My husband, daughter and I will finally be going back to Nags Head next week for a few days of total relaxation. Ahhhh…. finally. Nags Head is my most favorite place in the world to be. My grandparents retired and built a home on MP 14, sound side, the home I spent many summer weeks in and every Thanksgiving until I was 12. There are many traditions my family kept in our many years of vacationing in the 252. Sam & Omie’s, my dad’s most favorite place in the world to be, (as long as there was a cold Budweiser in his hand) Oregon Inlet to see the fishing boats come in, and shopping at the Tanger Outlets, are just a few of these traditions. Since I’ve become an adult and experienced the Outer Banks on my own for many years now, I’ve created a few of my own. All I can think about right now is a freakin’ Dune Burger!
On my first wedding Anniversary, my husband and I went down to South Nags Head for about 4 days. We were married in Nags Head, so going back for the first Anniversary seemed only natural. I remembered that my friend Allen used to rave about Dune Burger. He used to say it was the best burger on the island. In my formative years, I never took him seriously because the place was a total dump and never even looked like it was open. On my anniversary weekend, I felt it was time to give it a try. Not only was Allen right, but Dune Burger is quite possibly the best “fast” burger I’ve ever had. I’d compare it to In-n-Out Burger in Cali, sans the customers, cheery employees, reputable looking establishment and speedy service. This place is the epitome of the term “dive.” It still never looks like it’s open. I’ve never seen more than 1 car parked in front of the damn place. There are only 2 picnic tables in front of the building to sit down and eat. When you go up to the counter, you feel a little strange, like “am I in the right place? Is anybody here?”. But rest assured, someone is there, a local of course, whom you may feel should wear a hair net. And you better bring cash as Dune Burger is not equipped for credit cards. Fortunately, Dune Burger is located right next to Sam & Omie’s, a full service restaurant with a full service bar! When Tony and I order our burgers, we know it’s going to take about 15 minutes, so we mosey into Sam & Omie’s and enjoy a frosty adult beverage to kill the time. Only in Nags Head can I leisurely wait for my “fast food” burger to arrive. A Dune Burger is meaty, cheesy, juicy, greasy love served on a slightly toasted bun. The flavor is unbelievable and I savor every bit, making little noises with each chomp (mmmm…., ohhhhh….., holy shit this is good). When I get to the last few bites, I slow down, not wanting it to end and think to myself “Damn! I should have ordered another one!”
Do me a favor. Next time you’re in the Outer Banks, make the trip to this roadside gem. You will not regret it! MP 16.5 Beach road.
Another Nags Head “must do” that I can’t say enough about is Colington Cafe. My husband and I first went to Colington the day after we got engaged. In fact, my husband had planned on proposing to me there at dinner, but said he “couldn’t wait that long” and proposed the day before on the beach. This home turned restaurant is the Outer Banks’ best kept secret. Most tourists don’t know about it because fortunately, it’s not located on the bypass with the likes of Hooters and Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet. You have to be looking for this place to find it and look for it you must as you will not be disappointed with this charming restaurant. The decor is something out of a retirement home with lots of pink walls, fake flowers and hats hanging on the wall, shocking at first, but trust me, that’s the last thing you’ll notice once you take your first bite. They do not have a liquor license and only serve beer and wine. I normally drink wine with dinner anyway so this doesn’t bother me a bit. The menu is fairly simple with items like Filet De Mer and Shrimp Scampi, but they keep it interesting with appetizers like the Tartines Provencal and always mouth-watering specials. You are gauranteed fresh, perfectly cooked, melt in your mouth dish in this culinary hideaway. I’m prone to ordering the Filet & Crab Cake because I rarely pass up the opportunity for a killer steak and most people know how I feel about crab cakes. How can I say no to both? The service is fantastic, though a bit slow at times, but whatever! You’re on vacation, chill out! Reservations are usually required, especially in the summertime. Don’t believe me? Check out the reviews on trip advisor, only one moron gave it 3 stars on the first page.