Jo Hopkins Whitehead, owner of Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar, started the oyster bar with her fiancé, turned husband, Jay in 1991. Soon after came the other landmark businesses for Awful Arthur’s Beach Shop and Bad Barracudas Raw Bar & Grill.
After many years, each business evolved but the one main current has always been about family. After the death of her husband in 2000, Jo survived due to help from family, friends and loyal staff.
She sold Bad Barracudas in 2005 and kept moving forward. Jo has a loyal staff that have been with the Awful Arthur’s family for more than 25 years!
Whitehead insists there’s no “big secret” as to how she’s able to elicit such loyalty from her staff, saying it’s simply a matter of mutual respect.
“I try to maintain respect from them as much as I respect each one of them,” she says. “I have a great management team without whom I could not run such a successful business.”
And successful it is.
Now in its 36th year, Awful Arthur’s — the original Outer Banks oyster bar — is so much more than its name would suggest.