This guest post is by C. Hope Clark from www.chopeclark.com
McConkey’s Jungle Shack
~~Every Visit to Edisto~~
My current mystery series takes place on Edisto Beach, South Carolina, a secluded, noncommercial piece of sand that reduces down to around 600 people off season, exploding to several thousand when weather turns warm. Having just released the series’ third book, Echoes of Edisto, I currently work on book four, which means yet another trip to the beach. Research, you know.
And a girl has to eat after sweating over all those words. At the beach, that means a dose of seafood here and there. The residents refuse to allow franchises, so that means each eating venue reigns unique. My restaurant preference depends on what I want to eat that day, but when I’m not sure, my go-to place is McConkey’s Jungle Shack on Jungle Road.
Trust me, the term shack is not used loosely. The handful of tables are set on a porch, cooled with fans and an over-worked air-conditioner in the summer (sorry, humidity stays), and warmed with porch heaters inside rolled down plastic sides in the winter. The months in between just means you eat outside under a roof. The kitchen is bigger than the dining area.
The wait staff all wear colorful t-shirts, often tie-dyed, with the Tarzan-looking character on a vine. I own six of those shirts, by the way, for the times I miss Edisto. The staff has worked there for ages, and the service has never failed me, usually with the food arriving way quicker than expected. The place may be small, but they can work a crowd like nobody’s business.
The menu has its regular favorites like fish tacos, fish and chips, shrimp, and hand-formed burgers (I prefer pimento cheese and jalapenos on mine, as does Callie Morgan in my books), and if you eat there, you’ll see them all come out of the kitchen, usually by your table on their way to another. The place isn’t big as a minute. A huge selection of beers and ale, and yes, wine.
But the main draw, in my opinion, is the homemade touch. All the desserts are from scratch, from bread pudding (yum) to peanut butter pie. And some days you see something entirely new on the dry erase board beside the kitchen entrance, simply because the cook had a different sweet tooth. In the winter I experienced the best black-bean soup I’ve ever tasted, again not on the regular menu. In the summer maybe a different sort of wrap. You never know until you show up what the specials might be.
I guess I deem McConkey’s symbolic of Edisto Beach, touting a name that has represented the area for almost 140 years. While the family’s history is quite colorful, and uniquely tragic, the restaurant is successful and sound, a beacon to all who arrive from the mainland. Take a seat at one of the hand painted, beach scene tables, enjoy the local paraphernalia hanging around the place, and don’t look for a dress code. Wear whatever you happen to have on because it’s more about relaxing and having a good meal. After all, you’re at the beach.
Oh, and by the way . . . the best sweet tea on the island.
BIO: Hope Clark’s newest mystery, Echoes of Edisto, is available August 5 wherever books are sold. Echoes is book three in this highly popular Edisto Island Mystery Series, and if you head south to the coast, chances are you’ll find a copy in most rentals on Edisto Beach, South Carolina as well as on the shelves of the Edisto Bookstore with all the other Hope Clark books. www.chopeclark.com
BLURB from Echos of Edisto:
Edisto Island is a paradise where people escape from the mainstream world. Yet for newly sworn-in Edisto Police Chief Callie Jean Morgan, the trouble has just begun . . .
I thoroughly enjoyed her book and plan to buy more.