Twinkling lights over green shrubbery beckon drivers from U.S. 17 in Pawleys Island, a good first impression for those not familiar with the beloved Frank’s Restaurant.
Newcomers will be excited to discover that this fine dining establishment doesn’t limit itself to one experience. Instead, Frank’s offers guests a choice: lovely inside seating for a quiet evening in Frank’s Restaurant, or a more casual and friendly occasion in Frank’s Outback.
What was originally Marlow’s Supermarket became Frank’s Restaurant in 1988 after the building’s owner, Frank Marlow, retired. It only took four years for this popular place to expand and incorporate the building behind them, and in 1992 Frank’s Outback was opened.
Inside Frank’s Restaurant, the atmosphere is subdued but welcoming, an ideal atmosphere for a more intimate meal. Outback shakes things up with live music serenading the outdoor seating and multiple full bars. There is an additional area of indoor seating available by passing through the open kitchen. The two menus share a few dishes but for the most part remain separate identities, just like the restaurants.
Starters and appetizers introduce many Southern favorites that have a ritzy twist, like fried okra served with roasted red pepper aioli. Frank’s house made pimento cheese is also a popular option that comes alongside wonton crisps.
Small plates and salads are a good option for those in possession of a petite appetite and are available in both dining locations. A few differences occur here, although the excellent shrimp and grits show up on both menus. This small but deliciously filling plate comes with local shrimp and andouille sausage and grits stewed in Tasso cream then ladled on top of fried green tomatoes.
Entrees and the chophouse menu share the most similarities, with tantalizing options such as lamb racks, cornmeal encrusted grouper, and even duck. For those dining in the Outback, wood-fired pizza is available on thin and crispy crusts topped with fresh ingredients.
The service remains impeccable no matter where guests decide to eat, and the friendly wait staff is attentive without being invasive. It quickly becomes obvious that the entire team is used to busy evenings with both sides functioning smoothly, quickly, and even cheerfully.
Reservations are not required, but even during this cold season they are certainly recommended.
Frank’s is a bit too upscale to be defined as a local watering hole, yet many regulars are greeted by name, particularly at the outdoor bars which host happy hour until 7 p.m. Whether dining on the inside or out back, guests of Frank’s are sure to find their perfect evening.
If You Eat
What | Frank’s Restaurant and Outback
Where | 10434 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island
Hours | 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Information | franksandoutback.com, 843-237-3030