Address: 419 Highway 38 W, Latta, SC 29565
Phone: (843) 752-4700
Cards: No, cash and check only.
Hours of operation: Thursday – Sunday, 11:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Thank heavens for Shuler’s Barbeque because it is in the middle of a virtual barbeque desert. Dillon County and Marlboro County are almost barbeque free, as is most of Horry County except for the Beach areas. But smack dab in the middle of that area, near Latta, SC, just about 4 miles off of I-95, sits Shuler’s barbecue and it is true 100 Mile Barbeque.
For a couple of years I’ve had a good handful of our judges ask me if I had eaten at Shuler’s. Every one of them then waxed eloquently about how great it was and every one of them told me they thought it was the “best in the state.” (I hear that a lot, by the way, about all sorts of places.) But those who say that about Shuler’s are either exactly right or very close to being exactly right because Shuler’s is, as one judge put it, “What barbeque is supposed to be.”
The only problem with Shuler’s is that it used not to be open for lunch, only supper. They opened at 4:30pm the sign outside said and when I got there at 4:30 on the dot the parking lot was packed. And that was on a Thursday. I guess the locals had just waited patiently in their cars for the restaurant to open its doors and then made a dash for it just as soon as they could. But of late, that has changed and they open for lunch at 11:30am. However, it might be a good idea to call ahead before you go to lunch.
The restaurant itself is in a commercial log cabin that is very nice inside and the enclosed back porch area overlooks a small pond. The staff is the usual Southern friendly with happy faces all around.
You pay as you come in and they serve buffet style and what a buffet it is! Everything on it is cooked there. The slaw is fresh and the vegetables are home cooked. Their marinated slaw is especially tasty. They even had rutabagas the last time I was there, along with all sorts of greens and beans, both baked and fresh cooked, and the usual sweet potato soufflé and macaroni and cheese. All delicious! The cornbread is too sweet (Georgia pound cake one of my friends calls it) but the biscuits taste like real biscuits.
There are all sorts of home-made deserts and the bread pudding, made out of any left over biscuits and a home-made custard, is extra special. They also have peach and apple cobblers and real banana pudding plus slices of cake, such as chocolate and red velvet and pound cake cut for you and served on individual little paper plates.
But as great as the buffet and desserts are, the stars of the show, and what stars they are, are the barbeque and the ribs.
The barbeque is genuinely pit cooked and the ribs are in serious contention for the “best in the state” honors, as is the barbeque itself.
They have two kinds of sauce which they mix, lightly, into their pulled pork. One they call “mild” and the other “spicy.” In truth both are sort of what one would expect in the Pee Dee area of the state and the spicy is not very hot at all. Nevertheless, don’t put either one of them on that splendid meat. Both of those sauces are simply too vinegary and they don’t enhance the barbeque at all. So please, enjoy that wonderful barbeque just as it is, just as it comes off the pit.
If I were traveling on I-95 and if it was anywhere close to lunch or supper time and if I was within 100 miles of Shuler’s then that would be my destination. Shuler’s is where you can find out “what barbeque ought to be.”