Nov 30, 2020
Black Pelican is one of the only restaurants on the Outer Banks that offers panoramic views of the ocean. Located on the beach road (Route 12) in Kitty Hawk, the restaurant has been well-loved by visitors and locals alike since it opened on the OBX in 1993. Black Pelican is open 7 days per week, year-round, from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm. We recently sat down with Black Pelican’s General Manager, Summer Copeland, who has been with the restaurant for 16 years.
History of Black Pelican
The building that houses Black Pelican is a piece of Outer Banks history, as it was formerly the Kitty Hawk Lifesaving Station. Originally constructed in 1874, the unique building is packed with coastal charm.
Since the beginning, the restaurant’s top priority has been customer service. The restaurant was originally opened in 1993 by Paul Shaver. Paul was an interesting and exciting person, whose world travels influenced many of the recipes at Black Pelican. The restaurant has always had a strong local following, and they feel it is important to support the Outer Banks community. A golf tournament is held each year in Paul Shaver’s honor, and they try to participate in as many Dare County fundraising events as possible each year.
“Our customer service keeps a lot of people coming back.”
Black Pelican Menu
After customer service, they believe that the big menu with a wide variety of choices is what draws people to the restaurant. Their seafood is sourced locally on the Outer Banks as much as possible. Their desserts are amazing and all are homemade.
Summer recommends the Wanchese Fishermans’ Risotto, which was featured on the Food Network TV Show Diners Drive Ins and Dives. The mouth-watering signature dish features scallops, shrimp, lump crabmeat, and bacon sauteed with tomatoes, sweet corn, and baby spinach folded into a creamy roasted garlic risotto topped with a crispy sweet potato nest. Guy Fieri was a big fan!
Along with the wide variety of seafood, Black Pelican is known for their pizzas, which are cooked in a wood fire oven. Try the Chesapeake Bay pizza, which includes lump crabmeat, sweet corn, crispy bacon, house cheeses, Old Bay seasoning, and creamy bechamel sauce.
Catering by Black Pelican
The restaurant offers catering services for events from 30 up to 700 people. Black Pelican has a catering trailer and food truck, so they have the ability to cook meals on-site for weddings and other events. Servers and bartenders are also available for events. Black Pelican caters a variety of Outer Banks events, including weddings, family reunions, baby showers, or any other gatherings.
Black Pelican’s Gift Shop
There is an impressive gift shop on-site at Black Pelican restaurant. Whether you’re looking for the perfect OBX souvenir, unique jewelry, or some Black Pelican swag, the gift shop has it. They even have a wide variety of items in their online store.
Black Pelican now greets customers in the parking lot, before they enter the restaurant. Patrons do not enter the restaurant until their table is ready. There is a beverage trailer and picnic tables outside for guests while they wait for their table to be ready. Everyone must wear a mask to and from their table, and staff wear masks at all times. Tables inside the restaurant are at least 6 feet apart.
Learn More About Outer Banks Lifesaving Stations
There are several historic lifesaving stations along the shores of the Outer Banks, each with interesting stories that enrich the history of the OBX. Pea Island Lifesaving Station, which is located near Oregon Inlet on the north end of Hatteras Island, was known for being one of the best stations on the coast.