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Kelly's Outer Banks Restaurant and Tavern

Updated on October 19, 2011
DonnaCSmith profile image

Donna Campbell Smith is a published author, freelance writer, and photographer. She also specializes in horses.

Fine Dining on the Beach

When I visit the Outer Banks I always treat myself at least one night by going out for a nice seafood dinner. On my most recent visit I ate at Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant and Tavern. They are located at 2316 S. Croatan Hwy, Milepost 10.5, Nags Head, NC 27959.

Kelly’s has all the ambiance one would expect of a fine dining restaurant. I expect that when I go out for a nice dinner. Their nautical décor of Outer Banks memorabilia and local artwork and wood paneled walls gave the dinning room a warm intimate atmosphere. Soft Christmas music wafted through the room, not too loud, so my friends and I could carry on conversation without intrusion.

Kellys Outer Banks Restaurant and Tavern located at milepost 10.5, on Hwy 158, Nags Head, NC
Kellys Outer Banks Restaurant and Tavern located at milepost 10.5, on Hwy 158, Nags Head, NC

I Chose the Crispy Oysters

The menu made deciding difficult. but I am an oyster lover and chose the Crispy Oysters served with Black Pepper Fries and coleslaw. I know I could have been more adventurous, but sometimes when the choices are many then I tend to go with the familiar. We started with a house salad. I chose blue cheese dressing. The oysters were all I’d hoped they would be and better. They were very savory and full of flavor. The “Black Pepper Fries” tasted like ordinary French fries to me. The slaw was a bit too soupy for my taste, heavy on the mayonnaise-based dressing. But, I do admit I am not a coleslaw fan and prefer the tart slaw that is served with Eastern Carolina barbequed pork. The oysters more than made up for any  deficiency in the sides.

One of my friends ordered the Seafood Bouillabaisse of Sautéed Shrimp, Scallops, Clams, and Fish in a Rich Saffron Broth over Rice finished with Asiago and Garlic Crustini. She is a regular at Kelly’s and this was one of her favorites. My other friend ordered the Seafood Norfolk, a combination of Sauteed Shrimp, Scallops, and Jumbo Lump Crab in a Sherry Garlic Butter. Both of their dishes were piled high with seafood and it smelled and looked delightful. Maybe next time I’ll try one of those, but being an oyster lover I don’t know if I could pass them up, knowing how tasty they were my first time.

Good Service and Amenities

The service was very good. Our waitress was unobtrusive but there when needed. We all passed on the array of homemade desserts, but they were very tempting. I grew up with the old adage of not eating sweets after oysters. I don’t know where that idea came from but I just never eat dessert following oysters. The cost for my dinner was $34 plus the tip.

Kelly’s has a gift shop, nine rooms for private parties, a tavern which Kelly’s boasts has “the Largest Dance Floor on the Beach!” Kelly's Outer Banks Restaurant & Tavern caters throughout North Eastern North Carolina and can accommodate any group for any kind of event.

If you are at the Outer Banks for the holidays Kelly’s is open CHRISTMAS EVE, Dinner Served 4:30-9 pm, Tavern Hours 4:30-9:30 pm. They are closed Christmas Day. Their NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY, featuring Dueling DJ's, cover charge is $10, which includes party favors.

I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner out at Kelly’s and recommend it as a must visit while vacationing on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. For Reservations call (252) 441-4116 or email If you are emailing for reservations, please include your name, the date and time of the reservation, number of guests, your email and a phone number.

To read more about Kelly’s visit their website at


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    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 8 years ago from Central North Carolina

      I can hardly wait for my NEXT visit to the OBX!

    • profile image

      jdove-miller 8 years ago

      Now I can hardly wait for my first visit to the Outer Banks.

    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 8 years ago

      My in laws make an annual trip to the Outer Banks spending at least one week. I will have to share this hub with them. thanks for sharing I love good seafood!