The Dunes Shops in Kitty Hawk was the first strip mall on the Outer Banks. This location has been home to several local businesses, and it’s doubtful that any of the current tenants are originals. Although updated, the simple design still retains a relaxed quality that brings shoppers back to a time when life was less hectic.
A belief that life should be savored more slowly is at least one part of the reason why Necla (pronounced Nay-shlah) Rader’s coffee shop, Outer Bean Juice & Java, is such a good fit.
Necla, who grew up in Turkey and is a naturalized citizen, is the perfect host for her business. She warmly greets people as they walk through the door, and it’s immediately apparent that she genuinely cares about both her customers and their dining experience. She’s also not shy about making a menu recommendation if she feels something matches a visitor’s taste preference.
At first glance it’s simply a coffee shop with assorted tables and chairs, a couch and a counter with stools. It’s cozy and intimate, and the coffee is excellent. The espresso that was ordered the other day was perfection—just the right amount of crema resting on top of a rich yet mellow and full-flavored cup of coffee. With that as a base, it’s no wonder customers rave about their lattes and cappuccinos.
Yet, Outer Bean is more than a coffee shop . . . much more.
When they put “fresh juice” on the menu board, it means they make the juice to order, and the selection is huge. They offer everything from orange juice to beet juice with every combination in between. There is also a great selection of smoothies.
One thing that sets Outer Bean apart from other coffee shops is their breakfast and lunch offerings because most everything is scratch made. “We know exactly what’s in everything we serve,” says Necla.
It’s understood that just because food is made on premise, it doesn’t guarantee that it’s good, but fortunately in this case it is! In particular, the soups that Necla creates are outstanding. She cited her two personal favorites to be the red lentil quinoa and the carrot ginger soup. The mushroom bean soup that was ordered was hearty, flavorful and fulfilling. From a meat eater’s standpoint, it was great to find a vegetarian dish that was so substantial.
“There’s no butter or cream in the soups,” Necla says. “They’re all vegan and gluten free. I struggled on the Outer Banks to find a vegan restaurant, so I brought my lifestyle here,” she explains. It is not a vegan cafe, though. Not by any means. There is a wide selection of sandwiches and paninis made with cold cuts, as well as platters and salads featuring fresh seafood.
Breakfast is yet another treat. They get their bagels from Bonnie’s Bagels in Southern Shores—and Outer Banks bagel aficionados concede these are closest to the real deal New York bagel. Necla also creates some of her own breakfast items—the spicy apple cake is created in-house and for anyone lucky enough to get there as it comes out of the oven . . . that glorious cake is the perfect way to start any day