LITTLE RIVER, SC (WMBF) - If you're looking for a new restaurant that will knock your socks off with it's presentation, then this next place might just be what you're looking for. The Brentwood Restaurant has even caught the attention of a nationwide TV show, but not for its food.
Eric Masson, the owner of Brentwood Restaurant, recalls a night he'll never forget: "It was like equipment starting by itself and voices and things moving. Sometimes it's difficult to deny the obvious. I don't really have an explanation."
Rumor has it "the living" aren't the only ones who walk the halls of the Brentwood Restaurant these days. Built in 1910 by Essie and Clarence McCorsley, the Victorian-style house morphed from personal estate to bed and breakfast, and now a fine dining restaurant.
Even a true skeptic like owner and Chef Eric Masson can't deny what he's seen and heard during his late nights there. "There's just things happening that we really can't explain. Some of our employees, for example, are using it so if something disappears, 'oh it must be the ghost,'" says Eric sarcastically.
A local paranormal group called the PIT Crew spent the night and captured their experiences on camera: a moving dumb waiter without anyone touching it, images caught in the reflection of a painting, and the same black blur that others have claimed to have seen over the years. "This is the most activity I've ever had on an investigation," one group member says.
Eric and his wife Kim have had their fair share of first-hand encounters with the spirits as well.
"My daughter was looking at the security cameras and saw a small child who was following me around," owner Kim Masson recalls. "She comes downstairs and she says 'Can I play with that little boy?' and I'm like 'There's no little boys here.' And she said 'No mommy, he was standing right next to you' and I'm like 'Ooooo.'"
Kim even downloaded a cell phone app that has a built in EVP or "electronic voice phenomenon," a common tool used by ghost hunters to record paranormal sound.
Despite her skepticism, she saved the recording of something she says simply can't be a coincidence. "Take it with a grain of salt, but I did ask it one question: 'who is here?' and it said 'Clarence,' which is the original owners name who built the house," she says.
With story after story, the Massons, their employees and even some regulars are convinced they aren't alone within these walls. "For me, the feeling is almost like someone watching over us. Almost like a protection, but never, I've never felt threatened," explains Kim.
Eric goes on, "I now have an agreement with the ghost. The agreement is he leaves me alone and I leave him alone, and for the last few months, it's working pretty good."
And while a chance at a paranormal experience is enough to draw in the crowds, The Massons say there's much more to the Brentwood than the ghost stories.
Just imagine the food known and loved in the South, mixed with the French roots of Chef Eric and Viola, a tantalizing treat for your taste buds. "Its true that growing up in France you are exposed some fantastic food," says Eric.
Inspired to pick up his whisk by his grandmother, Eric's passion for food ripened when he attended a prestigious French culinary school. For him, the kitchen is his canvas, and food is how he expresses himself. "My background is classical French cuisine," he explains. "I use local ingredients. We do have some access to some fantastic fish and seafood either from Murrells Inlet or Oak Island. I apply French techniques and put it all together!"
Buying and growing local is a priority for the Massons as well. Eric gave us a tour of their greenhouse, that holds every herb they cook and garnish with. "These are pansies," he says during a tour of the greenhouse. "They are edible flowers and they use them to decorate the dishes."
And then there's the garden, where asparagus, snow peas and carrots are already sprouting.