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Restaurant Locations - Nags Head

Restaurants - Nags Head

When visitors to Nags Head ask about the best place to eat, locals may hesitate. Don’t worry. It has nothing to do with the food served here. It’s because their brain immediately floods with countless choices from casual cooking to creative cuisine.

You can pick up a scrumptious deli sandwich and picnic on the beach or dine in award-winning restaurants. As the popular saying goes, “It’s all good.” Naturally you’ll discover plenty of seafood selections varying from traditional fried fish with slaw to tuna-, crab- and eel-filled Japanese dragon rolls. Warm up with Hatteras clam chowder, savor mesquite grilled tuna or fill up on steamers. Meat lovers will appreciate the local barbecue haunts and plentiful prime rib specials. From pizza to lobster, you’ll satisfy any morning, noon or night craving. Dining attire is your choice. It’s not unusual for casual clothing to be worn in fine dining establishments. This is the beach after all!

Remember that locals call Croatan Highway—aka U.S. Highway 158—The Bypass, and they refer to Virginia Dare Trail—aka N.C. Highway 12—as the Beach Road. Those simple names are just easier to remember!

Owens’ Restaurant

  • 7114 S Virginia Dare Trail, The Beach Road, MP 16.5
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 441-7309

Owens’ is a Nags Head institution, featuring a legacy of fine dining by the sea since 1946. Diners can enjoy generous portions of fresh fish and shellfish from local watermen, whole Maine lobster, pasta, aged Harris ranch prime beef and outrageous house-made desserts. All entrees include a traditional crock of cheese with crackers as a starter. Owens’ also offers crisp, fresh garden salads drizzled with your choice of several delicious house-made dressings. Everything is seasoned with the famous hospitality of the family that has guided Owens’ for 67 years. Owens’ has an exceptional wine list, and they offer special buffets on Thanksgiving and Mother’s Day that are hugely popular. History buffs will marvel at Owens’ collections of museum-quality artifacts dedicated to the maritime history of the Outer Banks.

Pier House Restaurant

  • 3335 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head Fishing Pier, The Beach Road, MP 11.5
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 441-4200

The owners of the Pier house Restaurant have made a great thing even better. They have added a third seating area, outside on the pier deck, with full service for drinks and food. Colorful tables and friendly service make this a great way to enjoy this oceanfront atmosphere. In addition, the famous porch over the water now has air-conditioning just like the regular dining room. Whether you want to sit inside or out, enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner selections including fresh steamed seafood, fried seafood sandwiches, steaks and chicken served up with optional sides such as cole slaw, hush puppies and fries. They’ll even cook your own catch if you like. They have a full bar and serve cocktails, wine and beer and feature live nightly entertainment on the deck during the summer. The Pier House is open daily April through November with dinner served through mid-October.

Pizzazz Pizza Company

  • 2515 S. Croatan Highway, The Bypass, MP 10.5
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 261-1111

Pizza is the perfect food when you’re feeding a crowd, and Pizzazz even offers free delivery to get it to your crowd without any hassle. In addition to pizza, they also feature subs, wings and salads.

Red Drum Grille and Taphouse

  • 2412 S. Virginia Dare Trail, The Beach Road, MP 10
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 480-1095

Dine in cozy ambiance and enjoy a variety of lunch and dinner dishes, including sandwiches, burgers, fish and chips and steamed seafood and vegetables plus ribs, steaks, vegetarian dishes, seafood pasta and more. Like the setting, the food could be dubbed “comfort with an upscale dash.” Most any beer lover will be happy as a clam here with 18 beers on tap. Be sure to check out their weekly changing draft beer and entree pairings. Red Drum is closed December and January and reopens in February around President’s Day weekend.

Sam & Omie’s

  • 7228 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Beach Road, MP 16.5
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 441-7366

Originally opened by a couple of fishermen as a pre-fishing breakfast stop, Sam & Omie’s is celebrating its 76th season and shows no signs of stopping as they head toward the century mark! Stop here for a true Nags Head eating experience. The place exudes a beachy atmosphere and serves up plenty of tasty dishes morning, noon and night, including omelets, hamburgers, club sandwiches and prime rib and seafood dinners. Try the shrimp burger — it’s popular for a reason! A full bar makes this a social stop for locals and visitors alike. They are closed December through February.

Scammell’s Corner Surf Shop & Ice Cream Parlor

  • 6406 S. Virginia Dare Trail, The Beach Road, MP 15.5
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 715-1727

Scammell’s, a family-owned and -operated shop, offers 48 hand-dipped Hershey ice cream flavors in cups, cones, sundaes, banana splits, shakes or floats. It’s a surf shop, too — a new shop that feels like it’s been here forever. They have custom boards hand-shaped by Tom Neilson, plus custom board fins, and they also rent boards and do surf lessons. Not a surfer but love the waves? You’ll find boogie boards and skim boards too. Scammell’s sells clothing and swimsuits from Lucy Love, Body Glove and Synergy. You’ll find great handmade Island sandals from Hawaii, teak tables and chairs, tie-dye items, custom-designed T-shirts, Himalayan rock salt lamps and lots of gifts for your friends back home.


