NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — For our first edition of Beach Bites in 2023, we’re serving up a popular type of food, with a nontraditional menu.

Roca Roja Cantina in North Myrtle Beach prides itself on authentic Mexican food.

“Well, I love Mexican,” Roca Roja Cantina owner Terry Walden said. “And there’s no bad Mexican to me. I love all the Mexican restaurants in town. “

Most people would agree with Walden, but most people haven’t had real Mexican.”

“We’re a little more, rather than Tex-Mex, which is your traditional Mexican, which most Americans know about, we’re a little more regionalized,” Walden said. “So we pick various regional dishes from areas of Mexico. From Jalisco, to Veracruz, Baja, Yucatan dishes.”

While the dishes represent different parts of Mexico, so does the layout of the restaurant itself.

“Downstairs is more Mexico City feel,” Walden said. “It’s a little more upscale. Up here, I wanted to create and open-air cantina vibe, which you can see, we’re open air. So when it’s nice and not so chilly like today, we’ll have it completely open. But I wanted to give you the perception like you’re sitting outside.”

Even though the restaurant is in North Myrtle Beach, you kind of get that south-of-the-border feel.

“Our focus is on taking people on an adventure to Mexico,” Walden said. “I travel to Mexico two to three times a year, and I love Mexico. So I really want to expose people to unique and different things.”

But the view out back, it’s all Carolina.

“I mean this marsh-front, if you look at the views out there, it’s just amazing,” Walden said.

And if you’re a little more thirsty than hungry, Roca Roja, located on Sea Mountain Highway, is also home to the largest selection of tequilas in South Carolina.