Guests at Long Bay Resort, Myrtle Beach already have an impressive list of dining options to choose from. In addition to the Martin's Restaurant, the Oceanfront Cafe, Starbucks and River City Cafe on or adjoining the resort property, there are several options within walking distance.
There's American (Liberty Tap Room & Steakhouse), Mexican (Fiesta Mexicana), European (Lombardo's), Seafood (Flamingo Grill), Artsy (Collector's Cafe) and even a Gastropub (Fire & Smoke). The only thing missing from the lineup is a local Italian cafe … until now.
There's a new Italian restaurant in the neighborhood, and guests are already discovering the unique flavor of this upscale bistro with a trendy bar to match. Located in the Ocean Forest section of Myrtle Beach, about 10 blocks south of Long Bay on Kings Highway, Crave is short for the establishment's more formal title – Crave the Pie Italian Oven and Bar.
That's a mouthful of a name, but one that accurately highlights the things that make this eatery one of a kind. “The Pie” refers to Crave's signature dish, but this isn't your Momma's pizza. More like Mama Mia's Old World-style pies that you find at any other pizzeria in town.
What makes it so special? That brings us to the “Italian Oven” part of the title, and it's a real treat. The centerpiece of the open-air kitchen is the wood-fired oven, affectionately known as “Eleanor” to the kitchen staff. It even says so right there on the oven as her name is spelled out in tile. Named for one of the co-owner's mothers, Eleanor makes pizza magic.
Featuring a marble slab that gives Crave's pies a distinct crispy crunch without the charred crust of brick oven pizzerias, Eleanor was shipped in from Europe to bring authentic Italian pie to Myrtle Beach. She is said to be the only one of her kind on the East Coast.
Specialty pizzas include the Chicken Parmigiana, Margherita, Roasted Vegetables, Insalata and Wild Mushrooms. Or tap into your creative side and make your own Crave Special, with housemade sausage and meatballs, bacon, eggplant, spinach, anchovies, sweet onions and fresh garlic among your choices.
But Crave has a lot more to offer than pizza, beginning with soups, salads and small plates that make great appetizers for taste sharing. The Mozzarella Caprese, Prince Edward Island Mussels, Stuffed Portabella Mushroom, Calamari Fritti, Crisp Arancini and Fresh Cerviche are among the more popular items.
Main courses include the Flat Iron Steak Pizzaiola, Pork Osso Bucca, Chicken and Eggplant Sorrentino, and Veal Saltimbocca are house favorites. Seafood dishes feature the Shrimp Jillanne, Grouper Franchese and Zuppo de Pesce, as well as Fresh Catch of the Day specials. Pasta classics are plentiful, with Lasagna, Lobster Ravioli and Papa Anthony's Platter drawing rave reviews from Italian lovers. Be sure to save room for the cannoli or tira misu.
Also attracting a crowd are the extensive wine list and the elegant bar area, which hosts one of the best happy hours in town. Serving $3 bottled beers, $4 house liquor drinks, and $5 craft beers and house wines, Crave also offers a variety of specialty drinks, like the Little Italy Sangria, Italian Lemonade and Blueberry Daiquiri. Crave serves a discounted food menu from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays, including more pedestrian items like pizzas, burgers, wings and meatball sliders as well as more refined cuisine, such as Potatoes Croquettes, Lobster Ravioli and Mozzarella Caprese.
Crave is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. The atmosphere is warm and friendly and the menu is moderately priced for fine dining. Reservations are accepted but not required, but this place can fill up fast during peak dining hours. For more information, visit www.cravethepie.com.