Takeout that goes beyond burgers and beach fries
By Maddie Lutz | Correspondent
No one wants to waste a beautiful beach day waiting to get seats at a restaurant or standing in line at the grocery store. Luckily, the Outer Banks is blessed with many different options when it comes to takeout food, especially ones that go beyond the standard fried or “fast food.” You can still experience the Outer Banks’ dining scene without taking hours out of your busy day. The locally owned businesses range from fast and fresh juice bars to seafood shacks and deli counters. They make it easy to get the flavors you crave without all the hassle.
Coastal Cravings, 1209 Duck Road, Duck
This local hot spot is open for all three meals of the day but is best known for their breakfast and lunch. Cravings specializes in dishes like Huevos Rancheros, Coconut Crusted Shrimp and quite a few sandwich basket options. Whatever you choose to order, add on a side of hushpuppies – you won’t regret it! Advertised as a “quick-service restaurant,” Coastal Cravings is the only drive-thru in Duck, making it the perfect restaurant for people on the go. In addition to the sizable variety of menu options, Cravings set itself apart from the rest when it was featured by Guy Fieri on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” several years ago.
Eventide, 1190 Duck Road, Duck
Hit the beach with unfussy sustenance or hit it with a sophisticated spread — this elegant bistro enables both. Specializing in cheese and charcuterie boards, fine wines and craft beer, you can get one of their boards boxed up to go along with a regional beer or crisp sauvignon blanc to pour oceanside. They make a mean sandwich, too, such as the Blue-LT (house-made blue cheese spread with prosciutto, lettuce and tomato), or try the Hummus and Feta Salad for cooling veggies loaded with protein. Children get a kick out of the kid-friendly cheeseboards and the gooey grilled cheese sandwiches. You can order ahead online (www.eventideduck.com) or place your order there and hangout on their waterfront deck while you wait.
The Outer Bean Cafe, 3701 N. Croatan Highway, Kitty Hawk
The Outer Bean is a hidden gem in Kitty Hawk with plenty of healthy, plant-based options. Their menu ranges from salads, paninis, smoothies, juices and more, and many dishes include a touch of Mediterranean flare. They also offer a variety of protein smoothies, such as the Healing (avocado, celery, ginger, banana, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, hemp protein and almond milk), that are perfect as a pre or post-workout boost. Fresh-pressed juices, specifically the Beet Dream and Mean Green, are sure to kick any cold out the door. Lastly, much of the menu is vegetarian or vegan, ensuring a healthy and environmentally friendly start to your day.
PokeBox, 2236 S. Croatan Highway, Nags Head
Opened in 2020 by the folks behind Taiko Japanese Restaurant, PokeBox is quickly becoming a local favorite, and it’s clear why. This counter-service poke joint uses the freshest of ingredients to let customers build and customize their own poke bowl from a variety of options. First, you pick a base (white rice, brown rice, spring mix, chips). Then, you choose your protein(s) (sashimi-style tuna, salmon, steak, tofu, etc.). Next, add your mix-ins from a list of veggies, fruits and herbs. Lastly, pile on your sauces and toppings. The PokeBox is not to be missed as a new kid on the block for the Outer Banks’ takeout options.
Waves Market & Deli, 26006 N.C. Highway 12, Rodanthe
Waves Market and Deli is hands-down the best place in Rodanthe to get a sandwich, any sandwich. Their ample menu boasts homemade bread, freshly sliced deli meats and cheeses and several vegetarian and vegan options. Sandwiches range from breakfast burritos to breakfast sandwiches, classic cold-cut subs to veggie burgers. Most of these generous sandwiches can easily be shared with another person. … if you can both agree on one to try. Be sure to check out their extensive beer selection to find the perfect craft drink to pair with your handheld. As the name of the business suggests, this deli doubles as a market that sells enough products to fill your fridge with food for the week. That being said, be sure to bring an extra cooler with you so that you can take advantage of the scrumptious local cuisine for more than just one meal.
Back Porch Lunch Box, 747 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke
The Back Porch Restaurant in Ocracoke maintains this little outpost along the main road through the village for convenient access to fast-casual, takeaway fare. The menu includes delicious sandwiches, fruit smoothies, cold drinks, hand-dipped ice cream and home-baked goodies. It’s easy, unfussy beach-day food, and they even cater lunches for bigger groups (if you call ahead). Back Porch Lunch Box offers quite a few healthy options, including a hummus wrap, kale salad and their Protein Pot (a rotating selection of fish over a salad). There’s also several mouthwatering desserts, including a Watermelon Granita, Mango-Kiwi Smoothie and Dark Chocolate Ganache Shot.