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River City Café: Home of Beefy Gourmet Burgers and More

McDonald’s has more celebrity, but River City Café has more beef.

Pound for pound, the local gourmet burger chain has burgers bigger and juicer than the international superstar of fast food.

Owned locally by the Divine Dining Group, River City Café has seven Grand Strand locations from Murrells Inlet to Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach.

River City Café is where wimpy burgers are not allowed. Here, the typical precooked beef burger weighs 7-ounces. The Angus burgers weigh 8-ounces.

To top them off, these spiffy signature sandwiches come with, well, toppings usually not gracing other burgers in the restaurant kingdom.

The S'mores Burger, for example, is topped with peanut butter, marshmallow crème and Nutella. It costs $6.99. Then, there is the burger that boasts a West Coast name but has a character that is all New Yorker – the California Burger is topped with pepperoni, a fat wedge of fried mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce. It costs $6.99.

“We get creative with our toppings,” said Darren “Flash” Leigh, director of operations for River City Café. “We want to stay on the cutting edge.”

A man of action and not just of words, Leigh is already geared up to add three new burgers to the menu, dropping three others. One of the creations, which may be named Hog Wild, is a monstrosity featuring a burger patty topped with bacon, pork barbecue, pork rinds and two grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.

This fresh-out-the-imagination showstopper giving pork props will debut before Easter.

Of course, by now, you have already figured out that River City Café isn’t for the Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig crowd. Dieters, although welcome, will only find temptation in this burger utopia.

For fairness purposes, it must be stated that there are turkey and chicken burgers on the menu, too. Shucks, even salads and one veggie burger have a presence here. Nevertheless, River City Café is unashamed to be a place of hearty indulgence.

The salads, appetizers, burgers, platters and other offerings are meant to please hungry men and women.  River City Café is where you come to treat yourself during vacations and other celebrations of everyday living.

Folks truly dig River City Café because of its food and ambience.

Family-friendly, it is a restaurant decorated with license plates and other folksy stuff to produce a fun, laid-back atmosphere.

Tin buckets of roasted peanuts are on tables for guests to enjoy as soon as they are seated. The wait staff will tell them to just toss the remnants of the peanuts, skin and shells, onto the floor.

The paper tablecloths are for artists, novices and pros alike. Markers and crayons are used to write or draw whatever children and adults’ brains dream up to put onto the paper. Plenty of people take their makeshift table toppers with them as souvenirs.

River City Café even has a full bar, which serves beer, wine, frozen drinks and other libations.

Guests of Driftwood at the Boardwalk in Myrtle Beach, which has been family-owned for almost 100 years, can appreciate a restaurant as such, Leigh said.

Although folks calling Driftwood home are a hop and a skip from the 1.2 mile Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade and the SkyWheel (the largest wheel of any type east of the Mississippi River), they won’t be disappointed if they venture a bit farther away from Driftwood to check out the place where burgers are bold.

“Folks staying at Driftwood should come check us out at River City Café because we have a Myrtle Beach restaurant location that is only five blocks away from the hotel,” Leigh said. “We are a local favorite, and when they come by to see us they will understand why. River City Café is a value. And when they leave, they will leave full. We offer food and an experience they won’t forget.”

If you go:
What: River City Café, 402 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach, S.C. 29577
When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Highlights: Gourmet burgers with fun and bizarre toppings, with prices ranging from $5.39 to $7.99. For $1.99 more, you can add fries and coleslaw to make a gourmet burger platter. Kids, 12 and under, can choose from corn dogs, hot dogs, chicken fingers, a (kid’s) burger and grilled cheese. All kids’ meals come with a choice of Doritos, fries or apples sauce. Chocolate or regular milk, along with soda and juice, are now on the kids’ beverage menu. Each kid’s entrée costs $5.49, which includes the side and drink. Packaged ice cream treats, including Klondike bars, are also now being sold at River City Café. There is a full bar, free roasted peanuts, a paper tablecloth you can draw on and more.
Information: 843-448-1990 or http://www.rivercitycafe.com/
Note: River City Café has seven Grand Strand locations. Visit the restaurant’s website to find the location nearest you.
Directions from Driftwood at the Boardwalk:  Go north on Ocean Boulevard. Turn left onto 21st Ave. North. River City Café will be on the right.

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