Myrtle Beach Restaurants Target a Wealthier Clientele

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Bargain hunters doomed to frustration - hot resorts nationwide "Going Gourmet".

As budget hotels give way to luxury condo resorts in Myrtle Beach, pricey themed restaurants are becoming the new trend in the Grand Strand. The upscale chains like Bonefish Grill, Carrabbas, and 5 star steak-houses such as "New York Prime" are nudging out the small local hideaways.

Nationwide, the wealthy baby boomers are changing the landscape and the typical vacationer in the major resort areas looks for the gourmet dining experience instead of country buffets, fast food, and inexpensive family diners. High-end fresh seafood and steaks, grilled and prepared with unique sauces and salads, make restaurants like "Bonefish Grill" fill to capacity nearly 7 days a week. Italian classics with only the best ingredients pile hungry diners into "Carrabbas" and "Olive Garden", while the smaller places find it hard to compete.

With the many new Myrtle Beach condos causing an increase in lodging prices, there are concerns about the area becoming less of a family beach and catering to the affluent, such as the towns like Sarasota and South Beach have done. Retirees and large families on a budget are likely to find a week at the beach more costly than ever.

A typical meal at any of these Myrtle Beach restaurants can run anywhere from $20 to $30 a person. A family group will end up with a bill equal to a night's stay in the budget hotels in Myrtle Beach just a few years ago.

Locally, luxury resort sales show few signs of a slow-down. Indeed, this month, CNN Money predicted home prices in Myrtle Beach to increase more than 7% in 2006.

David O'Connell of New, the area preconstruction marketing expert, maintains that Myrtle Beach condo sales are as strong as ever, and expects this year's numbers to exceed 2005.

Joe Russo, a broker with Exit Grand Strand Realty says states, "In 2005, Myrtle Beach, Orlando, and Naples, FL were touted as the three top areas for income producing real estate. When you consider the lifestyle diversity offered by the many coastal towns on the Grand Strand; it's no wonder that real estate values have increased substantially. With no end in sight, Myrtle Beach real estate is still an excellent investment."

A native of New York and Connecticut, Joe says that the restaurant business has always been fiercely competitive in the northeast, but never as fierce as today.

"The New York metropolitan location is a prime example," he adds. "This area is so ethnically diverse that you can find restaurants offering gourmet delights from all four corners of the earth. With excellent food being the norm rather than the exception, restaurateurs have begun to emphasize amenities such as alfresco dining, theme decor, and enhanced atmosphere, all of which increases the real estate value of their establishments. In addition, baby boomers are now reaching retirement age and often relocating to resort areas. They bring their taste for high quality cuisine with them. Restaurant owners in Myrtle Beach are now facing fierce competition."

Diann Tonnesen, top Las Vegas Prudential real estate broker agrees.

"Out west the rush is on to lure the biggest names in the restaurant industry to staff the elaborate and lavish Las Vegas high rise condo restaurants being built. Last year more restaurants opened in Nevada than in any other American state."

"The booming Las Vegas real estate industry has created an insatiable demand for high end eateries as the "Strip" transitions away from all-you-can-eat buffets to elegant gourmet dining. Currently Las Vegas is home to five of the eight James Beard award winning chefs. A search for Las Vegas restaurants on the Internet shows over 19,000,000 results."

Over in the far west out in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii tourism brings the same results. Jeff Manson of American Dream Realty on Oahu, reports,

"According to Pacific Business News, February arrivals are up 2.5%, and Honolulu arrivals are up 6.3% compared to 2005. The Hawaii hotels have been averaging around 80% - 85% occupancy this year. This boom in domestic travel is fueling a hot Hawaii real estate market as well."

"The Oahu Luxury real estate homes have been selling at a record rate, increasing the demand for fine dining. Restaurants such as Roy's, Alan Wongs, and Hoku's at the Kahala Maderine Hotel maintain full reservation lists. There are 3,800 restaurants in Hawaii, and 14% of the states employment is in 50,000 restaurant jobs.

Annette Smith of RE/MAX Properties in Sarasota Florida adds, "The booming luxury Sarasota real estate market has created new gourmet restaurants in the city and along the waterfront. Sarasota has long been known for its culture, shopping and upscale cuisine. Complimenting the waterfront dining venues, a new downtown Sarasota condo market has created a more cosmopolitan atmosphere in our city. After attending an Asolo or Van Wezel performance, hotel guests and performers drift over to the Hyatt Hotel's Boathouse Restaurant which offers a late night fare. Also, Sarasota's first downtown Starbucks is bustling with tourists and residents alike. "

As the baby boomers proceed to take over the economy, their pursuit of plush surroundings and a trendy atmosphere will continue to affect entertainment and dining venues.

The king of all baby boomers, Donald Trump, expresses it well when quoted as saying,

"I wasn't satisfied just to earn a good living. I was looking to make a statement."

We're a hedonistic generation, that's a fact.

Myrtle Beach Web Design handles Internet marketing for several area real estate agencies and vacation rental companies, as well as providing search engine and marketing assistance for a network of friends and clients in the real estate field all over the US.

For real estate information in these resort areas, contact the below contributors:

David O'Connell


North Myrtle Beach, SC


Diann and Glen Tonnesen

Prudential Americana Realtors

Henderson, Nevada


Joe Russo

Exit Realty

Garden City Beach, SC


Jeff Manson

American Dream Realty

Kailua, HI


Annette Ashley Smith

Re/Max Properties

Sarasota, FL


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