When Rain Goes Away Musicians Come Out to Play

First Friday in downtown Manteo. It looks like the rain will be gone and it should be a good evening for music and visiting.
First Friday in downtown Manteo. It looks like the rain will be gone and it should be a good evening for music and visiting.
Live Outdoor Music Back on Tap for Upcoming Week

We have had a lot of rain here on the Outer Banks over the past week. If the rain gauge at the Dare County Airport on Roanoke Island is accurate—and it’s the official record keeper—it looks like 14” over the past seven days.

We’ve had a couple of breaks in the clouds and the sun has come out from time to time, but honestly? It’s time for the rain to go away. And if the weather forecast is accurate, we’re going to have another day or day and a half of this, then finally some consistent nice weather.

When it finally clears up, we can go back to some got the things that make summer on the Outer Banks so special.

All of the small outdoor music venues had to cancel their shows this past week. That would be places like Ocean Boulevard, with it’s wonderful setting on the beach road. Or the roof top venue at Rundown Cafe. Both of those are n Kitty Hawk.

In Nags Head it would be hard to find a better place to relax with a drink, watch the sunset over the Roanoke Sound and listen to music than Pamlico Jacks.

And those are just a few of the venues that had to cancel shows this week because of the weather…and thankfully, the weather is looking like it’s going to cooperate for Tuesday evening on.

That also means things are looking great for First Friday this coming Friday in downtown Manteo.

First Friday has truly become one of the Outer Banks summer traditions that people really look forward to. There is four or five block area along the water front in the town that is ideal for enjoying live music, some sidewalk cafes, some art and a night out.

There’s always a lot happening on the Outer Banks. Check out our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates homes for the perfect location to enjoy all the there is to do and see.

Late November Closing for Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern

Fundraiser from GEM Adult services at Kelly's Outer Banks Tavern in 2016. Fundraising was a frequent activity at the bar.
Fundraiser from GEM Adult services at Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern in 2016. Fundraising was a frequent activity at the bar.
End of an Era Comes Sooner Than Expected

Last week Mike Kelly confirmed rumors that had been swirling about for some time—at  the end of November he will be closing Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern.

If there is a surprise in this, it is that the closing is coming much sooner than expected. Most observers felt Mike would keep his flagship operation open through the New Year to take full advantage of the revenues the end of year celebrations generate.

For at least a year, Mike has been in negotiations with Lidl, a German discount grocery chain. With almost five acres available, the lot is one of the few left that is considered suitable for a large standalone store.

For long-time visitors to the Outer Banks and residents, there is a sense of an end of an era. Kelly’s has always been for years the go to place to meet friends or catch some live music. Perhaps most significantly, Mike has always been generous with the use of his facility, working with a number of local nonprofit when they needed a place for a fundraiser.

Opened in 1985 after purchasing the original building, Kelly’s soon became the centerpiece of Outer Banks nightlife. With a large bar area, national acts could be booked on the Outer Banks.

As Kelly’s popularity grew, so did the need for more space and about 15 years ago, Mike doubled the capacity of his tavern.

It’s a mistake, though, to think Kelly’s is just a bar with entertainment. From the outset, the restaurant set a high bar for well-prepared food, an excellent wine list and outstanding service.

The success of the restaurant allowed Mike to expand, and the Kelly Hospitality Group now includes Pamlico Jack’s in Nags Head, Mako Mikes in Kill Devil Hills and Kelly’s Catering Services. There are no plans to close or discontinue any other of the operations.

BBQ & Wings-A Joe Lamb, Jr. Favorite Event

Serving up BBQ, ribs and wings at the 2017 Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates BBQ & Wings Showdown.
Serving up BBQ, ribs and wings at the 2017 Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates BBQ & Wings Showdown.

Our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates BBQ & Wings has the distinction of being our favorite event in the Taste of the Beach, one of our favorite Outer Banks happenings.

Near perfect weather greeted everyone at the Showdown.
Near perfect weather greeted everyone at the Showdown.

