Story and photo
by Becky Billingsley
Bobby Lance has worked in local restaurants for 30 years, starting at age 14 at the Back Porch restaurant. First he washed dishes, then the teen graduated to cooking. In less than a year he graduated to the grill.
Lance stayed at the Back Porch for four years, but after high school he moved on to learn from more chefs. His workplace experiences include Capt. Dave's Dockside, Nance's, The Navigator, the River Club, Frank's Restaurant, Louis's at Pawleys, Hanser House, Spring House Family Restaurant and the Anchor Inn, and often he was working two jobs at a time with morning and evening shifts.
While at Dave's Dockside, Lance worked with a general manager named Steven Howell. A few years later they hooked up again as GM and Executive Chef at Shabby's in Pawleys Island. That time the team worked together for seven years.
Now the duo are in the harness again - Lance as executive chef to Howell's general manager position.
Lance and his wife, Nellie Marie, have been married 24 years and they have a 20-year-old daughter, Ashley, who just finished her sophomore year at Benedict College as a computer science major. On Lance's day off, Sundays, he "has a lot of church duties" at St. John's AME in Pawleys Island.
"It's been a good ride, been a blessing," Lance says about his career. "I take it as a privilege and an honor to prepare food for people and take a lot of pride in it."
Land's End closed in November 2009 and has been reopened under new management for a few weeks.
Dining room floors were refinished to a glossy silken shine, and walls have been repainted in a rich and handsome aquamarine. Head-high beadboard wainscoting and ceilings are stained a deep auburn, and the rooms are airy with vastly tall ceilings.
The most noticeable decor feature is the gazillion-dollar view of the marina and Winyah Bay which is whole-heartedly on display through giant windows. The new feature diners don't see is that the kitchen was gutted and totally refurbished.
Black captain's chairs, black paper napkins and blonde rough-weave tablecloths complete the sleekly casual ambiance.
The staff is extremely friendly - I've never seen so many huge and genuine smiles in one restaurant.
What's to eat
Lunch and dinner menus have a little something for everyone, from soups, salads and sandwiches to seafood platters, chicken and steaks.
Our party of three had lunch and ordered appetizers of Onion Rings and Oysters Rockefeller.
The Onion Rings were the best I've ever tasted with light and delicately crispy breading coating extra-sweet onions. They're served with Ranch dressing for dipping. Land's End uses different breadings for each of their many fried dishes.
Oysters Rockefeller are cooked so the oysters are semi-firm - not raw and not cooked through - so that there's still plenty of jiggle in them. The oysters were generously sauced with Hollandaise; I'd like to see a little more spinach and bacon and a little less sauce.
For our entrees my friends both picked salads - the Tuna Laguna with fresh cold tuna salad on greens that's served with fresh fruit; and the Big Kahuna with cold chicken salad. Both women enjoyed their selections.
I had a Tuna Melt which is supposed to come with pepper jack cheese, but it came with American cheese. I asked for the correct cheese, and it was brought back with colby cheese. Later a manager told me the restaurant had a big party that day and they ran out of pepper jack.
Since they've reopened Land's End has been extremely busy with parties, catering jobs and other special events, plus the dining room stays hopping with plenty of guests.
Those folks might be enjoying Seafood Platters, Shrimp and Grits, Shrimp Salad, She-Crab Soup or house-made sharp Pimento Cheese on grilled Texas toast.
For dinner the choices include Pecan Encrusted Chicken Tenders served with sw eet potato puree; Lobster Cocktail; and Alaskan King Crab Legs. Bubba Gump would be ecstatic with choices of sweet local Creek Shrimp, Fantail Shrimp, Blackened Shrimp, Shrimp Creole and Shrimp Scampi.
But seafood is just part of the menu. A house specialty is Slow-Roasted Prime Rib served with horseradish sauce and jus, and other meat entrees are Ribeye, Filet Mignon, Pork Chop, Smothered Chicken and Baby Back Ribs. Land's End also has pasta such as Land and Sea Pasta where steak, scallops and creek shrimp are tossed with noodles in creamy seafood sauce.
A dessert that's made in-house is Key Lime Pie, and it is the condensed milk custard-like version with a medium-thick graham cracker crust.
Where: 444 Marina Dr., Georgetown
Noise Level: The space is large enough to absorb a lot of noise, but not so big that noise echoes. It's just big enough to handle crowds without seeming crowded.
Vegetarian Options: Salad, Onions Rings, Hushpuppies, Quesadilla, Pimento Cheese Sandwich, Baked White or Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato Fries, Side Vegetables.
Smoking: Not allowed.
Hours: Daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Prices: Appetizers are $6-$12, sandwiches $6-$10, dinner entrees $14-$30. Six light fare entrees are $13-$14.
Check for Two: A lunch with one appetizer, two sandwiches and one dessert will run about $40. For dinner, if you add couple of adult beverages and substitute entrees for sandwiches the price will be about $60.
Get your smooth on
Tracy Littlejohn at Upper Crust is now serving fruit smoothies.
The refreshing drinks contain bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and orange juice and cost $3.59.
Another new offering is Stuffed Pretzels containing pizza, jalapenos and cheese.
Upper Crust is at 816 Front St., and the number is 546-0300.
New name, same menu
811 Steak & Pasta at 9674 Ocean Highway in Pawleys Island is getting a new name that has not yet been determined.
Restaurant General Manager, Jeff George, said new investors from New Jersey is the reason for the switch, but the menu and staff will remain the same.
The number is 235-9400.
Coffee Break Cafe at 716 Front St. in Georgetown switches up its soups each week, and the addition of She-Crab Soup has been so popular that proprietor Meghan Rader has had to keep it in the lineup for three weeks in a row.
A 12-ounce mug is $6, or half a sandwich and a cup of soup is $8. The number is 546-7202.
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