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Jun 6, 2011 01:40 PM

Ocracoke 2011

I was looking at the "Best and Worst of the OBX" post and realized that some of the recommendations are 4 years old - including mine! So I thought I'd give an up-to-date list for the place I know best: Ocracoke Island.

Zillie's: This is a terrific addition to the island. A little more modern than most of the offerings, Zillie's is a great place to stop in for a beer or glass of wine. They have a wide selection of bottled beers to go and eight well chosen rotating beers on tap. And their wine selection beats any of the other stores on the island. Browse their gourmet foods for picnic ideas, too. They also offer wifi for those who need to connect. A/C inside and a nice porch out front.

Howard's Pub is no longer open 365 days a year. They in fact closed for three months this past winter. Kind of a bummer, but once again Howard's does not have the best food. It does still have the best beer list that takes up 4 pages, so well worth a visit. The burgers and steamer bar are still good, but don't go there just for that. It is the only place that can handle a large group and it is air conditioned.

Smac 'N Ally's has the best burgers on the island! Too bad NC has that stupid law about cooking them to medium well or more. But somehow Smac's still keep them tasty and juicy. Fish is fresh and tasty and their hushpuppies are really good too. And you can still watch the charter boats unload their catch while sitting on the dock drinking a very cold beer (not a great beer list, but if it's cold enough...). Outdoors only. That's what the beach is about!

Flying Melon: We discovered this place a couple years ago and have never been disappointed. With both indoor and outdoor seating, they have probably the best breakfast on the island and serve it until 2pm. That's great for folks like me who sleep late on vacation. And over Memorial Weekend I had a soft shell crab sandwich with the house remoulade. DH had a scallop and bacon omelet. Delicious!

Dajio's is consistently good and the new renovations are a vast improvement. Still maintains that island charm, but has more seating and beers on tap instead of just bottles. Their steamed shrimp special 3-5pm is a great deal and I think the best steamed shrimp around. The calamari is also very good. Also tried the Tempura Shrimp Wrap, Cuban Panini and Shrimp Salad Club at various times during our last visit. All were good, but we both felt like $12 was a bit much for what you get. DH is a big eater and left hungry each time. Screened porch, umbrella'd patio and partially screened bar.

Thai Moon: When you need a break from burgers and fish, this is an excellent option. Moon is direct from Thailand and her food is delicious. They have also recently hired a sushi chef and are offering a small selection of local sushi. The plan is that once it catches on, they will have sushi to go in coolers. Right now it is made to order, as is all the Thai food. A few outdoor tables and food to go.

Flying Melon
804 Irvin Garrish Hwy, Ocracoke, NC 27960

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    1. Just got back from Ocracoke, and had a great crab cake with remoulade sauce (the owner is from New Orleans) followed by an outstanding bread pudding at the Flying Melon. ( ) Highly recommended. Be sure to ask about the origin of the name!

      Also really liked the Cafe Atlantic ( and meant to buy their cookbook while I was there, but forgot to pick it up. Fortunately, it appears to be available online:

      If you're staying in a cottage with cooking facilities, you have to go to the Ocracoke Seafood Company ( and buy some of the fresh local seafood . And go there even if you aren't cooking just to peruse the day's offerings and to buy some fig cake, a local specialty that's sold by the slice there.

      Fig preserves are locally available later in the summer or you may get lucky, as I did, and find someone who still has a jar from last year. I got mine from Della Gaskill, a delightful lady who has a small shop behind her house near the lighthouse.

      And I can also recommend the Corner Crepe cart next to (and owned by) the Back Porch restaurant. I ordered crepes to go for lunch on several occasions and was never disappointed.

      Cafe Atlantic
      1129 Irvin Garris Hwy, Ocracoke, NC 27960

      Flying Melon
      804 Irvin Garrish Hwy, Ocracoke, NC 27960

      Back Porch Restaurant
      PO Box 420, Ocracoke, NC 27960

      1 Reply
      1. re: edintucson

        My SO (a musician who has been preforming on the island frequently this summer) agrees about the burgers at Smac n' Ally's! Also loves Ocracoke Coffee Company as a friendly comfortable place to get a cuppa and a nosh and relax.

        I received several slices of the fig cake from Ocracoke Seafood Company as consolation for a weekend home alone. That cake is wonderful! Very moist and spicy. with good keeping properties.

        Hopefully I'll get a chance to tag along this summer!

      2. Sorry to bring up an old thread but.... I'll be going to Ocracoke this weekend for a week's stay. I plan to prepare most of my own meals for the most part. Since it's been a dozen or more years since I've been there, I'm wondering just what sort of availability there is for good groceries. I'll be coming over on the SQ ferry on Sunday and can bring some things with me in a cooler. Is decent shopping available on the Island or up on Hatteras? I'll be needing some fresh herbs, veggies, probably some yogurt, cream, etc. I'm planning to bring staples with me.

        Thanks for the help!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Leepa

          Conners in Buxton is good. Small, but with a very nice selection and reasonable prices. Not sure about herbs, it has been several years since I was there. Most of the stores get wiped out on Saturdays when folks arrive for their visit. I find bringing a Brita filter handier than buying bottled water - sometimes the water doesn't have the best flavor.

          Have fun!

          1. re: meatn3

            Thanks for the info and the reminder about the water!

          2. re: Leepa

            Just got back from another trip there. This might be too late for your purposes: if you plan to cook most of the time, bring items that are important to you. Only the basics are available at the stores on Ocracoke. In fact, as of yesterday The Community Store still wasn't open for the season. We did go to Variety Store and spied a few fresh vegetables, but no fresh herbs. You can get terrific fresh local seafood from the Seafood Company. Other meats at the store but not a great selection. Dried goods like pasta, rice, beans, etc are available and if you aren't picky about brands you'll be ok. The vegetarian in our group always has a hard time eating on Ocracoke so we make sure to bring veggie staples with us. Going off island for groceries is over an hour each way, which we choose not to do as it disrupts an otherwise restful vacation!

            1. re: mojoeater

              Thanks. I was able to bring fresh herbs with me along with some staples. Augmented with things from Variety Store and the seafood market, I'm in good shape! Thanks!

              1. re: Leepa

                For anyone needing this info this summer, I thought that I'd mention that the Variety store had fresh Italian parsley, cilantro, and basil. A greater variety of herbs (and other ingredients) was found at the Food Lion in Avon.