December 5, 2023

I found out tonight that Jimmy Buffett has a sister, and she’s in the money business just like that Son of a Son of a Sailor.

We had dinner at Lulu’s in North Myrtle Beach. However, that sentence is not the most precise. The more correct sentence would be: We happened to eat food while spending a Thursday evening at Lulu’s.

Kristi and Olivia had eaten at Lulu’s earlier in their road trip, in Alabama, and Olivia loved the massive fish filet. Kristi noticed that Lulu’s was also in North Myrtle Beach, and well, it’s a challenge to find something a 9-year-old loves that’s also palatable enough to the adults.

So, consider us both sold.

What Kristi had prefaced our visit was: it’s not about the food at Lulu’s. It’s the atmosphere.

Ok, well, I figured whatever it is, it’s probably not horrible because it can be an hour or two wait to get a table – even on a Thursday night.

Thankfully, Lulu’s accounts for this with a giant sand pit for the kids to play. And a hoppin’ bar for the adults to play.

And then I hear the dude playing guitar strumming beach songs and classics like “Brown-Eyed Girl.” It made me think this was a place where Parrotheads might hang out.

Our scheduled wait was an hour and 50 minutes. No kidding. So, I had time to investigate – and it took me no time at all to discover the name Lucy Buffett.

It was on everything, including the impressive inventory of products in Lulu’s gift shop. They’re definitely collectors items considering there are only three Lulu’s locations: North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Gulf Shores, Alabama and Destin, Florida.

A quick query on Wikipedia produced the obvious: she’s related to Jimmy. His sister.

I started to view the experience in a different light. The sand pit was filled with kids, which freed up 30- and 40-something parents to knock back a couple drinks and exhale while we all waited for tables.

Those Buffetts are geniuses, truly they are.

I played in a Buffett cover band once upon a time, well before I was familiar with the man’s catalog. I learned them all from “Son of a Son of a Sailor” to “A Pirate Looks at Forty,” “Fins” to “Pencil-Thin Mustache” and of course “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Margaritaville” and “Come Monday.”

Played in Dallas and Galveston at some decent-sized Parrothead parties and gatherings. Always a great time.

The musician on stage at Lulu’s this night had an uncanny ability to make any song sound like trop-rock. He played Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and Shawn Mendes’ “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back,” and made them both sound like Jimmy Buffett had popularized them.

The bartender, Rob, told me that each musician is required to play at least one Jimmy Buffett song per hour. He also told me how he and his dad perform Jimmy Buffett songs together, on the side.

In a beach town, that seems like a good business to be in – as is this type of establishment, which is more about a good time than it is food.

For the record, we had fish, oysters, some gumbo and fries. It was ok. Nothing to write home about.

I take that back: the crab toast appetizer was amazing.

But what we mostly had was a great time. It’s hard for me to think that Lucy Buffett couldn’t build one of these any damned where she wanted.

Including OKC. Could totally see this place on Lake Hefner.

That Buffett crew is a money-making machine, and worth every dollar.

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