A packed parking lot was a pretty good indication that Nibil's restaurant had a full house of hungry people for it's grand opening in Myrtle Beach Thursday. The new location is about a 20 minute drive from where it used to be on the Surfside Beach pier. But loyal customers had no problem making the drive.
"It's humbling to know they still appreciate you and the only complaint is they couldn't drive their golf cart up here," owner Jack Cahill said.
The restaurant has been operating on the Grand Strand for the past 20 years. The place was buzzing with people who knew exactly what they wanted, along with some first-timers.
"We like the shrimp cocktail and the corn beef sandwich and, of course, we like their chicken salad," loyal customer Priscilla LaFon said.
Nibil's moved locations after the Surfside Beach town council didn't award a new contract to the restaurant when it's lease on the pier ran out in December. Because the town owns the pier, it was required by law to put the restaurant up for bid. The town hasn't approved a new bid at all for the building.
Change is good for Jack. He and his wife are happy with their new spot on Kings Highway and 33rd Avenue North.
"Location-wise, I'm five minutes from my house. My wife is very happy because we're doing breakfast and lunch only and I think we'll attract a nice audience here. There's room for new business here. I'm not a franchise. I'm just a mom and pop operation with a great family," Jack said.
Jack was happy to report his help in Surfside Beach made the move to Myrtle Beach.
"I didn't lose anyone from the breakfast lunch crew."
That's a good thing because if Thursday was any indication of what's to come, Nibil's is going to be a busy place. Some customers have promised to stop in at least once a week.
"We've got a great following and a great loyalty and it's a humbling experience," Jack said.
Despite a few changes to the menu and a new location, customer Priscilla found herself comparing the 'new Nibil's' to the 'old Nibil's'. Nothing too significant to report. She had just finished her favorite dish and gawked at the hand painted murals of the beach on the walls and smiled.
"I love it. I feel like I'm still there. I feel like I can look out and still see the beach," she said.