Breakfast of Champions
Bringing traditional favorites, shareable boards and spirits to the morning meal makes Milk & Honey Breakfast, Bar & More a breakfast and brunch favorite in Calabash.
Yogi Berra’s classic line — “Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded” — may never apply to a breakfast “nook” called Milk & Honey. Because, if necessary, this deceptively massive nook, with its spacious seating areas both inside and outside, can accommodate 500 patrons at a time.
And though its parking lot may look as though most of southeastern Brunswick County is inside ordering excellent food from an exceptionally large and diversified menu, chances are there will always be room for you and your family. There’s even bar seating with a host of drinks and craft beers available.
And just as importantly, the service is so attentive, so down-home and efficient, it provides a sense of intimacy that defies the size of the place.
While service is not an issue, deciding what to order may be. The menu is huge with a wide variety of choices. With everything from pancakes, French toast and Belgian waffles to an array of breakfast sandwiches and signature or make-your-own omelets to a collection of Benedicts and traditional classic breakfasts, don’t be surprised if it takes you a while to decide. They even have shareable breakfast boards for two to four people, including a Bagel Board, a Southern Board, a Mediterranean Board and Sweet Temptations Board.
And once you have, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. My missus is very particular (some who don’t value their life would say irrational) about her eggs, but she likes them the way she likes them. Her phrase is “done all the way through,” which for the rest of us means “burnt.” And they came out perfectly according to her, so I didn’t have to witness her sending them back for a “re-do,” which is often the case.
My Western Omelet was chock full of onions, peppers, cheese and ham, and nearly too large to finish with the tasty potatoes and large bagel that accompanied it. Nearly.
The owners of Milk & Honey took a rather interesting and circuitous route to the business they now operate. Greek-born Gus Stathos left his little village outside Sparta, Greece, to find a new life. That journey saw him stop in Athens, where he gained valuable experience. Then in 1959, at the tender age of 19, he made his way to America — Greer, South Carolina, to be precise, where he had relatives. There, he and his family became partners in a restaurant chain called Pete’s Drive-in, and the business grew.
Stathos eventually bought his first restaurant in Calabash in 1978, and in 1981 he bought and operated Tony’s Pizza, which is still in operation. In 2007 he and his son, George, opened George’s Pancake House, which suffered a disastrous fire in 2018. But the Stathos family was determined to rebuild. Undeterred, they spent some years traveling to various places and studying what worked and what didn’t in the often-intimidating restaurant business.
Finally, armed with extensive experience and knowledge, they decided to open Milk & Honey.
Milk & Honey is obviously running on all eight cylinders, but it wasn’t always that way. They tried to open three years ago, but a distraction named COVID put the kibosh on that plan. When COVID finally backed off, the business was given permission to run at half-capacity, but the owners wanted a full-blown “Here We Are!” opening.
When they finally got the go-ahead for that, they couldn’t find enough staff to open. But they hung in there, and last September they put the car in gear. They’ve been in overdrive ever since.
Milk & Honey is only open from 7 am until 2 pm, and it is closed on Tuesdays “so everybody can at least get a day off,” says Manager Hilda Smith, the epitome of Southern charm and hospitality. But that’s plenty of time to grab a magnificent breakfast, brunch or lunch in a clean, comfortable setting.
There are even shareable boards available for groups of two or more.
If you prefer, grab a seat at the comfortable, welcoming bar and ponder life over a libation. The beer list isn’t overly extensive, but you’ll find something to wet your whistle. Maybe adding some Lambics (fruit beers) and Stouts to stand up to those sausages and other meats might complement an already impressive collection of breakfast libations.
Of course, adding those beers might put Milk & Honey into the 12-cylinder category.
Want to go?
Milk & Honey Breakfast, Bar & More
9941 Beach Drive SW, Calabash
Photography by Tara Roberts