Jonathan and I both grew up visiting Myrtle Beach with our families. Almost every summer we would pack our junk in my dad’s truck and set off to spend a week playing in the sand. As adults, it has become a tradition that serves both growing families well. We’ve had summers where Jonathan and I would finish a week with one family, give hugs goodbye, then wait a few hours for the next family to arrive for another week in Myrtle. The area is seriously commercialized so it’s a bit busy for my taste, but I am certainly thankful for the sun and time with family.
My fellow clean eating friends, can I tell you how hard it is to find truly healthy restaurants in a place like Myrtle Beach? When I was diagnosed with leaky gut in 2012 my world was rocked and I struggled to figure out food, especially in a place like Myrtle where the restaurant chains run rampant and most customers are just looking for some sweet tea and fried hush puppies. After many years of testing, I’ve found my favorite clean eating spots in Myrtle. Some of these restaurants are moderately priced and some are a bit more expensive. We aren’t big spenders, but we also know quality food isn’t cheap. It is worth it to invest in quality food. These restaurants certainly aren’t perfect, but will hopefully offer you some better choices for your trip.
This is a health food store and cafe. I visit this place easily 3 times a week. My grocery cart gets filled with my favorite brands of kombucha, cassava chips, and sauerkraut. I know If I run out of sunscreen they will have a safe bottle for my family. The produce here is limited, but in the same shopping center are two other stores to handle all your produce needs.
By far my favorite thing about Bay Naturals is the cafe. They have a huge menu with vegan, gluten free, paleo, whole 30, and other clean eating options! I always order extra helpings and use it for other meals in the week. The first day we arrived I ordered a turkey burger in a lettuce wrap without mayo. I added avocado which made it a filling meal after a long travel day. It came with a side of beet and apple slaw that was fresh and full of flavor.
Taco Tuesday at Bay Naturals is my favorite! It is served with a Seite cassava and almond flour wrap. This product is delicious and grain free, however I usually order mine as a salad because I need to limit my intake of nuts. This taco special has a vegan version, but I go for the ground turkey which is amazingly full of flavor and isn’t dried out like some ground turkey. The fresh salsa is a perfect dressing, but I add a bit of avocado oil for a bit more moisture.
A morning favorite of mine is the acai bowl at Bay Naturals. It feels amazing to wake up, get a workout done, then pop over to Bay Naturals. These bowls are packed with good things and always give me a much needed reset.
Jonathan and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary while on vacation in Myrtle. Jerusalem was a great find. Not only was the food incredible, the atmosphere held a special magic. One side of the restaurant is pretty standard, but the other side transports you to the middle east with booths covered in jewel toned cushions, multicolored lanterns, and belly dancers. Mediterranean food is almost always a safe choice for me, but Jerusalem takes it to another level. This is much better than your typical compressed lamb and beef hybrid you find in Gyro meat. Jerusalem has a high standard for ingredients using fresh local produce, and spices imported from the middle east. This commitment to excellence shines through in the flavors. We ordered the greek salad without feta and asked them to add ground lamb on top. A bed of greens was layered with veggies and lamb on top of a vinaigrette with freshly ground herbs. The plates were double the size I expected which is a huge deal for Jonathan who is ALWAYS hungry.
Being the tea addict that I am, I ordered the Moroccan Mint tea. This is not your average tea experience. When the tea pot was delivered to our table, I expected a genie to pop out with my three wishes. It was breathtaking! Instead, I looked in the pot and found a black tea bag with fresh mint leaves. The flavor was bright and welcoming, warming me from the inside, just as a good cup of tea should.
This buffet isn’t necessarily a clean eating restaurant, since it is filled with foods I could never eat. If you find yourself easily tempted, stay away. However, it is a great place for the whole family, and Jonathan I go for one reason, crab! Not everyone in our family wants to eat like us. This place offers all the hush puppies and peach pie our family could want. Ignoring these allergens, Jonathan and I go for the piles of unlimited crab legs. We do not eat crab all the time because it is a bottom feeder animal. However, we do treat ourselves once a year, and we do it right! Walking past the mac n cheese is easy for me when I know I’m about to put away 30 or more claws. As my father in law taught me, ignore the fillers and eat the expensive stuff! Since quality crab is so expensive, this buffet is a good way to get our money’s worth. We eat the crab fresh without butter because we don’t eat dairy and because the crab is delicious on it’s own. Crabby Mikes has delicious prime rib Jonathan and I both enjoy, but I mostly stick to crab. We always end the night with strawberries as dessert. I have been to many seafood buffets over the years. Truly, nobody does it better than Crabby Mikes.
Burgerfi is another restaurant that isn’t perfect, but it does have some good options. I love the commitment to 100% beef, free of hormones, steroids, and antibiotics. They also have chicken and plant based burgers. It’s one of those easy places where it doesn’t matter if your kids are loud and make a mess. We each order a burger with a lettuce wrap, grilled onions, bacon, and tomato. Jonathan loves the fries but I usually skip them. I have to be careful about the cross contamination from grains and too many carbs. While I do wish my meal was heavier on the plants and lighter on the beef, this is still a quick and inexpensive meal option that keeps us crushing our food goals.
Leave us a comment if you try any of these places. We’d love to hear about your favorite orders! If you find new restaurants you enjoy, please share them with our clean eating tribe! We hope to find more healthy food choices in Myrtle Beach.