Crystal Coast Dining
NC Hounds, we're going to Pine Knoll Shores this weekend. I've read some of the threads on Chowhound but thought I'd ask for the latest info. We'll be looking for good, local seafood (non-chain) in Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, or Beaufort. Has anybody had a great dining experience down that way lately?
McCurdy's in Atlantic Beach and Ruddy Duck Tavern on the Morehead waterfront are usually very good. The Crab's Claw was good when I ate there a couple of years ago. It's at the circle on Atlantic Beach. Also, Mrs Culpepper's Crab Cafe was supposed to have closed as of January 2011, but I saw they were still open last time I was there a few weeks ago. Must have sold it? Their crab cakes are very good and I recommend buying in bulk. They're located on Hwy 70 as you come into Morehead City on the left (westbound) side. Mrs Culpepper started as a soft shell crab farmer, and I'm pretty sure she's still doing this despite whatever happened with the restaurant. The crab does not get fresher than hers. If you're going to Pine Knoll, I recommend stopping there on the way in as it's probably too far to go during the weekend and they're not open on Sundays.
Mrs Culpepper's Crab Cafe
5370 Hwy 70 W Ste D, Morehead City, NC 28557
Ruddy Duck Tavern
509 Evans St, Morehead City, NC 28557
They actually had a for sale ad in the paper last year. Back around September I spoke with Mr. Culpepper and he said they were really having a tough time with the restaurant and if they didn't sell it, they were closing as of Dec/January. Also had a hard time with the crab crop which wasn't making it any easier. IMO they weren't charging enough for their food. So either they sold it or have come by the means of keeping it open longer.
We had a great weekend at the Atlantis Lodge in Pine Knoll Shores. Some great food, too. We bought local shrimp at Captain Jim's Seafood in Morehead City and had peel & eat shrimp which were delicious. We also bought soft shell crabs there on the way home which were wonderful. Shrimp burgers at Big Oak in Salter Path hit the spot. Shrimp burgers at El's in Morehead City are also good but not as good as Big Oak. Our one nice meal out was at Aqua in Beaufort. Interesting small plates and lots of great flavors.
PeterB: Do you have dogs? We just came back from Atlantis this past weekend. Our favorite place at the beach and very dog friendly. We got take out two nights at Amos Mosquitos in Atlantic Beach. We did fried flounder and scallops one night and then grilled tuna, shrimp and scallops the other. Both nights the seafood was very fresh and well prepared. For lunch we did shrimp burgers at El's Drive In one day and Big Oak the other; I vote for El's by a slight margin. For our big night out Beaufort Grocery was nice enough to seat our dog with us at an outdoor table. Had a blackened tuna special, sald, gazpacho, crab cake appetizer and cheesecake -- all of it superb.
Beaufort Grocery Co
117 Queen St, Beaufort, NC 28516
3706 Arendell St, Morehead City, NC 28557
Amos Mosquito's Restaurant & Bar
703 E Fort Macon Rd, Atlantic Beach, NC 28512