  • 5205 S. Croatan Highway, The Bypass, MP 14
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 441-9030

You are probably already familiar with this chain restaurant. They have fast-food standards like burgers and hot dogs, but they also have good milk shakes and sundaes, fruit slushes, breakfast sandwiches, traditional tater tots and sweet potato tots, spicy jumbo popcorn chicken bites and more. There is not an entrance directly off The Bypass, so turn down one of the side streets nearby.

Sooey’s BBQ and Rib Shack

  • 3919 S. Croatan Highway, The Bypass, MP 12.5
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 449-6465

Owned and operated by fifth generation Dare County locals, Sooey’s BBQ specializes in authentic eastern North Carolina pork barbecue, slow-smoked ribs, beef brisket, pulled barbecue chicken and Southern fried chicken (Sooey’s won Best Fried Chicken in the 2013 Taste of the Beach Barbecue Showdown). Their savory pulled pork barbecue and ribs are made from an Outer Banks recipe with roots as deep as those on their own family tree. All the favorite homemade sides are here, including potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, mac and cheese, corn bread, onion rings and killer hush puppies. Appetizers, wings, burgers, sandwiches, salads and kids’ favorites are also available. You can sit down and eat in the restaurant, but Sooey’s excels at take-out, prepared family meals and catered events; call ahead for large orders. They also have locations in Corolla and Duck.

South Beach Grille

  • 6806 S. Virginia Dare Trail, The Beach Road, MP 16
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 449-9313

Come see the newly remodeled South Beach Grille. With a truly affordable menu consisting of local seafood, lots of signature salads, sandwiches, lettuce wraps, Caribbean-inspired entrees, steaks and terrific homemade desserts, South Beach Grille is a great place to eat on the beach. Deck-top dining is available, with views of both the ocean and the sound, and you can enjoy a smoothie or a specialty drink from their full bar. Like ribs? Stop in on Wednesday for an all-you-can eat option. Like wings? Then stop in on Friday and get wings in six flavors for 35 cents each, then wash them down with the $2.50 domestic beer special of the day. South Beach has a good kids’ selection and offers extensive gluten-free choices and lots of options for vegetarians too. Your meal is prepared fresh to order; if you have any special dietary needs please inform your server. If you’re staying in Nags Head, they offer in-season late night delivery. South Beach Grille is open Monday through Saturday during the summer and are closed on Sundays.

Stone Oven Pizza

  • 7531 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head/Manteo Causeway, Caribbean Corners
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 441-7775

Stone Oven is a convenient stop off the causeway and features great pizza, calzones, sub sandwiches, a variety of appetizers including chicken wings and mozzarella sticks, plus salads, sodas and beer. They’ve got a beautiful soundfront location, and you can eat on the deck while overlooking the water. You can also take it to go. They offer free delivery all day within Nags Head and Pirate’s Cove (in the less busy times of year, they’ll deliver to Manteo and farther up the beach; just call and ask). Stone Oven is open year round.

Sugar Creek Soundfront Seafood Restaurant

  • 7340 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head/Manteo Causeway
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 441-4963

Offering a primo location right on the water, Sugar Creek has been serving the freshest seafood available to locals and visitors for years. The views of Sugar Creek and the Roanoke Sound are incredible. The outdoor walkways and decks on the property are great for strolling along and viewing the resident wildlife. Before dinner, enjoy a drink from their outdoor gazebo bar. Folks can also enjoy the newly expanded covered decks for awsome outside dining and specacular views of the Roanoke Sound. The fresh, local tuna, shrimp and scallops are expertly prepared at Sugar Creek and keep seafood lovers happy. Also on the menu are favorites like steaks, prime rib, chicken, ribs, pasta, salads, soups, burgers and sandwiches. Sugar Creek won the 2010 Taste of the Beach People’s Choice award for their Shrimp & Grits. They have a children’s menu. The newly expanded dining room easily accommodates large parties and special events like rehearsal dinners. Sugar Creek serves lunch and dinner daily in season and is open from March through December. Check out The Sugar Shack, located next door, for great take-out seafood and a quick bite.

Sugar Shack

  • 7340 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head/Manteo Causeway
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 441-3888

Sugar Shack is located right next to Sugar Creek Soundfront Seafood Restaurant. This is the place to pick up the freshest seafood around. Choose from steamed seafood like shrimp, lobster and king crab legs, or pick up a steamer bucket with a variety of seafood. They even serve fried seafood. In fact, the fresh fish sandwiches and boats (including Shack chips and slaw) they make here are some of the best we’ve ever eaten anywhere! Everything is cooked to order. They have increased their seating outside—the owner calls it shaded-deck dining. So you can dine inside or out, and either way you’ll have a fantastic view of the sound and super sunsets. They also stock beer. The Sugar Shack is a great way to feed a crowd at home, and they deliver within a 6-mile radius.

