Papa’s Raw Bar to Open in Myrtle Beach
Longtime Lighthouse Point favorite Papa’s Raw Bar is close to securing a new location in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. If successful, Papa’s Raw Bar will move in to a new development set to go up on the oceanfront at Ocean Boulevard and 15th Avenue in April, 2018. The first floor of the building will be shared by Papa’s Raw Bar and Burger Fi, while the famous Tin Roof will occupy the entire third floor. The Bimini Room will also be traveling to Myrtle Beach, and will be on the rooftop with a full bar and lounge. Complete with a private boardwalk, Papa’s second home is just a stone’s throw away from the pier.
This will definitely be a change of pace for the president of Papa’s Raw Bar, Troy Ganter, who has always been right next door to his father’s restaurant, Seafood World. Troy believes his presence in Myrtle Beach is vital to bringing Papa’s Raw Bar’s motto, “Eat, Drink & Be Local” to the people of Myrtle Beach. To adapt to having two locations, Executive Chef and Partner Chad Wyrosdick will be taking on the role of Culinary Director for both the Lighthouse Point and Myrtle Beach locations. Troy Ganter will also be teaming up with his longtime mentor and restaurant guru Jeff Zadoff, who will be the Director of Operations in Myrtle Beach. As for the development itself, Ganter is working closely with Patrick Marino, president of Landsouth. Marino is the owner and developer of the new building and, as a Myrtle Beach native, future diners can be sure that every step of this project has the “Eat, Drink & Be Local” idea at heart.
Troy Ganter is very excited about this opportunity to be in what he believes will be “the hottest building on the beach.” Diners can expect the same Papa’s experience that Lighthouse Point residents have come to know and love. “We are bringing the Bahamas to Myrtle Beach,” said Ganter, “with the Papa’s Raw Bar concept and a touch of Papa’s famous signatures dishes from Seafood World.”
Based on Troy Ganter’s statement, it seems that the new Myrtle Beach location will bring the Ganter family’s two seafood restaurants together. It is safe to say the family legacy of the Papa’s Seafood brand, one that is over 40 years old, continues to grow more and more impressive.
How it all started
Papa Hughie and his family, the Ganters, have been in the seafood business for four decades. August marks both the 41-year anniversary of Papa Hughie’s beloved restaurant Seafood World, and Papa’s 76th Birthday. Seafood World has become a Lighthouse Point institution — a must-visit for tourists, a regular destination for locals and a hot-spot for celebrity appearances through the years (including chef Gordon Ramsay, Priscilla Presley, Steve Wynn and Muhammad Ali).
In 1976 Hugh (“Papa”) and his wife Joy Ganter opened Seafood World at a time when seafood was rarely celebrated as a culinary ingredient. Papa Hughie jokes that at the time, the only people who consumed seafood were Catholics on Fridays. “People didn’t like or know enough about seafood. It was very tough for us at first,” said Papa, who had been a pilot before running Seafood World. Papa had been transporting wholesale products, including seafood, between the Bahamian islands and the mainland, and had supplied the original restaurant where Seafood World now stands. When the original owner racked up some debt with Papa, he offered Papa the restaurant as payment. Papa was reluctant at first. “I didn’t want to do it, but we decided to stick it out. We ran it as a family with four to five tables,” recalled Papa. When his plane crashed shortly after acquiring the restaurant (which was originally called Fishtails & Seafood World), the Ganter family was left with little choice but to make the restaurant their bread and butter.
After having spent many years in the Bahamas, Papa and Joy had a clear idea of the kind of restaurant they wanted — one where guests could enjoy the freshest of seafood in a relaxed, Caribbean-esque and friendly atmosphere where recipes were simple and tasteful. They wanted the sauces and spices to enhance, not overpower, the seafood. It was this original vision that has carried the business for four decades and spawned a second family restaurant next door, Papa’s Raw Bar, which was opened by Papa and Joy’s son Troy three-and-a-half years ago. Troy’s half-brother Christopher, a local fisherman and ocean enthusiast, works to supply both restaurants with seafood, while Troy operates the front-of-the-house at the Raw Bar.
“I’m a huge foodie and I cook,” said Troy, “but I’d rather be in the front of the house. I love entertaining.”
Troy, now 37, started busing tables at Seafood World when he was just 13. He went to college and swore he wouldn’t follow in the family footsteps. Instead, he started a wholesale operation, Best Stone Crabs, supplying fish, shellfish and signature salads to restaurants locally and throughout the Caribbean. Fate, however, had another plan. When a spot opened up in the strip next to Seafood World, Troy couldn’t resist. He bought the space and turned it in to an entertainment venue, raw bar and extension of the family business. The decor is an ode to Lighthouse Point pride — T-shirts from local businesses are pinned to the ceiling, photographs of regular customers line the walls and nautical souvenirs give the bar a welcoming, festive vibe. Local bands play live music regularly, and the menu is fun, with dishes such as Papa’s Gone Hibachi, Stonies by Billy Paradise and Fast Eddie’s Fried Rice, Papa’s Raw Bar boasts sushi and hibachi “better than Benihana,” said Papa Hughie. The bar sells more than 110 beers and 65 wines, features the Bimini Room, which is quickly becoming the go-to place for parties, and maintains a family-style theater. Troy also has his eyes on the lookout for a property to open a Latin fusion location in Pompano Beach and hopes to start an “Eat, Drink & Be Local” website.