One of the few places on the Outer Banks where you can truly dine wave-top, the Pier House Restaurant, along with Capt. Andy’s Oceanfront Tiki Bar and Grill, on top of the Nags Head Fishing Pier on the beach road, provides a nostalgic beach front dining experience with a nod to modern appetites.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, or anything you want to call it, the kitchen is open all day. Depending on the time of your meal, you might be able to watch waves crash, local surfers paddle and ride, and shore birds scurry.

If you were just fishing on the beach, and you actually caught something, this is the place to bring your fresh catch, and they will cook it up for you. A favorite offering of the eatery is the You Hook ’Em, We Cook ’Em special; you just catch and clean your fish, and they will cook ’em and serve ‘em back to you with French fries, slaw and hush puppies. They will prepare it your favorite way, fried, grilled or blackened. A favorite of fisherman for years, be sure to take advantage of this offer. Your dishwasher will thank you. Yes, you can also order something similar, if you didn’t catch. They are prepared that way.

One of the saltiest menus on the beach, this is one of the few places on the beach that serves fried salt herring for breakfast, as well as salt cured cream chipped beef on a biscuit or toast. These are but a few of the available dishes that are so comforting and old-school that they are now new-school.

Fried sea trout is also available for breakfast with your eggs and so it roe, when available. You are getting the idea. Multi-ingredient omelets, eggs all ways, breakfast meats of every cut and the beloved Em scramble (eggs with either bacon or sausage, scrambled with cheese) are orders uttered, without a glance at the menu, by familiar diners.

The tables are small; the servers choreograph their moves, and locals nod hellos.

This is comfort and hustle at the same time. You will know when it is time to leave, especially if the crowd waiting begins to block the front door.

Lunch and dinner visitors will have similar interactions, with a variety of appetizers, sandwiches and daily specials featuring fresh seafood. Steamed and fried seafood baskets can be shared with pals or combined with your favorite sides for a made to order platter. Salads can also be topped with grilled steak, tuna, chicken or fish or even fried oysters. A full bar rounds out the menu for all age groups.

There is also live, oceanfront entertainment on the outdoor deck, six nights a week and boast 30 beers on tap. A seasonal late night menu is available until 11 pm. This is a great location for a pre- or post-dinner stroll on the pier to see what is being caught or just to enjoy the view back to shore, wave-top.

Amy Gaw is a food entrepreneur who has eaten, cooked and written about food on the Outer Banks and surrounding areas for more than three decades. A clean food advocate with a focus on local seafood, Gaw is also a salt maker and the founder of Outer Banks SeaSalt.

Amy Gaw is a food entrepreneur who has eaten, cooked and written about food on the Outer Banks and surrounding areas for more than three decades. A clean food advocate with a focus on local seafood, Gaw is also a salt maker and the founder of Outer Banks SeaSalt.

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