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Shuckin’ Good

Awful Arthur’s is a Seafood-Lover’s Paradise

Awful Arthur's chef photo
(left) Chef AJ and
(right) Owner, Jo Whitehead

We embraced the concept of an authentic copper top bar

Owner, Jo Whitehead.
awful arthur's oyster bar storefront

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in May 2024, Awful Arthur’s has firmly established itself as a local landmark on the Outer Banks, beginning as the first authentic oyster bar. Located in Kill Devil Hills across from the Avalon Fishing Pier, the popular restaurant stays busy particularly during the peak summer months. In its welcoming, casual atmosphere, Awful Arthur’s serves up a full menu of fresh seafood including oysters, fish, shrimp and crab legs to burgers, steaks and pasta. According to Awful Arthur’s owner Jo Whitehead, they source their seafood locally, when available, and source from other areas close by. Tuna, Mahi, Wahoo, Grouper and Flounder are the types of fish on the menu, which offers something for everybody.

“One major thing we learned early on is that the consistency of food and service is really important,” Whitehead says. Along with the tasty food, guests enjoy speaking with the restaurant’s friendly staff, making it a favorite dining spot for both locals and repeat out-of town visitors. Many of the employees have worked there for more than 20 years, with the kitchen manager’s tenure now over 30 years, which Whitehead credits as a major reason for the restaurant’s success. “People definitely like to see how many faces they recognize from year-to-year,” Whitehead says. “I think people enjoy that and it has been another large part of the success.”

Awful Arthur’s relaxed beach vibe combined with the lively activity surrounding its unique copper-topped oyster bar, with views of oysters, clams and shrimp being prepared behind the bar, add to the ambiance.

A long-time Outer Banks resident, Whitehead believes in supporting the local community, holding the Outer Banks Relief Foundation and Outer Banks Community Foundation close to her heart. “The community here helps each other out tremendously; it’s a very giving community,” Whitehead says.

While at the restaurant, do some shopping at Awful Arthur’s Beach Shop just steps away, where you will discover Awful Arthur’s logo apparel, beach items, souvenirs, snacks, ice and much more. And be sure to purchase an Awful Arthur’s 40th anniversary t-shirt!

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