Monday, October 3, 2016


You won't find this little out-of-the-way place in Greensboto, or Winston, or Burlington, or even Danville.  If you want to eat at Jack Mackerel's Island Grill, you going to have to drive down I-40 for about four hours.  Jack Mackerel's is located in Kure Beach, NC.

I'm not sure how to pronounce Kure.  It might be cure or kur -ray or who knows what, but, so far, it seems like a fine place to dine outside of Reidsville.

Kure Beach is a quiet little village just south of Wilmington.  It's very near Carolina Beach.

Debbie tells me there 's no grocery store or seafood market at Kure Beach.  You have to drive to Carolina Beach to find those kinds of places.

Kure Beach does have a boardwalk, a few restaurants, and a fishing pier. Oh, yes, I almost forgot...a t-shirt shop.  

The fishing pier at Kure Beach.

There were quite a few people walking around, especially considering it's late September.  Everybody has a dog, so watch where you step.  Everyone says "hello" when they pass you on the sidewalk. If you're standing on a street corner and a vehicle stops at the traffic light, they're probably going to wave at you.

Walking the dog is the favorite pastime at Kure Beach

My first thought is to call Kure Beach the Mayberry of the coast.

Jack Mackerel's is decorated with a lot of Tiki lamps, a Tiki room, thatch roofs over the tables, and seashells.  But, when the waitress brought out Texas Pete hot sauce and Heinz Ketchup with the menus, I had to remind myself this was the Island Grill and not Mayberry's Snappy Lunch,

I asked our waitress if she knew what a RUTABAGA is.  She got an odd look on her face, thought really hard, and then guessed that it's a car.  No, dear, a rutabaga is a root vegetable.  A Studebaker is a car.  Maybe this really is the Snappy Lunch.

For the vegetable illiterate, these are Rutabagas - no headlights, no bumpers, no license plates.  They are the second cheapest root vegetable at Food Lion, only cabbage is cheaper.  Notice these Rutabagas were imported from Canada and still very cheap.  

The price of Rutabags explains why my mother used to shop for Rutabagas at the Byrd's in Haw River.  My mother was an exceedingly thrifty shopper, especially when it came to groceries and clothes.

There is a family legend about my mother loudly and publicly shaming the Byrd's manager for misspelling Rutabaga.  The legend is almost certainly true.  My mother was an unpleasant times.

The Jack Mackerel's bar ran almost entire length of the front room.  Behind it was a line of televisions, all tuned to a single football game.  The Colts were playing somebody.  We were in a quiet back room with a large table of senior citizens, which explains why I don't know who the Colts were playing.

Debbie's Shrimp and Grits denies that we've landed in Snappy Lunch.  This was an odd looking and odd tasting combination of shrimp, andouille sausage, green peppers, and grits.  It was all sprinkled with some sort of yellow (maybe cheddar) cheese.  This was a thick mixture, not soupy.  I was given several very tasty bites in exchange for my oysters.  It was very good.  Order the Shrimp and Grits if you ever go to Snappy Lunch...I mean Jack Mackerel's

Here's my plate of fried oysters with slaw and french fries.  I know this sounds a bit ordinary...almost Mayflowery or Libby Hillish.  Hey, I had an urge for fried oysters, so I ordered the fried oyster platter.  The fries were over-fried.  I did not finish the serving.  The slaw was ordinary.  But the oysters were excellent.  They were on the small side, but lightly breaded and not greasy,  They easily satisfied my oyster urge.

Notice the beer on the right side of the photo.

It's Coney Island Root Beer with 5.8% alcohol.  It's made in Brooklyn, NY.

The waitress brought out the root beer with a glass of ice.  I've never had alcoholic root beer.  I wasn't sure what to do with the ice.  Was it to refill my usual glass of ice water or was it for the root beer?  I decided to pour my root beer over the ice.  I later learned that was a good and correct decision.  I give a big thumbs up to alcoholic root beer.  There was no alcohol sting, just a sweet sassafras root beer flavor.  It went very well with the oysters.

I asked our waitress about the three beers listed under NC BEERS on the beer menu.  She explained the three beers were all in made in North Carolina.  She even explained in which cities the beers are made. 

One of the three beers on the list was BLUE MOON BELGIUM ALE.  She could not remember in which city BLUE MOON is made.  That's understandable because the brewery where BLUE MOON was made is no longer in operation, but it's still on JACK MACKEREL'S NC BEERS menu.

Do you know where BLUE MOON was once made?

Over the next few days, I'll be writing about what we ate at Kure Beach,

Note: It took a couple of days to figure it out, but I have to admit Kure Beach is not Mayberry.  The clue was a very loud pack of motorcycles that passed by my bedroom about every five minutes - around the clock.

Click images to enlarge

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