[Local Buzz] Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet – A Taste of Paradise on the Outer Banks
A local landmark for more than a decade, Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet in Kitty Hawk is not just about the delicious, fresh food, it’s about the experience.
Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet was born on June 27, 1999. It began with three partners and an idea to have a unique seafood buffet.
Owner Liz Dowless explains, “The thought was to give the customers what they wanted . . . lots of seafood . . . but to make sure it was very tasty and fresh. In May 2003, Jerry Dowless, one of the partners, and myself (his wife) bought out the business to carry the fresh seafood concept even further. We believed that the food didn’t have to be bland just because it was on a buffet.”
Unfortunately, in August of that same year, Jerry passed away suddenly, leaving Liz with her three small children trying to figure out her next move in life.
“I didn’t want to give up on providing all you can eat seafood that actually tastes great,” says Liz. “We decided to continue, and we are so glad we did.”
The buffet at Jimmy’s offers flavors from all over the world, with an emphasis on a Caribbean twist added to the usual seafood fare.
The popular restaurant purchases as much local fish and shellfish as possible, and then brings in crab legs from Florida to Alaska and back to North Carolina, and each item is prepared from scratch.
“We begin with homemade soups like She Crab Bisque as well as all of the hand-prepared salad dressings” said Liz. “The amount of cakes and pies that we make every day is amazing. No one can resist homemade chocolate peanut butter pie or cheesecake.
“We begin each new day with fresh food, so this takes a lot of time. Preparation begins as early as 4am in the morning during the summer. I truly feel that it is worth every ounce of effort, and if you see the lines of people waiting to eat at Jimmy’s, then it’s obvious that they feel it’s worth it too.”
Jimmy’s is definitely a fun place for the entire family, as there are often pony rides, corn hole and putt putt games, and live entertainment happening on any given day before or after dinner.
For many visitors who return to the Outer Banks year after year, Jimmy’s is their “Vacation Destination,” an annual tradition.
“I just love when I get phone calls from customers who ask when Jimmy’s is open for the season because they plan their trip to the Outer Banks around that,” says Liz. “When I get calls like that, or when people travel over three hours just to eat and then drive three hours back home, I realize and smile that what Jerry and I tried to accomplish so many years ago has actually been accomplished.”
Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet is located at 4117 North Croatan Highway on the east side of the U.S. 158 bypass, near milepost 3.5 in Kitty Hawk.
You can learn more about Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet and preview more of the menu at JimmysOBXBuffet.com.