Kitty Hawk Winks to Close after Thanksgiving

After 65 years of serving Kitty Hawk beach goers, Winks will be closing.
After 65 years of serving Kitty Hawk beach goers, Winks will be closing.
A Last Hurrah for a Local Icon

Change is inevitable but somehow it seemed the Kitty Hawk Winks was immune to that. Through 65 years it remained open at the corner of Ocean Boulevard and the Beach Road, the perfect beach town convenience store, dispensing food, sandwiches, tee-shirts and cheap souvenirs in equal measure.

Change, evidently has finally caught up with the icon to beach living and Thanksgiving Weekend will be the store’s last hurrah.

It’s been a pretty remarkable run—as the rest of the world seemed to get more modern, Winks seemed to settle into its role as a remainder of what vacation and beach life was all about..

The store never closed. Even Hurricane Sandy, which flooded the interior and floated away the gas tanks for the grill, couldn’t stop the store from opening. One day of cleanup and the doors were unlocked, the owners noting that if they were closed, their neighbors with damaged cars would have no way for them to get the necessities they needed.

Tentative plans call for the building to be torn down and houses built on the lot. Nothing is final until construction begins, but those are the plans.

If that does happen—and it probably will—it will break up a wonderful little strip of buildings in Kitty Hawk that hearken back to the 1950s and 60s. Winds, was at one time the anchor for a small commercial district that was the center of the towns resort community.

Across the street was Virginia Dare Hardware that opened in 1948, now the restaurant Ocean Boulevard. Next door is Art’s place, still the go to spot for breakfast and lunch along the beach road.

Perhaps, then, swing by Winks, snap a picture of the building and if it’s still open, by a little something to remember it by and say goodbye.

There are stories everywhere on the Outer Banks. Spend some time with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and learn about the real life on a sandbar.

Outer Banks Burger Battles Heat Up

Burgers and the beach...a perfect combination.
Burgers and the beach…a perfect combination.

Are we having a burger war on the Outer Banks? It’s probably too early to tell if it’s all out warfare, but it does look as though the battle for the best hamburger on the beach is heating up.

Always ready to put in a 110% effort for our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates. readers, we have taken on the arduous task of comparing the hamburgers of two restaurants that have opened in the past couple of years against two Outer Banks mainstays.

Here’s what we found

The Challengers:

Cross Road Tavern

Seagate North Shopping Center

3105 N Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills

We really like this place. Very innovative combinations on the burgers and they are big. Everything comes with hand cut fries, although sweet potato fries are an option.

Personal favorites are the “Hangover”—bacon, hash browns, fried egg, and cheddar cheese with maple bacon jam—all on a bun. Be sure to have extra napkins for this one. And the Brie Me—bacon, brie, grilled onions, spinach, and sriracha mayo.

Lot’s of TVs with every sport imaginable playing. Great selection of beer, small but well thought out wine list and excellent oysters.

We’re going back.

Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint

800 South Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills

Just opening their doors this spring, Jack Brown’s is a franchise operation that, at last count, had 12 locations.

Lots of craft beers to go with their burgers. The hamburgers are basic straightforward patties without a lot of frills. There are some innovative combinations, like the Elvis—The Elvis—peanut butter, mayo, Applewood smoked bacon and cheese or the Jack On Piggy Back—hamburger with griddle-cooked hot dog, pickled jalapeños & cheddar cheese.

The Home team:

Art’s Place

4624 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk

Big juicy burgers, cooked on a flattop and served with hand cut fries. A very generous portion of hand cut fries. There’s not a lot to say about Art’s Place except the burgers have rightly earned a place in the upper echelons of really good hamburger.

John’s Drive-in

3716 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk

They’re everything the doctor’s have warned us not to eat…they’re greasy, they’re salty and oh my goodness are they good. A throwback to the glory days of burgers. The dolphin boat is an outstanding substitute if red meat is not on the preferred list for the day.


Not our place to say. Judge for yourself.

Best OBX Restaurants by Category

By a narrow margin, Art's Place in Kitty Hawk gets our nod for best burger.
By a narrow margin, Art’s Place in Kitty Hawk gets our nod for best burger.

A local newspaper—the Virginian Pilot, which is somewhat local—recently wrote an article listing their five favorite Outer Banks restaurants.

It was a good article and the restaurants listed were all very good. Anything chosen in an article like that is, of course, subjective, but it’s hard to find fault with the selections.

The problem, though, is it was a “five best” listing without categorizing anything.

As an example, you would not go to Coastal Provisions to get a good burger. Conversely Art’s Place would not be anyone’s choice for oysters on the half shell.

So, to help the undecided along, we present our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates best of list by category.

Best Burger

Art’s Place

4624 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk

(252) 261-3233

This was a tough one. John’s Drive-in just down the road from Art’s Place is al fresco drive-in food at it’s best. And Mulligans in Nags Head does a great job as well, but there is something about those burgers cooked to order on a flat grill that is special.

Best Oysters

Coastal Provisions

Southern Shores Crossing, Southern Shores

(252) 480-0023

If there is anyone on the Outer Banks who has done a better job of working with local oyster farmers and sourcing oysters from all over the East Coast, we have no idea who that could be. Amazing selection with a real eye for detail.

Best Casual Fine Dining

Saltbox Cafe

1469 Colington Rd, Kill Devil Hills

(252) 255-5594

Another difficult decision, but the attention to fresh food, well-prepared that Randolph Sprinkle brings to his dishes elevates food to art. And his wife, Amanda, is a desert chef, so save room…or go ahead and stuff yourself.

Best Outdoor Cafe

Full Moon Cafe

208 Queen Elizabeth Avenue, Manteo, NC 27954

(252) 473-6666

There are not a lot of outdoor cafes on the Outer Banks. Aqua serves food outdoors with a beautiful view of Currituck Sound. Roadside Bar and Grill in Duck has a wonderful little outdoor seating area. But there is something magical about sitting on a sidewalk on a summer day, sipping a drink and eating a meal. Oh—and the food is very good.

Best Wine Bar


3708 N Croatan Hwy., Kitty Hawk

(252) 261-0277

Other places have a number of wines available by the glass, but no one comes even close to the selection Trio always has on hand. And they always have 24 beers on tap. Great cheese plates to go with everything, too.