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Tuck in for Hearty Dining at Ailsa Pub

By Becky Billingsley

Golfers at Legends Golf Course who work up big appetites are rewarded with the excellent fare crafted by Executive Chef Ryan Coffindaffer at Ailsa Pub.

Of course you don’t have to be golfing to enjoy the chef’s food; the roomy restaurant is open to the public. And a lot of the public can fit in there, with long community tables, cocktail tables and conventionally size tables that will accommodate any size group.

Ailsa is a Scottish island, and from the outside Ailsa Pub looks like a small and low village gathering spot. The ale house ambiance continues inside with heavy dark woods and large furniture, a fireplace and ladder-back chairs. Many televisions line the walls so patrons won’t miss a minute of The Masters or any other important sporting event.

Chef Coffindaffer has much experience at some of the finest restaurants in the United States, so often new customers who come in expecting typical golf course restaurant fare are delightfully surprised by the menu.

Appetizers have pub house flair with choices like a trio of Tuna Tacos. The taco shells are puffy and crispy fried wonton skins, and the filling is melt-in-the-mouth spicy Ahi tuna tartare and radish slaw. A pairing of a big soft pretzel and grilled smoked sausage comes with roasted sauerkraut mustard and cheese sauce flavored with popcorn.

Visiting Canadians are happy to find Poutine on the menu – French fries covered in gravy and cheese – while fresh and succulent Shrimp and Crab Cakes are served atop roasted corn and pickled green tomato relish, and topped with a dollop of avocado cream.

There’s a soup of the day and Chili, and salad choices are Caesar, House, Cobb and Arugula Salad with roasted pecans, goat cheese and Craisins that’s tossed in citrus vinaigrette.

Of course this pub has sandwiches, and they are hearty. Chef Coffindaffer smokes his own pork butts, and those go into the Smoked Pork Sandwich served on a toasted potato bun. A Big Fugi Burger is so large it has to be held together with a skewer; it’s stuffed with shrimp and goat cheese, and then topped with banana peppers, bacon, mushrooms, avocado, lettuce, tomato and sea salt, and served with sweet potato fries. The meat in the Steak Sandwich is tenderloin, and it’s accompanied by caramelized onions, mushrooms, wilted arugula, apple smoked Cheddar and garlic aioli.

Seven entree choices ranged from Half Roast Chicken and Spaghetti and Meatballs to Fish and Chips. Steak & Frits is a flat iron cut topped with blue cheese demi-glace surrounded by fries; while Guinness Tips features juicy chunks of beef tenderloin, mushrooms and caramelized onions in a rich Guinness demi-glace that’s served over garlic mashed potatoes.

The chef has a special dessert that’s not listed on the menu: S’Mores Quesadilla filled with Hershey Bar chunks, Teddy Grahams and marshmallows.

Ailsa Pub is at 4601 Aaran Court off U.S. 501 between Conway and Myrtle Beach, and the number is 843-236-5530.

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