A decade of visiting Hatteras Island, NC has left my family with a lifetime of memories, and more than a few full stomachs. For those of you just beginning to write your book of Outer Banks memories, let me give you a jump start with a list of “can’t miss” places to eat on and around the island.
For the record, I have no affiliation or business interest of any kind with any of the following fine establishments. I don’t know any of the owners. But I do know a good meal when I taste it. Why shouldn’t’t you take advantage of the wisdom attained by my expanding waistline?
1) The Mad Crabber (Avon, NC) -Without a doubt, the “Crabber” is hands-down my favorite “on the island” eating establishment. My adventure with the “Crabber” began prior to our very first trip to Hatteras Island. Putting together a trip for not only my family, but my “extended” family as well, I scoured message boards on the web to find “great experiences” among those who had visited what was then an unknown region for me. Time and again, those writing about their OBX experiences mentioned the great food and great times had at the Mad Crabber.
Over the years the “Crabber” has evolved from a quaint place “where few of the chairs matched” to a brand-spanking new building with a décor that managed to retain the coziness of the old place. What hasn’t changed is the quality of the food, the atmosphere or the staff-ALL are top notch. The seafood is great. The beer is cold. And the desserts are yummy. Go there more than once. You’ll thank me.
2) The Quarterdeck (Frisco, NC) -A fixture on the island since 1978, this is another place where you can dive headfirst into the local cuisine and come out a winner. Highlights for me have always been the scallops and the crab cakes, but I’ll let you make up your own mind. It is, after all, your vacation.
3) Owens’ Restaurant (Nags Head, NC) – OK, it’s not technically on the island; so shoot me. The “priciest” restaurant on my list, Owens’ Restaurant has been a tradition in Nags Head for over 60 years for a reason. The food is doggone good. How good? Good enough for our family to drive the 50 miles from Hatteras Village. Good enough for yours to do the same. I suggest planning a visit to Owens’ Restaurant as the perfect capper to a day trip to the Wright Brothers’ National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills or after a shopping trip in Nags Head. You’ll be talking about your meal all the way home.
4) The Orange Blossom Bakery (Buxton, NC) – Some mornings I surprise the family by sneaking out early and making the trip to the Orange Blossom Bakery for donuts or apple “uglies.” I’m not going to apologize to any of you for endorsing baked goods that are not exactly health food. I’m also not going to apologize for making you a hero (or heroine!) with your family when they sink their teeth into Orange Blossom ecstasy. Lighten up. You’re on vacation.
5) Uncle Eddy’s Frozen Custard and 18-hole Mini-Golf (Buxton, NC) – You have kids. Uncle Eddy has frozen custard and miniature golf. Need I say more? Actually, I do. Skip the golf. Eat the custard. It’s a hole-in-one.
1) Howard’s Pub (Ocracoke Island, NC) – Anyone making a day trip to Ocracoke is probably going to spend a good part of the day walking or biking. It’s a fun time, but a good way to build up a powerful thirst and a hankering for good grub. Howard’s Pub, my friends, is the cure for what ails you. Don’t leave Ocracoke without it!