Taiko Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar

  • 5000 S. Croatan Highway, Outer Banks Mall, The Bypass, MP 14
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 449-8895

Taiko serves Japanese food, with lots of healthy and flavorful options. Great sushi, miso soup, tempura, seaweed salad (try it!) and tasty plum wine…yum! They also serve traditional preparations of shrimp, beef, chicken and noodles. This food is fresh and affordable. Taiko is open for lunch and dinner year round.

The Snowbird

  • 3530 S. Virginia Dare Trail, The Beach Road, MP 12
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 480-0000

The Snowbird boasts more than 24 flavors of soft-serve ice cream, which is a really popular feature with kids. Locals and vacationers love the burgers, sandwiches and seafood at this drive-up stop. The treats here are served to-go only, but there are a few picnic tables and seats if you want to eat here. One of the best things about this little spot is that it’s open until midnight during the summer — in case you just have to have that ice cream well after the hour you should!

Thumper’s Coastal Grille

  • 2519 S. Croatan Highway, The Beach Road, MP 10.5
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 480-1613

Thumpers features a wide selection of all-American food, from appetizers such as nachos, chicken wings, crab and cheese dip, coconut, stuffed jalepenos and buffalo fried shrimp to a variety of handmade burgers and sandwiches (include barbecue, tuna steak, crab cake and a fresh fish Reuben). You can also satisfy your beach appetite with baskets of chicken strips, popcorn shrimp, fresh fried oysters and hand-breaded calamari served with fries and homemade slaw. Sides include onion rings, pasta, potato salad, cole slaw, black beans and rice, veggie of the day and more. Thumpers also offers a number of dinner entrees including a pasta of the day, house-cut steaks, Baja fish tacos, a pulled pork barbecue platter, a seafood platter and several other tasty options. Come out for their live entertainment and late night menu serving until midnight.

Tropical Smoothie Café

  • 2236 S. Croatan Highway, The Bypass, MP 10, Plaza del Sol
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 441-3500

We love the fruit smoothies here, and there are many to choose from — low fat, weight gain (as if!), power, even smart smoothies! The cafe offers healthy breakfasts, salads, wraps and flat bread sandwiches. Have a sweet tooth? Try a dessert smoothie with Ghirardelli chocolate. Tropical Smoothie is open year round. Let them cater your next event.

Viva Mexican Grill

  • 2424 S. Croatan Highway, The Bypass, MP 10.5
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 441-1601

If you’re a fan of build-your-own Mexican taco bars, you’ll love this new spot. You go down the line, telling them what you want — be it burrito, taco, taco salad — then specify the ingredients of your choice, including several meats and sauteed fresh veggies. It’s fast and fresh and good. The interior is punctuated with bright colors that complement the south of the border food. Best of all, a meal here is definitely in the wallet-friendly range.

Waveriders Coffee & Deli

  • 6705-A S. Croatan Highway, The Bypass, MP 15.5
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 715-1880

The only coffee shop on the southern end of Nags Head, Waveriders is a great stop for breakfast or lunch. For breakfast, they have amazing panini pressed breakfast sandwiches, muffins, pastries, bagels and health-conscious choices such as yogurt with fresh fruit (yay!). They also have gluten-free bread, bagels and locally made pastries! The lunch selections include a variety of panini pressed sandwiches and wraps all made with the trusted Boar’s Head brand. They also have several vegetarian options. They serve breakfast or lunch any time of day along with real fruit smoothies and frozen drinks. Waveriders has free WiFi, of course! The shop offers bistro seating, leather chairs and couches and outdoor seating on the porch. They are open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (though hours may be extended in summer).

Wonderberry Frozen Yogurt & Desserts

  • 4104 S. Virginia Dare Trail, The Beach Road, MP 13, Surfside Plaza
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 255-0977

Wonderberry Frozen Yogurt & Desserts offers a choice of self-serve frozen yogurts in a variety of low- and non-fat flavors (eight flavors daily from an ever-growing selection) and has a topping bar complete with a multitude of fresh fruit options, dry toppings such as candy bar and cookie crumbles, M&Ms, coconut, granola, sprinkles and more in addition to several flavors of syrups from chocolate to raspberry and butterscotch. Coffees, teas, European-style cakes, scrumptious crepes, Belgian waffles and other snacks are also on a menu.

Yellow Submarine

  • 5000 S. Croatan Highway, The Bypass, MP 14, Outer Banks Mall
  • Nags Head
  • (252) 441-3511

Yellow Submarine features hot and cold specialty subs featuring Boars Head meats. Definitely try their Philly Cheese Steak Sub — it’s great! They also offer pizza and fresh salads. Kids dig the chicken tenders and their own specialty pizzas and will stay entertained with the video games. Beverages include beer on tap, soft drinks and tea. Eat-in or take-out service is available, as is delivery within a specific area for a dollar fee.

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