Great Food: An Outer Banks Tradition

So many great Outer Banks restaurants, so little time. In researching long-standing Outer Banks restaurants it was surprising how many there are still serving locals and visitors alike. This feature is about five ranging from casual eateries to fine dining options that are sure to please.

Owens Restaurant
7114 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Milepost 16.5, Nags Head, NC
Family owned and operated, Owens Restaurant opened in 1946 when Bob and Clara Owens relocated here from Manteo, NC. Their roots in serving food goes back to a hot dog stand they originally ran in Manteo since 1933. Owens is no hot dog stand, instead they serve southern coastal cuisine including fresh seafood, aged Angus beef, pasta specialties and outrageous desserts. As good as the food is, be sure to check out the bar. Most night there’s a piano playing, the seating is ideal for intimate conversations and the bartenders know how to mix a quality drink.

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Max’s Pizza – Outer Banks

Maxs Pizza Kitty HawkPizza is one of those ubiquitous foods that many restaurants make but very few seem to master. In the master category, we bring you Grant Sharp at Max’s Pizza (3723 N. Croatan Highway), Ocean Plaza in Kitty Hawk.

Grant and his wife, Natalya, bought Max’s last March and the change in quality was immediately apparent. Grant—as it turns out—is a classically trained chef. How classically trained? Well, he studied for two years at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

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Outer Banks Ice Cream Shops

OBX Ice Cream ShopLuckily the Outer Banks has a lot of places to indulge that summertime fantasy, so here’s our Carolina Designs’ list of ice cream parlors, yogurt stops and frozen custard stands. It’s by no means complete. No preferences. . . we just listed everything alphabetically.

Big Buck’s
Timbuck II Shopping Center, 794F Sunset Boulevard, Corolla, NC
Buccaneers Walk Shopping Center, 3810 N. Croatan Highway, Kitty Hawk
Offering up to 57 ice cream flavors (some are seasonal) made from scratch daily with premium ingredients. In addition to cones, specialties include milkshakes, sundaes, banana splits, ice cream cakes, fresh fruit smoothies, frozen tea lattes, espresso bar with hot, iced and frozen options, homemade chocolates and more!

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The Paper Canoe – Duck, NC

Paper Canoe DuckWhen you meet Tommy Karole, the owner of Paper Canoe in Duck, it’s obvious he’s not a laid back southerner. He never lost his New Jersey mannerisms, has strong opinions on most topics and he understands how to create an outstanding dining experience.

What might be most remarkable about the Paper Canoe is when Tommy admits that while he was pulling all the restaurant components together he wasn’t sure just what kind of dining experience he was going to create. Over the years he had owned and managed restaurants, and he had consulted with a number of successful Outer Banks restaurant owners, but while he was building the dining room he still wasn’t sure about the direction of his own restaurant. “I knew I had a beautiful location, which I built from the ground up,” he says. “I didn’t think of food until I saw how the restaurant was coming together.”

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Outer Banks Brewing Station

Brew Station Outer BanksMost everyone on the Outer Banks knows where the Outer Banks Brewing Station is located. It’s a very interesting building, designed by local architect Ben Cahoon, an architectural nod to the turn-of-the-century lifesaving stations including a 30 foot boat-shaped bar and brick inlays in the dining room floor that point to the ocean and were collected over the years from cottage debris that washed to shore. Located at Milepost 8.5 on the bypass in Kill Devil Hills, what makes it most noticeable is the wind turbine in the backyard, and yes, it is functional. But, what the Brewing Station is really known for is excellent beer and food and great live entertainment.

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