In 2006 when owners Dan Lewis and Scott Foster opened Coastal Provisions located in Southern Shores Crossing the concept was fairly straightforward. “Originally it was going to be a specialty food market that would bring great food to the beach,” Dan says. “Not only gourmet ingredients, but also take out and catering provisioning people with great tastes.”
But the vision changed along the way as it became clear that although the market concept was good, more was needed. Dan and Scott, both classically trained chefs, found there was an increasing demand to combine their delectable food creations paired with a glass of fine wine or microbrew, with a relaxed sit down dining experience.
“We still do an outstanding take-out and catering business, but over the years the overall concept has gradually morphed to the current restaurant concept,” Dan says.
From the beginning it was apparent that Coastal Provisions was different and quite good, and visitors and locals responded accordingly, allowing the partners to take on some new and different projects. First up was the Coastal Cantina in Duck which opened in 2007 and overlooks the Currituck Sound on the Duck Boardwalk at the Waterfront Shops.
The Coastal Cantina is all outdoor seating and the serving area is open facing the Currituck Sound, so it is seasonal; but when it is open in the spring, summer and early autumn, sitting outside with a one of their wonderful sandwiches with a breathtaking view across the water is what living on the Outer Banks is all about.
Two years later they had a chance to take over what was a Burger King and turn it into something . . . more memorable. Coastal Cravings is the back part of the BP convenience store and gas station. Don’t be fooled by the front—much of the food served in the restaurant is the same fantastic preparations that are part of the menu at Coastal Provisions. The seating area is open and airy and there is a very nice outdoor area as well.
Coastal Cravings didn’t start as a full service restaurant. “When the Burger King option came up and we opened three weeks later, by necessity or the drive through zoning exemption would have expired for good,” Dan says. “We did our version of quick service for two years, then recognized the opportunity to tweak the concept and changed to full service with a complete remodel, adding full bar and patio dinning.”
The Southern Shores location is still the largest and it’s where they do a lot of the prep work for the other locations. Yet it is still somewhat a work in progress responding to what their customers tell them they want. “Southern Shores does get crazy with the multi-tasking,” Dan says. “But the restaurant side has been steadily growing, and it still allows us to focus more on a dining experience with big wine selection, oyster bar, lots of small plates and more ingredients at our disposal.”
Not bad for a pair of classically trained chefs from Washington, D.C. They’re here to stay, though. The business is growing and they have discovered something unexpected about the Outer Banks. “Coming from DC area, we never experienced such a tremendous sense of community as we do here,” Dan remarks. “It’s one of the things that makes the Outer Banks such a special place.”