If you’re going on vacation, why not eat where the locals eat? You can find chain restaurants everywhere you go, but for these 6 “mom and pop” restaurants, you won’t find their delicious recipes or one-of-a-kind atmospheres anywhere other than the Outer Banks.
Sam and Omie’s
Originally opened in 1937 by local fishermen, Sam & Omie’s is a Nags Head legend loved by locals and visitors alike. This fishermen’s favorite is the perfect spot to stop for a bite to eat before heading out for your day of fishing; it couldn’t be any more conveniently located either. After you’ve finished your delicious meal complete with country ham and a good ole’ southern style biscuit and gravy, head right across the street to Jennette’s Pier. You can even come back for lunch and dinner to enjoy one of their “sam”wiches from the sea with fresh seafood or the catch of the day and a tasty dessert by Dolly. Look no further than Sam & Omie’s for an A+ experience in fresh food and southern hospitality to match.
Kill Devil Grill
Owners, Bill and Liz Tucker, have been serving up the Outer Banks with friendly service, supreme quality and unique but delicious dishes for the last 15 years. From the Back Yard Wings for an appetizer to the classic root beer float for dessert, this cozy restaurant will make you feel right at home with their family-friendly service and diner style atmosphere. There’s no shortage of glowing reviews for the Kill Devil Grill online and after one visit you’ll see why. Eat here, thank us later!
Miller’s Seafood & Steakhouse
If you’re looking for amazing seafood and steak, look no further than Miller’s. Two generations have worked to incorporate family values, hospitality, quality, and excellence at this Outer Banks dining tradition, and it shows. Husband and wife, Brian and Beth, don’t take a back seas approach to running this restaurant. When Brian isn’t in the kitchen making delicious meals for patrons, he’s probably next door at American Pie serving up pizza and homemade ice cream. Beth works the front of the restaurant and is ready to greet you with a smile and a friendly “welcome back!” Open from breakfast to dinner, you can stop in for your morning coffee and biscuits and then come back later for the best fresh NC scallops, Pamlico Sound fresh flounder, surf & turf, or even sushi!
Since 1989, Henry’s has been serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner year-round. If you’re looking for a down-to-earth dining experience without the fuss, head over to Henry’s for “just good, simple food done Outer Banks style.” Owners Henry and Linda Ezzell recognized a need for a no frills restaurant that didn’t skimp on quality or taste, but didn’t break the bank or require you to change out of your beach attire either. With something for everyone, any time of day, you can get something small and simple like a grilled cheese with fries and a pickle or go all out with a seafood combination platter like the Fried Seafood Lover’s Platter with shrimp, scallops, oysters and trout with your choice of two sides. Either way, you can’t go wrong with good, old fashioned Outer Banks style cooking.
In 1946, the Owen’s family moved their restaurant from Roanoke Island to Nags Head, but kept the same integrity and attention to detail that kept their business thriving. Come by for a mouthwatering lobster dinner or filet mignon, or just to hang out at the Station Keeper’s Lounge for a drink and live entertainment. As soon as you step foot through the front door, you’re immersed in local history, original OBX memorabilia, and family heirlooms. If an Outer Banks Museum and restaurant were combined, it would be Owen’s. Owned and operated by the same family over 70 years later…Owen’s Restaurant stands the test of time and after one visit you’ll see why!
The Colington Café
Last on this list but certainly not least, is The Colington Café. With fresh off the boat mahi, grouper, tuna and more and produce from the Inner Banks, your taste buds will crave The Colington Café after your first visit. Not only is the food delicious, but the atmosphere is unmatched. This restaurant is a bit of a hidden gem, operated from a Victorian house nestled among the oak trees and surrounding gardens. Whether you’re looking for divine she crab bisque, seafood pasta, or filet and crabmeat with a nice glass of cabernet sauvignon, you’re sure to find something to delight your palate. The Café is the perfect combination of comfy cozy meets high class.
The Outer Banks is full of family-owned establishments so it’s hard to only pick a few, but this is a good place to start! Did your favorite make our list?