Awful Arthur's Oyster Bar marks 33 years shucking on the beach

Oysters, oysters and more oysters — and lots more on the menu to feast on — at Awful Arthur's Oyster Bar in Kill Devil Hills.

As the temperature drops, consider the oyster. Consider the ways you have always heard they could be prepared but never got around to trying.

Try the recipe that calls for way too much cream and twice the amount of butter you normally consume in a week. Try that stuffing recipe even if it is not a holiday. Try the fancy mignonette sauce.

When you need someone else to do the shucking, try Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar.

Like the old friend you just fall in with when together, there is an easy vibe when you find yourself slurping briny oysters at their copper top bar. There is something timeless about the legendary oyster bar across from Avalon Pier; you can almost feel the saltiness that came before you. Sit at the bar and watch the shuckers open them by the dozen and by the peck.

In these parts, the common oyster is anything but common. The Crassostrea virginica is the type of oyster indigenous to southern waters and the type of oyster most commonly found at local roasts and in restaurants.

Order them raw, steamed, fried or topped; order them for lunch, dinner and late night eats.

Awful Arthur’s is open year-round and staffed by good neighbors you just want to be around. It has always been that way. Now in its 33rd year, the fun, lively atmosphere is a hallmark of this oyster bar and only happens because the staff keeps it upbeat.

The menu is diverse; they do have a lot more than oysters. If you want to stick with seafood, you can find shrimp, snow crab legs, clams and lobster tails. They also have soft shell crab, crab cake and fried scallop sandwiches. Fresh fish is also always on the menu.

The menu also blurs the lines between lunch and dinner. You can have filet mignon for lunch and a burger for dinner. Sandwiches, pasta, soups and salads are all available all day long. They also are large party friendly.

If you like to share, order the Oysters Arthur, broiled with bacon, cocktail sauce and Parmesan; and the clams casino, with salty clams broiled with garlic butter, sweet peppers, and bacon.

Seafood and pork is a classic combo, and these two different presentations are a fun way to kick off a meal.

The soup and salad crowd will love it here, too. Whether you choose their tomato based crab soup, the rich, creamy crab and lobster bisque, or the New England style clam chowder, you will be happy you did, they are all deeply satisfying and chock full of seafood. Add a house salad, shrimp or tuna salad plate or a crispy cold seasonal salad that can be topped with chilled shrimp, or blackened or grilled chicken or tuna.

Check the restaurant’s website for daily lunch specials, like a bowl of oyster stew with corn bread, crab stuffed fried flounder with fries, slaw, and lemon sour cream sauce or bourbon chicken over rice.

If you are also looking for a view, be sure to check out the upstairs where you can enjoy your oysters and the ocean.

Remember to also consider the classic Awful Arthur’s T-shirt, for yourself or a pal, they do make great holiday gifts.

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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