Hatteras Restaurants

Every Hatteras Restaurant Is Featured Here

Dining on Hatteras Island means that you can expect restaurants with originality, personality, fresh ingredients and even some secret family recipes.

The best thing about dining on Cape Hatteras is that there are no chain restaurants with predictable atmosphere and bland fare. All Hatteras Island restaurants reflect the laid-back personality of the island lifestyle in a variety of ways, but you can rest assured that the owners, chefs and staff are quite serious and very professional about the fare they serve and the experience they offer.

Most Cape Hatteras restaurants put a major focus on the bounty of the sea. Local menus tout such specialties as Gulf Stream fish (yellowfin tuna, wahoo and mahi-mahi), inshore fish (trout, flounder and drum), succulent crab meat, oysters, clams, scallops, mussels and more. Restaurants will let you know what’s in season, and therefore the freshest, when you’re on the island. If it’s soft-shell crabs, don’t miss a chance to taste these delicacies! Fried seafood is no longer the staple of local menus, but you can get it if you want it. Most Hatteras restaurants feature more healthy preparations, like steaming, grilling, sautéing, blackening or broiling. If you want to cook seafood yourself, there are several Hatteras Island seafood markets; those are included in the listings in our Hatteras Shopping page.

If you’re not a seafood lover, don’t worry. Even the Hatteras Island seafood restaurants offer a wealth of other options like beef, pasta, chicken, pork and vegetarian entrees. And not every restaurant is seafood-oriented. You’ll find down-home North Carolina barbecue, Italian restaurants, plus pizza places, delis, ice cream shops and bakeries.

Meals are fairly priced on Hatteras Island, and dress is very casual. Note that all of the towns on the island now allow liquor to be served in restaurants that have a liquor license. We’re telling you this because it’s a significant change on the island. Most Hatteras eateries close for some portion of the winter, though there is always something open, even in the dead of winter, to serve the growing population of locals. If you’re dining out from November through March, it’s best to call ahead to make sure your restaurant of choice is open. We have listed the Hatteras Island restaurants alphabetically within their respective villages, from north to south, starting in Rodanthe and ending in Hatteras Village.

Hatteras Restaurants by Location or Category

Rodanthe, Waves & Salvo | Avon | Buxton & Frisco | Hatteras Village

Atlantic Coast Café

25150 N.C. Highway 12, Across from the KOA Campground, Waves
(252) 987-1200

Expect great food and awesome service at the Atlantic Coast Cafe in Waves — featuring a comfortable, casual beach atmosphere, friendly staff and free WiFi. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stop in for great breakfasts and fresh coffee, lunches that showcase stuffed grilled wraps, tasty burgers, unique Reubens (crab cake, shrimp, classic), their famous marinated or Cajun grilled tuna, possibly the best chicken strips east of the Mississippi, delicately fried seafood baskets and the ever popular double-shelled fish tacos. Dinner specials like creamy shrimp and grits vary daily. Smoothies, café mochas/lattes, chai tea, fresh muffins, killer desserts and a variety of sodas, juices, beer/wine and a kid's menu all add up to an enjoyable and affordable Hatteras Island meal. The full menu is available for take-out. 

Good Winds Restaurant

24502 N.C. Highway 12, Waves Village Watersports Resort, Rodanthe
(252) 987-1100

Whether you’ve worked up an appetite kite boarding on site or you just want a meal with a water view, Good Winds is a good choice on northern Hatteras Island. With its second-floor perch over the Pamlico Sound and a deck for outdoor dining, it’s the place to watch the sunset. The menu features local seafood — tuna, scallops, shrimp, crab cakes and fresh catch of the day. And you can choose from appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, fish tacos, salads, seafood entrees, pasta and chicken. Everything is chef-prepared and made from scratch. A kids’ menu is available. Good Winds offers a creative drink menu, and it’s a good place to hang out after a ride in the wind. There’s live music Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and sushi is offered from 5-9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Good Winds is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week in season. 

Open Water Grill

39450 N.C. Highway 12, Avon
(252) 305-5287

Open Water Grill’s primo waterfront location definitely makes it worth the short hop up (or down!) to the north end of Avon. The back deck is practically over the water, and the view of the open sound from the back patio is unbelievable. There is plenty of outdoor waterfront seating, or you can also dine indoors, with a great view, or on the front patio. The owners are committed to serving fresh, high-quality food, and they do whatever it takes to serve the best local and regional steaks, seafood and produce. Open Water Grill’s lunch and dinner features sandwiches with Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, salads, burgers and seafood. Steaks are a specialty, from the 8 oz. filet mignon and 16 oz. ribeye to smaller portions for lighter eaters. And give their bestselling fish tacos with homemade chimichurri sauce a try! Open Water offers a full bar. They serve dinner late into the night, and the bar stays open late. Come as you are; the atmosphere is relaxed, casual and family friendly, but you won’t have to sacrifice food quality even if you’re dining in your flip flops.

Rusty’s Surf And Turf

47355 N.C. Highway 12, Buxton
(252) 995-4184

Rusty’s Surf and Turf brings the bold flavors and colors of the tropics to Hatteras Island. Owner and chef Rusty Midgett, a native who left the island and honed his restaurant and kitchen experience in some of Philadelphia’s top restaurants, is inspired in the kitchen by the places he has traveled on surf trips – the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera, the Pacific Rim. Let him surprise you with his creative preparations of fresh fish, local seafood and premium beef. Midgett gets a lot of his seafood directly from Hatteras Island docks. The restaurant is fun and colorful with cheerful local artwork. Rusty’s has a full bar and specializes in North Carolina hand-crafted beers, and there’s a fun bar/appetizer menu. They serve lunch and dinner seven days a week in the summer; call for off-season hours. They’ll also cater wedding parties, rehearsal dinners, birthdays and other celebrations for large groups both on and off premises. Rusty’s is located between Natural Art Surf Shop and the ABC Store.  

Surfin' Pig BBQ

40618 N.C. Highway 12, Avon
(252) 515-7731

This is a BBQ joint and more! Every day they make their own pulled pork, brisket, ribs and smoked chicken and sell it by the pound, on a sandwich or on platters. Their sides and salads are also homemade every day so they're fresh and oh so tasty. You can top all of it off with fresh desserts such as fruit pies, cheesecakes and cakes. They also offer 12-inch flatbread pizzas and a lot more. Surfin’ Pig’s Southern-style sweet tea and fresh-squeezed lemonade are sunny, summery accompaniments to their BBQ, as are their retro-inspired Nehi Sodas, Stewart's Root Beer and craft colas. If you're going to be buying two or more pounds of the BBQ or two or more racks of ribs, they ask that you give them 24-hour notice. They can also cater any size gathering. As a finishing touch, they open at 11 a.m. and stay open til 10 at night!