Owners of a popular Kitty Hawk restaurant are at it again, this time in scenic Duck.
by Amy Gaw
The newest restaurant on the Duck waterfront is the brainchild of the team that brought the first modern cheese bar and beverage program to the Outer Banks.
Owners of the Trio Restaurant and Market launched Village Table and Tavern last summer, bringing to life a new spot for a relaxed, sit-down meal with some of the best views in the region.
The restaurant, owned by Jennifer and John Minnich and local wine entrepreneur Kenneth Hyman, offers a family-friendly approach to dining and a menu that pairs easily with an ever-changing lineup of beer and wine. More importantly, it differs from Trio in concept, menu and ambiance.
Jennifer Minnich says the goal with the new place is to elevate the familiar. Says John Minnich: “We really wanted people to feel like they could just come in, be comfortable, be with the people they wanted to eat with, immediately understand the menu and not break the bank.”
Though a few items may be familiar – such as the crave-inducing caramelized-onion dip from the Trio menu – guests can also expect a lot of new favorites, including raw oysters or fried pickles – all perfect appetizers for sharing.
Vegetarian falafel with naan, tzatziki, pickled red onion, cucumber, spinach and feta and the fried chicken sandwich have become favorites for the local lunch crowd. Bone-in cuts of meat, comforting chicken and gravy, lump crab cakes and fresh, local seafood are on the dinner menu. Several dishes will change seasonally.
Sharing is encouraged; even the desserts are meant to be shared and paired. A deliciously creamy slice of cold-smoked cheesecake keeps the familiar approachable and encourages the diner to have fun when choosing a beverage.
One of the main features of the dining room is a wraparound bar that faces a wall of taps. A changing screen shares the daily selections and reminds customers that the same information can be found on their personal device if they download the provided app. Not all of the taps pull beer. Cold-brew coffee is also available.
A full bar menu highlights both classic and clever craft cocktails featuring North Carolina spirits as well as familiar, global favorites. House-made sodas and whimsical non-alcoholic beverages are on the menu, too.
“If you like what you pair, share with your neighbor,” says John Minnich. “We like the sense of community around the tables and love when we see guests talking to each other.”
Set on the northern edge of Duck, the business shares a location with Nor’banks Sailing and Watersports. There’s live music outside in season and inside by the fireplace when it’s chilly. Tables are spacious and comfortable, and parties are welcome. The keep-it-simple concept also translates to the seating system. Reservations are not accepted and with so much to do, look at and taste, you’ll barely notice the wait.
Plan to arrive early and venture down to the Sound Lounge, an all-ages-friendly, waterside hangout spot where the entire family can enjoy a snack, dip toes in the water, sip a cool, canned craft beer or cocktail and play a little cornhole. There is plenty of outside seating and additional space for the young at heart to run off pre-meal excitement.
Other hot spots
Ashley’s Espresso Parlour
Favorite local coffee maven Ashley Linnekin and her design-minded husband, Erik, have created a roomy yet cozy gathering spot in Kitty Hawk that offers coffee a number of ways. Traditional drips, pour-overs and espressos are just the beginning of the extensive beverage menu, which also includes teas, kombuchas and waters. Scones, sweet and savory pastries, and grab-and go snacks round out the beach-friendly offerings. Watch for live paint sessions, cuppings and other coffee-centric adventures.
Greentail’s Seafood Market & Kitchen
Southern hospitality is on full display at this Nags Head restaurant, especially if your version of the South includes your mama reminding you to wash your hands before you eat and where to sit after you do it.
Co-owner Brandi Midgette’s voice is usually the first one heard when entering the local-seafood-only hot spot. You can find chefs and co-owners Bryan Whitehurst and Mark Newsome in the tiny kitchen, making everything fresh to order.
Whitehurst led the kitchen at 1587 Restaurant for years, and Newsome is a commercial fisherman, among his other skills. Both excel at putting a delicious twist on old-school favorites.
Fried shrimp and oysters are served in baskets, as are small, whole, crispy fried fish of the day; mullet and spot are deliciously flakey when prepared this way. Eat everything but the spine.
Located in the former Queen Anne’s Revenge location, this incredible Wanchese eatery has a historical presence, with the added attraction of local authors and previous owners–now landlords–R. Wayne and Nancy Beach Gray living nearby.
Customers can enjoy old-pressed juices, espresso and kombucha while browsing the local art and handmade wares. Wi-fi stays on and long visits are encouraged. Meals are available all day, with display cases showcasing daily offerings. Taking food home is encouraged. Everything is encouraged here. That’s the vibe, really: delicious empowerment.
And if you had favorites from her Nags Head location, she serves a few here, including that amazing crab bisque with just a hint of cayenne pepper.