Date of Visit: Friday, June 24, 2009 at 8:30 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: Diamond Shoals is a handy little stop along Highway 12, the stretch of road that traverses North Carolina’s Outer Banks. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner to hungry fishermen, beach combers, and vacationers, and feature a seafood market to boot.
You’ll notice the vague ocean-y decor out front: a small lighthouse-like cupola and thick ropes around the parking lot. Typical for a lot of restaurants on the Outer Banks. But check out the herbs in front! I hope they use these in the food.
ATMOSPHERE: Diamond Shoals is a mix of things: a restaurant (both casual and somewhat formal), a seafood store, and a gift shop. Because of our large group, we were seated in the dining room overflow, also known as the gift shop. We were surrounded by lots of ocean-themed chotchky (sp?). A bit disappointing, especially given the nice dining room, but the food and service made up for it.
The actual dining room is quite nice. They do the ocean theme tastefully: coral light sconces, beautiful carved wooden walls (see below), and gigantic fish tanks with eels.
I chose the Fisherman’s Favorite, a breakfast of 2 eggs, bacon, grits, and a biscuit. The eggs and bacon were good, the biscuits were great, and the grits needed some salt. But nothing to complain about. The coffee is good brown, too.
The Sausage Gravy Biscuit was a highlight: good chunky gravy, well seasoned but not too salty.
They’re not kidding when they say “jumbo” in the Diamond Shoals Jumbo Hotcake. Any meal in which you only need one of the featured items to fill the plate, is fine by me.
And the Corned Beef Hash. I never really like the look of this dish, but it wasn’t bad at all!
SERVICE: Service at Diamond Shoals was top notch – some of the best we found on the island, aside from being seated in the gift shop. But it’s the details that count: they were the first place to split checks. They were also the first to serve Heinz ketchup and not some no-name, off-brand, dyed-red tomato paste catsup concoction. The food came out fast, and our server – who was super sweet and had about twenty rings on each hand – kept our drinks refilled.
OVERALL: If you’re heading out for a busy day on Hatteras Island, or leaving early to visit neighboring Ocracoke, Diamond Shoals is your best bet for a breakfast kick-off. It’s located right in the middle of Buxton, close to the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, plenty of shops and beaches. If you need something a little more substantial than just apple uglies, this is your stop!