Sam’s Corner at Garden City Beach

One of my favorite beaches in this area is Garden City Beach, just south of Myrtle Beach. Sam’s Corner is a landmark on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Waccamaw Drive. They are said to be famous for their foot-long hotdogs. However, out of all my years visiting the area (since the 1980’s) and living here (since 2000) I’ve never ventured inside.

On a sunny summer Saturday, Kelly and I set up our beach chairs in Garden City and basked in the sun.  As lunch approached, we walked up the beach towards the Garden City Pier and decided to stroll down the pier.  Fishermen were reeling in small fish and there were fish cleaning stations along the rails.  It definitely seemed like a fisherman’s hot spot.  At the end of the pier was a small open-air restaurant with a sign over it that stated that no one under 21 was admitted after 11pm.  There was a stage and it looked like a place we would have to visit in the evening hours.  We walked back and entered the arcade on the pier.  They served ice cream and snack food, including hotdogs.  However we were set on sampling the famous foot-long hot dog at Sam’s Corner, just across the street.

We joined the line of people standing outside of Sam’s Corner and noted that the line seemed to move fairly quickly. Once inside we saw many black and white photographs hanging on the walls documenting some area history and an over-abundance of signs that looked like they had been there since the 1960’s claiming that they were famous for their burgers too!  And all-day happy hours.  And more! Kelly and I decided to stick with their classic foot-long hotdog, some fries, and hand-made milkshakes. We placed our order with a woman behind a huge gold cash register and were given a number.  We made our way down to the other end of the counter and were lucky to find two empty stools in a standing-only hungry crowd.  As we waited for our food we enjoyed the bustle of this diner-style eatery: the short-order cooks were frying french fries and grilling hotdogs and hamburgers behind the counter, shouting out numbers and passing food to customer after customer on paper plates; diners were in their bathing suits and flip-flops, sun-kissed, and hungry.

Our milkshakes came out first, made with real ice cream, poured into tall glasses, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. They were thick and creamy and absolutely delicious and refreshing after hours of sun on the beach. We were almost finished with our milkshakes by the time our food came – I’ll have to admit the pace of the cooks seemed a little slow for typical diner action during the lunch hour – not a lot of hustle.  When our foot-long hotdogs did arrive, they seemed smaller than I imagined a foot-long hotdog to be.  Or maybe just skinnier than I imagined a world-famous hotdog to be.  We had ordered them just as they were supposed to come: topped with chili and onions.  But a hotdog remains a hotdog.  When we finished we left our tray and glasses on the counter, commenting to each other that we would have to come back for another milkshake.

Cost: Two foot-long hot dogs, a side of fries, and two milkshakes for just over $19