Local Favorites & Tips


Situated on the southern Outer Banks, The Crystal Coast pairs unparalleled natural beauty with some of the best dining, shopping and local events in the state. Beneath the surface of its modern offerings, our area is steeped in history, from the lighthouse at Cape Lookout National Seashore to the homes in Beaufort dating back to the early 1700s. The diverse small towns of the Crystal Coast are proximate to each other, allowing visitors and residents to enjoy the local flavors and experiences of each area, easily moving from one to the next.  You may spend the morning perusing the charming shops on Front Street in Beaufort, stop for a famous shrimp burger at El’s Drive-In in Morehead City and spend the afternoon surf fishing at the Oeanana Pier in Atlantic Beach.

A Fancy Night Out – (Reservations Recommended)

Blue Moon Bistro, Beaufort – Blue Moon is my favorite place to celebrate a special occasion.  Their food is consistently fabulous and I always order one of the fish specials, entrees like fresh seared tuna over risotto or pan-seared grouper with homemade raviolis and seasonal vegetables.  Don’t skip dessert!  The flourless chocolate torte is to die for.

www.bluemoonbistro.biz – 252.728.5800

119 Queen Street, Beaufort

Kathryn’s Bistro & Martini Bar, Emerald Isle – Perhaps the biggest draw to  Kathryn’s is the extensive martini list (over 30 options to choose from!).  Once you’ve settled on your libation, you may wish to order the crab cakes, a dish perfected by the owners who are originally from Maryland.  For those who wish to stay on the island, Kathryn’s is an excellent choice.

www.kathrynsbistro.com  – 252.354.6200

8002 Emerald Drive, Emerald Isle

City Kitchen, Beaufort – In its new location at Town Creek Marina overlooking the water, City Kitchen is better than ever.  Offering delicious food and an extensive wine list, the restaurant’s location is perfect for watching boat traffic and taking in the sunset.  I love the pimento cheese appetizer as well as the shrimp and grits and the specials are always out of this world.

www.facebook.com/citykitchenfoods  – 252.648.8141

232 W. Beaufort Road, Beaufort

Parrots on 11th, Morehead City – Occupying the former location of City Kitchen in a quaint older home on 11th Street in downtown Morehead, Parrots knocks it out of the park with a seasonal menu featuring traditional fare such as fresh fish and homemade peach cobbler as well as inventive dishes such as their popular Scallop BLT.  Parrots has expanded their charming front porch to allow for additional seating, so weather permitting, be sure to request an outside table.

www.facebook.com/pages/Parrots-on-Eleventh – 252.773.0534

105 S. 11th Street, Morehead City


A Family Affair – For Diners of All Ages

Amos Mosquito’s, Atlantic Beach – Also a wonderful pick for a date night, Amos Mosquito’s has a family-friendly ambience, including an extensive kids menu with s’mores served tableside.  You can’t go wrong:  the seafood is fresh and delicious, my husband loves the homemade meatloaf and I dream about the fried pickle appetizer.

www.amosmosquitos.com – 252.247.6222

703 E. Fort Macon Road, Atlantic Beach

Ruddy Duck, Morehead City – Located on the Morehead Waterfront, Ruddy Duck is a local favorite for lunch or dinner.  You can arrive by boat or by car, but don’t leave without trying their spectacular loaded nachos or huge chicken burrito.  The “specials” board is always full of great options, but the arugula salad with fresh tomatoes is wonderful as is the shrimp burger with Caribbean slaw.

www.ruddyducktavern.com – 252.726.7500

509 Evans Street, Morehead City

The Spouter Inn, Beaufort – With seating outside over Taylor’s Creek, the water views alone are reason enough to eat at The Spouter Inn.  The menu offers something for everyone and features fresh bread and desserts from their in-house bakery.  Folks rave over The Spouter’s chowder as well as their extensive list of lunch sandwiches ranging from The Bird Shoal (egg salad with bacon and cheddar) to Busters Hide Out (soft shell crab in a pita).

www.thespouterinn.com – 252.728.5190

218 Front Street, Beaufort

Rucker Johns, Emerald Isle – A regional chain with locations in Wilmington and Greenville, Rucker Johns is famous for their croissants drizzled with honey butter.  They deliver for the whole family with a diverse menu that offers something for everyone.   From juicy burgers to seasonal salads, Rucker Johns is always a crowd pleaser.

www.ruckerjohns.com – 252.354.2413

8700 Emerald Drive, Emerald Isle


A Drink & A Bite

The Promise’ Land Market, Morehead City – Stop by PLM to pick up wine, craft beer or artisan cheeses or stay to enjoy a glass or a pint along with an appetizer at their bar shaped like the stern of a traditional Core Sound boat.  The owners, who are also great friends of mine, are knowledgeable and friendly and offer a fantastic selection.  I simply love this place.

www.facebook.com/PromiseLandMarket – 252.222.0422

909B Arendell Street, Morehead City

The Rhum Bar at The Front Street Grill at Stillwater, Beaufort – Enjoy unparalleled water views from this fabulous deck as well as delicious cocktails and light fare such as fried fresh okra with Cajun remoulade, white cheddar Tabasco Pimento cheese and peel and eat shrimp with comeback sauce.  The laid back, open-air ambience paired with their wonderful offerings will have you swearing you’re in the islands.

www.frontstreetgrillatstillwater/rhum-bar/ – 252.728.4956

300 Front Street, Beaufort

Arendell Room, Morehead City – Unless you consider cocktails made with ingredients like crushed mint and muddled watermelon a food group, you won’t technically find any “bites” at Arendell Room.  However, you can walk to loads of great restaurants from this downtown gem.  With its old school  bar interior and cozy rear patio, AR is a fantastic spot for a cold drink that’s just too wonderful not to mention.

www.arendellroom.com – 252.240.2753

715 Arendell Street, Morehead City

Local Tips

Best Locally Grown Produce

Garner Farm, Newport – Straight from their farm to your table, Garners is the place to go for fresh, local produce.  Take the whole family to pick your own strawberries when they’re in season!

www.facebook.com/pages/Garner-Farm/ – 252.223.5283


Best Farmer’s Market

The Friendly Market, Morehead City – Not just a produce stand, The Friendly Market offers prepared foods including entrees, soups and desserts.  They’re famous for their “Crack Pie” but just about anything you choose is sure to please.  The adjacent plant stand is a great spot to buy supplies for sprucing up your yard in the Spring or your Christmas tree come December.

www.thefriendlymarket.com – 252.808.7954


Best Time Saver

Harris Teeter Express Lane, Morehead City – Visit www.harristeeter.com and create a profile, selecting the groceries you’d like and the time you’d like to pick them  up in the special designated lane (they even load your car!).  The genius system saves your list allowing you to re-order staples and favorites easily.  Now you can spend your time on the water instead of on the bread aisle.

www.harristeeter.com – 252.240.3742


Best Fried Chicken for the Boat

Lowes Foods Deli Counter, Morehead City or Cape Carteret – Call ahead and the nice folks at Lowes will prepare your order for you – it’s always delicious, packed for easy transport and conveniently near the drinks and the chips.

www.lowesfoods.com – 252.726.2651 (Morehead City ) or 252.393.1602 (Cape Carteret)