By Gray Bostick
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”
So instructs Psalm 98:4. And with their World Famous Sunday Gospel Brunch dining and live music show, the House of Blues Myrtle Beach takes it literally. And then some. The truth is, the Gospel Brunch is far more than a dining experience, it’s a spiritual reset, with a meal. Gospel, with ya grits.
Advertised as a “Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits!” event, the Gospel Bunch is one of the most unique dining options along the Grand Strand, in this case, served up with a heavenly dusting of spiritual uplifting and soulful praise.
As for the meal, you’re guaranteed not to go home hungry as the Gospel Brunch offers diners a wide variety of delicious entree options, ranging from traditional Southern all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet items to lunch entrees, including roast beef and turkey, as well as made-to-order omelets, chicken and waffles, and salads and fruits, even jambalaya for those with a taste for the spicy.
Perhaps the best advice might actually be that given by the omelet chef who, noting their uncertainty, pleasantly advised a couple diners to first “make a lap around the buffet room before you even pick up a plate,” just so you’d know all being offered.
And if you happen to have picky eaters in your group, have no fear, the Gospel Brunch has you covered there, too, offering a “Build Your Own” macaroni and cheese station that is very popular with kids – and, not to be overlooked, a “Build Your Own” Bloody Mary station, quite popular with interested adults.
But while the meal is outstanding, that’s not what the Gospel Brunch is really all about; it’s the live show that makes this a “must do” on anyone’s culinary Bucket List.
From heartfelt performances of old hymns — often to the simple basic accompaniment of only a flutist and keyboardist, to rousing renditions of more upbeat traditional favorites, to five-star versions of contemporary Christian tunes, the Gospel Brunch features a wide variety of musical selections, proclaiming, “We’re not Methodists or Baptists! We’re non-denominational here…we’re all ONE…we’re the Church for ALL People!”
And it is indeed for all as, at times, the performers mingle with the crowd, and, in fact, often cede the microphone to a diner to allow them to sing a line or verse to well-known old spiritual songs and hymns, often as the crowd joins in and napkins are waved overhead.
All part of the overall Gospel Brunch experience, says Dawn Temples Knopff, Marketing and Promotions Manger for the House of Blues Myrtle Beach. “Every Sunday we encourage our guests to interact with our shows, and they are even able to join our performers on stage to sing along and clap,” Knopff notes. “We try to make sure that our guests feel that they are an important part of the show.”
And “show” might be an understatement as the live performances are nearly non-stop, soul-lifting affairs that leave you with a smile, as well as a warm heart and grateful spirit, with only brief intermissions to allow the performers a break. And while all House of Blues feature a version of the Gospel Brunch, Knopff points out that the House of Blues Myrtle Beach version of the Gospel Brunch is unique among them. “Other House of Blues locations offer their brunch shows in the Music Hall so we are a little unique that we host ours in the restaurant,” she points out, “but we feel that our guests get a much more intimate experience this way.”
It is perhaps this increased sense of intimacy that opens the hearts of those attending; a peaceful sense of togetherness seems to develop, a spiritual kinship with each other that comes from watching folks of all walks and backgrounds having fun, enjoying gospel music, and interacting with each other – young and old – sharing smiles and singing together, even giving high fives and hugs. During a recent visit, several guests were so moved by the “spirit” they even broke into dance among themselves, right at the table.
So all things considered, consider yourself warned: You’ll probably find it difficult to remain still long enough to hold a fork during some of the more rousing numbers; it’s hard to eat when you’re snapping fingers or clapping hands or tapping a foot or swaying in time to the joyful tunes being joyously sung.
And it’s that spirit that Knopff, a North Myrtle Beach native who returned to the area in 2012 to assume the House of Blues position, is especially proud to have in her hometown. “The World Famous Sunday Gospel Brunch is one of my favorite House of Blues offerings,” she says. “It’s just a great way to lift your spirits.”
Knopff adds that the Gospel Brunch also gives back to the local community. “We donate $1 for every Gospel Brunch diner to the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation, our in-house charity focusing on helping youth that are interested in the music industry,” she proudly states, adding that the House of Blues has hosted area kids for ceremonies where they received free new music instruments through the foundation.
She also notes that, thanks to the Gospel Brunch’s popularity, reservations are worth making. “We always recommend guests make reservations, and there are occasions where we cap out on reservations – usually on our busiest holidays – but every Sunday we do accept walk-ins and we try to seat these guests as quickly as possible,” she says. “The best way to avoid having to wait when you arrive is to make an advance reservation, but the nature of our show lends to the tables turning so we can keep seating new guests too.” Seating is continuous from 9:00 until 1:30.
Large groups are encouraged to make specific arrangements. “We handle parties of 20 or more through our Special Events team to ensure that they can sit together,“ Knopff informs. “This does require an advance reservation and a deposit. Arrangements for parties numbering under 20 can be made by calling us, and groups sized between 10-19 people may require management approval to ensure that they can be seated together.”
The Gospel Brunch food, service, music, environment, and experience are all top-notch, and nobody leaves with an empty stomach – or heart.
So, if you’re looking for an incomparable and memorable dining experience, give the special ones in your life a day off from the ordinary and head down to the Gospel Brunch for a Special Sunday of heartwarming fellowship and a fine meal.
Your stomach and your spirit will thank you.
For more information on the Gospel Brunch, the House of Blues Myrtle Beach
may be contacted at 843-272-3000 or at http://www.houseofblues.com/myrtlebeach.