We had such high hopes. Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips was an old-time fast-food restaurant that bucked the burger trend in the 1970s. As a result, at the time it had a tremendous following with some 800 restaurants. Alas, by June of 2021, there was but one standalone Arthur Treacher’s in the entire United States.
News that it had been revived by Nathan’s Famous sent fans into thoughts of deep fried bliss.
Our Arthur Treacher’s journey brought us to the neon splashed 200 block of Main Street in North Myrtle Beach. There, tucked under Nathans Skybar, was an Arthur Treacher’s, Nathans and Scoops all mixed together.
With great anticipation, we ordered the fish and chips platter for $9.99, a price that, to be honest, caused my cheap eats heart to skip a beat. The platter included two medium size pieces of fish, “chips,” cole slaw, two hush puppies and three little plastic tubs of tartar sauce. The chips were not the English-style chips (Arthur Treacher was a British actor) that I was familiar with. These were simply unseasoned crinkle cut French fries. Though browned on the outside, there were mushy and tasteless.
The hush puppies were also pretty tasteless. Worse, they were mushy inside. The cole slaw was, to be generous, passable. But the fish! The fish! The fish was deep fried and hot, crisp on the outside, tender and flaky on the inside. And tasty? Yes! With just the right hint of saltiness. Arthur Treacher, God rest his soul, still knows how to make fish. Not quite as good as Long John Silvers, in my opinion, but pretty good for fast food fish.
As for the rest of the meal, it was – how do you say this kindly – awful. And that spoiled the whole thing for us. As we left the shrine to Mr. Treacher, we were disappointed. Even the usually imperturbable Robin sounded a bit snitty. “It spites me to spend that much money on bad food.” The final bill, with two medium drinks, came to $28.59.
I reminded her that we knew from the start that we were not going to be dining at Aspen. That this was a chance to do some fast food time traveling to what was at one time an iconic and much loved cheap eat. Having now taken that trip, it’s extremely doubtful we’d go down that road again.