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Southern Living Magazine: Meals to Howl About

Just because a restaurant is named for a coonhound doesn't mean patrons have to hunt quarry, fetch condiments, or even slurp from bowls. Redbone Alley - A restaurant, bar and game room in Florence, South Carolina - honors a flop-earred hound by using a bringing-the-outdoors-in setting.

The menu far exceeds kennel quality, and a quirky atmosphere enlivens the chase. A mock alley of red bricks runs through the dining area. A faux Charleston facade of stucco and brick forms a high wall complete with wrought iron balconies.

A variety of plants encloses a courtyard and fountain. Pinhole ceiling lights twinkle like stars in a dark sky. A theater marquee above the bar (where boiled peanuts are free) announces each evening's entertainment.

An old-time Good Humor ice-cream truck awaits kids who eagerly climb in and pay for special treats with tokens that accompany the items on the Puppy Chow menu.

The beeping of video games and clacking of pool balls on an L-shaped table drift from a game room above the courtyard.

Located about 1 mile from where Myrtle Beach bound traffic reaches the eastern end of I-20, right where busy I-95 passes through north to south, Redbone Alley specializes in such surprises.

Affordable prices perk up many an ear. Lunch and dinner items hover in the $4 to $8 range, including hot Jamaican jerk wings, tomato-bacon quesadillas, pasta salads, ribs and sausage or vegetarian pizzas. Only prime rib and fresh fish dishes climb, just barely, into double digit prices.

Owner Dale Barth, after college years and a series of restaurant jobs in Charleston, wanted to create an outdoor dining experience indoors. He acquired a former department store, the spacious JCPenney location in Florence Mall, and he went to work creating Redbone Alley Restaurant and Bar.

Naming the place after his family's cherished redbone coonhound crystallized the informality he sought. Look for the mascot's smirking, red neon face on a sign outside, and step in ready to sniff out a meal that'll get your tail wagging.