A new, locally-owned, fine dining restaurant in the Grande Dunes neighborhood wants to bring French artistry to Myrtle Beach’s food scene.
Sound a little niche? The Abundance restaurant doesn’t intend to appeal to every tourist who crosses into the Grand Strand. Instead, owner William Tyson hopes to connect with the growing crowd of retirees, golfers and wealthy business people settling in or visiting town.
In particular, he wants to offer the kind of high-quality dining experience that many people might be acquainted with in northeastern cities like New York and Boston.
With so many people moving to the Grand Strand from the New England area, which was already a longtime source of tourists, Tyson said he believes he could be reaching into an untapped well of potential business.
The restaurant is Tyson’s first venture for his new company, Artisan Dining Concepts, which will eventually expand from fine dining to include “culinary delight” inside of art galleries.
Abundance opened for business April 28 after a month’s worth of renovations to the space. It’s located on the south end of the shopping centered around the US Foods CHEF’STORE. Tyson said he struggled at first to find the right location for the restaurant but by chance found out about the closing of Dunes Bistro, a popular local eatery that closed in March after less than 18 months.
“There was a couple that has been in Grand Dunes for 19 years,” Tyson said. “And (the woman) looked at me and she pointed across the street, because Ruth’s Chris is across the street, and said, ‘Finally, a locally-owned fine dining restaurant that we can call our own.’”
Unlike many restaurants around the country, including in the Grand Strand, Tyson said he didn’t struggle to get everything he needed to set up the restaurant. Supply-chain disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic have made building everything from homes to cars to restaurants much more difficult.
“I feel like it’s more of a blessing than luck, you know?” Tyson said. “In a matter of weeks, we went from getting a place that was absolutely nothing like it looks today, and turned it around and are ready to cook.”
Abundance has not been immune to all of the problems created by the pandemic. Tyson has struggled to find workers. He gave job offers to several waiters, only for them to disappear when it came time to fill out their employment paperwork.
“There are a lot of unhappy servers at other high-quality dining restaurants in the area that have reached out. But they want to see us open and start to flourish before they’re going to jump on board,” Tyson said. “There’s (also) a lot of people that are looking for jobs that don’t understand this level of service and have no idea that this world exists.”
Still short on waiters and a dishwasher, Tyson and his restaurant partner Colin Stiles will not only be serving as nightly managers and hosts, but servers as well.
Stiles doesn’t mind, though. After working 10 years in the food-service industry, he said he’s most enjoyed getting to know customers more personally, a task most easily done at the table.
“I’m going to have to wait tables and be the GM and wear many hats at once,” Stiles said.
For the food, Tyson has Joe Palmitessa and John Boulanger, two longtime chefs who will implement the French-inspired menu. It won’t be solely French food, though it might be useful to get a translation app for some of the menu items, like the Crudo de Beouf or the Lamb Persaille.
Everything on the menu will be made from scratch. Some of it, like the sauce bordelaise found on the beef filet, will be made over several hours or even days, to achieve the perfect flavor, Boulanger said.
“Our food might look kind of intimidating, but it’s really so simplistic,” Boulanger said.
“We have something for everybody here,” Tyson said. “It doesn’t matter if you want to come in and you want to get ragu with a $200 bottle of wine or you just want to get a a New York strip with a Bud Light.”
Bringing new fine dining to Myrtle Beach won’t stop with Abundance. Tyson, Stiles, Palmitessa and Boulanger said they plan to work with Horry-Georgetown Technical College’s culinary school to help grow fine dining knowledge in the region. The restaurant hopes to offer students seminars on cooking and visits to Abundance to help learn about how the restaurant operates.
“What we’d like this to be is the footprint of making Myrtle Beach a better foodie town and instead of all you can eat bay shrimp,” Tyson said.