I met Wayne and Shawn Everhart of South Beach Takeout, Catering, & Delivery in between the lunch and dinner rush on a Wednesday afternoon.

These guys are all “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am,” with lots of eye contact and polite, fluid conversation. They’re the type of guys you’d love to bring home to mom- charming and friendly, not to mention super-talented in the kitchen. They both come across a little modest and reserved but any shyness is unwarranted. Wayne, Shawn, Maranda, and the rest of the Everhart family with a hand in the restaurant, can afford to be a bit cocky.

With a contemporary mix of Asian, Mexican, and American food plus plenty of guilty pleasures and outside-the-box vegan options on the menu, the flavors here are deliciously loud and alluring, benefitting from homemade sauces, fresh ingredients, and edgy concepts. This food is recognizable but with interesting twists, offering something for everybody.

Wayne and I talked for a bit about their award-winning food truck, Fork’et Me Not, which is a mobile extension of South Beach Takeout, Catering, & Delivery. It allows the Everharts to take their creative, craveable dishes beyond the OBX and share them with the rest of the east coast. Wayne and Shawn’s parents and founders of this 32-year-old family restaurant business, Wayne and Kerstin Everhart, are busy motoring Fork’et Me Not around to festivals and events, as well as providing full-service meals and catering from the modern kitchen on wheels. Wayne Jr. and Shawn team up in the kitchen at South Beach to supplement all the preparation these large catering events require, in addition to feeding South Beach’s day-to-day hungry guests.

On my first visit to this chill, handcrafted space in Nags Head’s Surfside Plaza, my husband, Joey, and I brought our puppy, Bear, so we could “ooo” and “aww” over him ravaging one of the Doggie Bowls on South Beach’s menu. I helped myself to a taste of Bear’s Sassy Salmon Bowl (delicious!) before he exhausted himself licking up every last bit. Joey and I snacked on fried pickles, lounging in the afternoon shade on South Beach’s outdoor patio. Wayne said the pickles were coated in “just a tempura batter” but I’m suspicious. There’s something extra special about the fluffy-crisp batter and the way it clings to the pickles, sparing you the heartbreak of that ultimate fried-food sin: when the fried item disappointingly pulls completely out of its crispy shell at first bite. No disappointment here, these fried pickles were puckery and salty and perfect, particularly when dipped in South Beach’s sweet and tangy BBQ Ranch sauce on the side.

While Bear enjoyed friendly pettings from Shannon, who’d taken our order and brought our food out to us, we dove into a Taco Philly — an epic Philly cheesesteak with a Mexican twist, loaded with thinly shaved, seared ribeye and homemade queso — and a Seaside Bowl teeming with garlicky-sauced rice noodles, lots of fresh veggies, and salmon. Scooping up perfectly seasoned salmon and broccoli coated in the sweet and spicy Thai sauce, and catching creamy queso drips from the juicy cheesesteak, we noted that the quality of the food really stands out here. It’s clear everything is made fresh to order, with great ingredients, punched up by the Everharts’ compelling spins on flavor.

Although I’m not a vegan, I appreciate the ingenuity the cuisine sometimes necessitates. Not that veggies can’t be delightful on their own, but I/we maybe are so accustomed to certain proteins on our plates that it’s exciting when people like the Everharts create plant-based meals that surpass traditional choices in character and flavor. The vegan and gluten-free options at South Beach are in balance with the rest of the available dishes, truly providing lots of tempting opportunities for everyone, no matter your dietary preference. The Everharts are also downright meticulous about customers’ allergies and they carefully double check everything that leaves the kitchen anytime an allergy is mentioned.

After chatting with Wayne, I left with one of their popular vegan Yum Yum Bowls and a wrap. I’m not too shy to say I ate about a third of the fried cauliflower, fresh peppers, and rice from the Yum Yum Bowl with my hands before making time to grab a fork. It was instantly addictive mostly due, for me, to the homemade vegan batter on the fried cauliflower, adding layers of texture to the crisp-tender veggies, and the deep and creamy sauce backed up with the creeping heat of sriracha. It reminded me of a much more luscious, sophisticated vegetable version of General Tso’s chicken. I felt a sudden swing of interest in veganism and paused my indulgence just long enough to send Wayne an excited “this cauliflower is amazing!!” text. Then, the meal went up another level with the Southwest BBQ Wrap, which was stuffed with nicely charred, blackened chicken, cheese, lettuce, tomato, black beans, and corn. I took serious pleasure in finding smoky bacon and crispy fried onions tucked in along with that favorite BBQ Ranch sauce, as well.

The Everharts have helped fill a gap in the Outer Banks by spoiling us (and our pups) with exciting food for every taste and preference. They’re taking us all to school with their vegan offerings, sweetening the plant-based pot with all kinds of tasty nuance and technique. The menu is so rich with variety and promise of a yummy meal; whatever you’re in the mood for, South Beach and the Everharts have got it.

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