MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Take a drive down south and you may see something fishy is happening in Murrells Inlet, and it's getting a taste of up north.
A new restaurant is moving in along the MarshWalk between Wicked Tuna and Dead Dog Saloon called The Claw House.
The new lobster house will be the first of its kind in the area. Not only will it mimic New England style lobster houses found in the northeast, but the actual lobster will come from there.
The restaurant owners, who also own Dead Dog Saloon, will make twice-weekly-trips to Boston to pick up fresh lobster. This will help keep the cost of the food down.
Managing Partner Peter Haentjens said we can expect more surprises in the restaurant when it opens, by the beginning of March, but he wouldn't leak exactly what.
According to Renee Williamson, this new "catch" for the inlet will add a unique value, and economic growth to the Grand Strand. This is part of the mission of the revitalization group, Murrells Inlet 2020, that Williamson spearheads.
Paralleled with growth, is safety, which was a hot topic community members mentioned in recent surveys by the organization.
"As we do grow, people want the growth, but they want us to be safe as well," Williamson said.
The restaurant is making sure it adds more parking with the new location. It will be reconfiguring overflow lots, across the street to Dead Dog Saloon, adding 40 additional spaces, totaling to more than 200 parking spots for the two restaurants.
Part of a strategic plan in the works by Murrells Inlet 2020 is to improve US-17 Business, which is the road all these restaurants sit on.
"The main issue is this is a federal highway, this is not a county road," Williamson said. "We cannot have flashing lights or crosswalks at all, that would have to be taken over by the county, and the county is not really up for taking that road over."
Murrells inlet 2020 is trying to get SCDOT to reduce the speed limit here to 25 miles per hour.
Slowing down drivers, but speeding up the growth, is what Murrells Inlet has and will continue to see.
"Murrells Inlet has really become a destination point for the entire Grand Strand," Haentjens said.
The Claw House will hire 80 to 100 people, making the MarshWalk restaurants combined one of the largest employers in Georgetown County.
All of this, Haentjens hinted at, may be part of a ripple effect for new business.
"The growth has been extraordinary, in the last five years or so we've seen 100 percent increase in our total customers that we have," Haentjens said. "I really think there's room for another restaurant, maybe even two."