OBX Eats: Sam and Omies
Packed following church service on Sunday and always busy during the mid-summer months, Sam & Omie's has been an Outer Banks tradition for over 70years.
Located on NC 12 or "Beach Road" across the street from Jennette's Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina, Sam & Omies is hands down one of the very best restaurants on the beach. Open for a majority of the year for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I've been to Sam & Omie's quite a few times over the years and unlike most every other place I've frequent for food, there isn't a single occasion where my dining experience was anything short of exceptional.
Founded by Sambo Tillet in the 1940s, Sam & Omie's was originally called "Sambo's" and was a big favorite among commercial fisherman who frequentlyenjoyed early morning breakfast before starting their long, tiring day on the open water.
Shortly after opening the restaurant, Sambo decided to start booking charter fishing trips for himself and his close fishing buddies right out of therestaurant.
In the 1950s, the restaurant's name was changed to include Sambo's son Omie - the restaurant's name that's still used today was first born. Once Sambodecided to become a full time charter fisherman, he sold the restaurant to an Outer Banks local by the name of Tom McKimmey.
Bookings for fishing charters at the newly built fishing center on Hatteras Island (Oregon Inlet) and Sam & Omie's continued up until the early 1960swhen business was booming at Oregon Inlet and the McKimmey concluded therestaurants charter booking operations. The Waits sisters purchased the restaurant in 1971 and they not only expanded the square footage, they alsomodernized the popular local spot.
Cozy booths and retro fishing photos line Omie's walls, the simple decor and old photos bring you back to roots of the restaurant. Nothing about the place is new or cutting edge, but that's what makes it so charming and inviting.
A place like Sam & Omie's may never survive in a major metropolitan city but it can certainly thrive in a town as unique as Nags Head.
The Outer Banks has blown up and popularity and having places that have changed only slightly over the years is good for everyone. Nags Head didn't used tobe packed with hundreds of vacation rental homes like it is today, it used to be nothing more than a measly two lane road, rolling sand dunes and placeslike Sam & Omie's.
Although there are no surf boards hanging on the walls or tiki men lining the shelves, it's obvious that this is a restaurant that belongs on the OuterBanks, no tacky decor needed.
Sam & Omie's Food
During my most recent trip to Sam & Omie's (I eat here way too often) I stopped by for lunch with my date that also frequents the restaurant.
Although I've tried most things on their menu, I tend to gravitate toward the Shrimp Burger which comes with a healthy portion of delectable bite-sized shrimp served on a warm bun with melted cheddar cheese and North Carolina style coleslaw on top.
It's impossible to eat this sandwich without having a mixture of shrimp, coleslaw or cheese spill over, and that's okay if you ask me.
The shrimp was fried perfectly, not too crisp and still full of that great fresh shrimp flavor. The healthy portion of coleslaw that compliments the shrimpis always delicious and has just the right amount of mayonnaise, not too damp, yet not dry. I can't stand dry coleslaw.
Accompanying the scrumptious Shrimp Burger, is a sizable portion of fresh French fries. Crisp, fresh and salted wonderfully, I could eat a plateful of thedelectable fries in one sitting.
My lunch partner reviewed the menu and decided on the barbeque platter - not the sandwich, but the platter. Consisting of a mountain sized portion ofNorth Carolina barbeque, delicious coleslaw, a bitesized helping of fresh corn bread and a side, this is one of Sam & Omie's absolute best dish.
Corn bread is a staple for just about every southern barbeque platter, and it wouldn't be complete without it. Served with a side ofSweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce to drizzle on the NC barbeque if youchoose, my lunch partner never opts for the sauce. She states that the tender, moist pork doesn't require any condiments, it's perfect just the way it is.
Also, if you like clam chowder or have never tried it before, you have to order a small cup if you stop by Sam & Omie's for lunch or dinner. Seriously, their clam chowder is award winning and the recipe was recently featured in the USA Today.
If you are an Outer Banks local I don't have to tell you to visit Sam & Omies because you probably already know how great their food is. However if youare visiting Nags Head or the surrounding towns, I'll tell you that I highly recommend giving Sam & Omie's a try.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a majority of the year (they close in December and reopen in March), I recommend arriving either early for breakfast or dinner, or opting for lunch and avoiding the busiest times of day.
Thanks for reading and until next time remember to eat local…. always!
Saturday, November 23, 2013