restaurant

Southport Map 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.

longs southport 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.

pharmacy front Southport itself, though, was the real treat. We arrived just in time for a late lunch. Our hosts suggested the Pharmacy Restaurant. Right downtown on East Moore Street.

pharmacy outside table What an introduction to Southport! There were four of us, so we didn’t sit at this inviting outside table. It was tempting, but just too small.

pharmacy tablesThe inside tables were every bit as inviting. With the limited floor space used to maximum advantage.

pharmacy mezzanine 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!

pharmacy ceiling 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.

doc watsonPharmacists 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.

pharmacy bar 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.

pharmacy angel 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!

pharmacy awards 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.

Click here for the next post in this series.

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  1. The best restaurants are ones like that with some character and history. Very interesting! Thanks for posting.

  2. Hi its really very nice i enjoyed a lot to visit..latest mobile phones