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Sep 6, 2007 07:58 AM

Outer Banks restaurant good for kids?

I'm a freelance writer who is writing about the Outer Banks. I'm looking for a restaurant that is really fun for kids. The food has to be good, but it also has to stand out as a fun place for kids. (Not a chain.) I visited the Outer Banks recently (but before I got this assignment) and I didn't happen upon any restaurants like this. Does anyone have a recommendation? It would be much appreciated.

Jody Mace

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  1. Hmmm...this could be tough one. Are you looking for a Chucky Cheese kind of place or simply a place that works for kids? Several of the local eateries serve kids "cocktails" with rubber sharks in them and that kind of stuff. The Rundown
    Cafe' in Kitty Hawk, for example, but there really aren't what I would call "kids" restaurants.

    7 Replies
    1. re: SweetPhyl

      Thanks. No, I'm not looking for a Chucky Cheese type thing. Just a place that has something that appeals to kids, a place that kids would see as fun. For example, in a different area, there's a restaurant that has a bunch of old pirate ship type memorabilia, and kids like looking at it.


      1. re: jodym

        Hey, Jody. Since you don't say where on the Outer Banks you'll be, I'm going to assume you'll be centrally located in the Nags Head/Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk area.

        You'll find that most of the restaurants have kids menus except for the higher end places. Offerings are pretty standard - pizza, chicken tenders, spaghetti, sometimes hot dogs, fish/clam strips/ fried shrimp - the usual. Some places serve the kids meals on a frisbee that you get to take with you, and serve drink in plastic cups with toys - a shark filled with grenadine for a 'bloody' drink, a bendy get the picture.

        Some spots our kids like:

        Goombays - The decor here is fun - the dining room is set up like you're underwater, so you can see a surfer's arms and legs sticking from the ceiling, dolphins diving, jellyfish and sea turtles...and the back wall is painted with an underwater mural. No frisbees here, but a decent kids menu and great and interesting specials for the grown-ups. One of the appetizers is alligator bites if you and your kids are the enterprising types (tastes like chicken!) It's on the Beach Road.

        Black Pelican - the decor tends more towards the historical. Good food, great brick oven pizza, frisbees and drinks for the kids, interesting chef's specials. It's on the Beach Road right across the street from one of the beach accesses, so you can get views of the ocean from some of the seating.

        Kill Devil's - on the Bypass. Limited outdoor seating. I recommend it mostly for the great frozen custard, but the boardwalk fries are also good and they have multiple types of seasoning for them.

        Mama Kwan's has a kids menu and fun decor. Dirty Dick's is good if you like basic steamed or fried seafood - they do frisbees as well. If your kids are into the pirate thing, the Jolly Roger is heavily into that and Christmas decorations that stay up all year. We were not impressed with the food there, but it's definitely kid friendly - oh, and the menu leans Italian although they have a range of offerings.

        Breakfast - do not miss the Ship's Wheel! They are open only during the season - roughly May - October - and they only do breakfast. Since that's all they do, they focus on doing it as well as they can. The food is great, reasonably priced and the service is outstanding.

        Hope this helps...

        1. re: Leronis

          Thanks so much. That's a big help.

          1. re: jodym

            I forgot to mention Big Al's in Manteo. We've never been there, but it's a retro soda fountain-type place that serves hot dogs/burgers/shakes/ice cream sundaes - very kid-friendly. An actual renovated diner houses the Kill Devil Grill.

            On the mainland on the way to the beach, along 158 in - I think - Grandy, is Mel's Diner, another renovated diner. They serve kid's meals in a cardboard Cadillac.

            1. re: Leronis

              Big Al's is definitely kid-friendly, and there's a lot to take in, what with the 50's motif and all. And it's always open, which is how I've found myself there on two occasions. It's just a shame about the food.......

              1. re: cackalackie

                That bad, huh? Can you elaborate? We've considered going there on occasion when we're on the OBX with the kids just because of the whole ice cream soda fountain deal. Is the food really bad?

                1. re: Leronis

                  It's just lots of fried stuff and burgers. So just choose accordingly. The first time we went, someone in our party chose the tuna salad. It was an ordinary iceberg tossed salad with a piece of tuna on top = cooked very well done (and very dry as a result). But then I knew not to order that kind of a dish there. So if you stick to burgers and fries and that kind of thing, you should be OK. And definitely get the sodas and floats.....

    2. Smac 'N Ally's on Ocracoke Island is a great spot. It's right on the docks where the charter boats come in. Kids can watch as the fish are pulled off the boats, measured and butchered. Pretty cool. The food is largely local seafood and really good burgers.

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