This post was written by Erica Wade.
What is the best part about vacation? People have a lot of different opinions on this, the atmosphere, being off of work, the beach, but most will agree that the FOOD is one of the best parts! Thus, this month we wanted to introduce two awesome restaurants here in the Outer Banks that we know our customers cannot live without. These two places have been working extra hard during the COVID-19 pandemic and are currently OPEN to serve customers the food they love, so we asked them a few questions about how COVID-19 has affected them. This blog chance to love them as much as we do!
Pigman’s BBQ is a classic southern BBQ joint located at MP 9.5, 1606 S Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948. They offer North Carolina style BBQ in the form of everything from pulled pork to tuna. This is an area hot spot and they’re hoping to keep it that way even through the current pandemic. I spoke to Richard Bruce (one of two owners of Pigman’s) about how they have been handling COVID-19. He told me they are taking it day by day and trying to be prepared as possible for what may come next. They are looking forward to business picking back up!
Bruce told me his biggest fear is losing the opportunity to make a living. He explained that making their usual income during the on-season (summer) is what keeps the Pigman afloat during the off-season (winter), so losing so much business during the summer could really affect the Pigman’s BBQ chance of survival as a business. Bruce isn’t sure how this could affect their future in the long run. He is waiting to see how this summer season pans out, but it is really all relying on that. For now, Bruce says the Pigman has gotten “Really good at takeout…doing it 100% of the time has perfected that skill.”
“We are really happy to be open and we are excited for the visitors to come down and to do our best to make them feel welcome and make them want to come back again.”
Kill Devil Grill
The Kill Devil Grill is a local hotspot that is very close to our hearts, literally. They are located directly across the street from the John Yancey Inn, so many of our guests enjoy their famous Back Yard Wings all year long. (By famous we mean literally ranked as the best in the state of North Carolina famous.. .check it out .) Not to say that only the wings should be famous, their Key Lime Pie and The Railcar are to die for! Locals and visitors alike crave this place on a Friday night.
I spoke to the owner of the Kill Devil Grill, Bill Tucker, about how they have been managing with the current pandemic. He explained that they are currently open Tuesday – Saturday from 4-8 pm and have curbside pickup and online ordering. He is hoping to expand the hours as soon as the staff and demand is there again. The current menu is trimmed because it has been very hard to get products in and difficult to have a full work force of employees. He explains, “We require prep because we make from scratch. This is now an on-demand business, so we had to engineer the menu to be made quickly without giving up any quality or value and I hope that gets us through.”
Tucker says his biggest fear is that this situation is a double-edged sword. He fears for the safety of staff and guests. His other fear is the possibility of being too aggressive about reopening. “I would rather stay closed than reopen and have a second wave…We are going to approach this very conservatively. We won’t be letting people in until we feel it’s safe.”
Tucker says he hopes that this is only a 2020 issue and the second wave doesn’t become an issue in the future. “I hope we will be here a year from now. Everything I do is to ensure we are here a year from now. The future is just unknown.”
This situation has obviously caused a big change in the KDG’s daily operations. The restaurant used to be open for lunch and dinner. Carryout wasn’t even offered until this pandemic situation happened. “It’s like opening a whole new restaurant. We have to retrain ourselves, our guests, and our staff, because no one knows how this works…customers expect to pull up to a window like a fast food place, but that’s not how this works. We won’t give up quality.” Everyone in the building is wearing gloves and masks even in the areas where it gets to be over 100 degrees. No one is allowed in the building besides essential stuff right now.
Tucker said to me, “Just because the government is relaxing standards doesn’t mean that we will for a while…everybody’s level of stress has increased because of uncertainty, but we can’t forget to respect people.”
Own or manage another local Outer Banks restaurant? We’d love to feature what you’re doing to adjust your business model to the current and post-corona world! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org