Yes the Chowder Cook-off is a lot of fun and the Grand Tasting puts some of the finest chefs anywhere together in one room, but it’s hard to imagine anything more quintessentially North Carolina that barbecue and wings.

And this year the weather gods really smiled on us.

It as nice, too, because the everyone who showed up could take their ribs, barbecue and wings out to the picnic area we had set up and enjoy a perfect Outer Banks spring day.

With Jonny Waters & Company back for a third year pushing out some great country and blues tunes, this seemed about as close to perfection as it gets.

Jonny Waters on drums beating out the rhythm to Santana's “Oye Coma Va."
Jonny Waters on drums beating out the rhythm to Santana’s “Oye Coma Va.”

We’re always cautious about reviewing the food we’re sampling except to say it was all wonderful. That, of course, is the safe way to go—we might think the sliders at Blue Water Grill were the best, but not everyone would agree.

The judges picked Pamlico Jack’s as the best pork BBQ and the People’s Choice award went to Frogman’s BBQ.

The one selection that we agree with and seemed to be fairly universal were the ribs from Simply Southern, just across the Wright Brothers Bridge in Currituck. Big, juicy, succulent smoked ribs. Fantastic.

We had a lot of fun, but it is a lot of work and our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates crew really stepped up. We also could not have done this with out the help of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau who sponsored the event with us.

A tough job, but someone has to do it. At the judge's table.
A tough job, but someone has to do it. At the judge’s table.

Judges Award for Best Pork BBQ – Pamlico Jack’s

Judges Award for Best Ribs – Simply Southern Kitchen

Judges Award for Best Wings – Cafe Lachine

People’s Choice Award for Best BBQ – Frogman’s BBQ

People’s Choice Award for Best Ribs – Simply Southern Kitchen

People’s Choice Award fir Best Wings – New York Pizza Pub

Mike Kelly Negotiating Sale of Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern


Ending months, if not a couple of years, of speculation, Mike Kelly announced he is in negotiations to sell the property where Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern is located. In interviews with local newspapers and online reporting, he stressed that nothing is imminent, but it is apparent that he is ready to move on after 31 years of providing great food and entertainment on the Outer Banks.

Mike pointed out in interviews that none of his children are interested in taking over his business and that he felt now that he was approaching retirement age, this was the time to start pulling back.

Although he is in negotiations, the restaurant and tavern is booked through New Years, so no matter what, nothing is going to happen right away.

There are a rumors but no hard facts about who or what will be moving into the five acre site. Mike has made it clear that it will not be a chain restaurant, but beyond that, anything is speculation.

What the next business will be will be come more clear when the first set of tentative plans are presented to the Nags Head Planning Board, although at this point in time, nothing is scheduled.

Still up in the air is whether there are any plans to sell the other two restaurants in the Kelly’s Group, Mako Mikes and Pamlico Jacks.


A Special Fundraiser for The Lost Colony

Anias Dare, Sir Walter Raleigh and Chief Manteo making an appearance at Pamlico Jack's.
Anias Dare, Sir Walter Raleigh and Chief Manteo making an appearance at Pamlico Jack’s.

What a great evening at Pamlico Jack’s in Nags Head. Billed as a Night of  Friends, Food & Fine Wine Benefitting The Lost Colony, it was all of that a little bit more.

The food was absolutely outstanding. Hard to pick out a favorite, but the bbq bacon wrapped pineapple squares was universally given excellent reviews as an appetizer. Main course—impossible to choose . . . a three way tie among the roasted mahi in shrimp in puff pastry, pork loin medallions or braised red cabbage and the grilled Angus shoulder tenderloin.

The wines came for Francis Coppola Winery and what made it really special is the new winery and label Coppola is introducing—Virginia Dare Wines. With a label hearkening back to the original labels from the North Carolina Winery of the early 20th Century, it almost seemed like a blast from the past, although the NC Virginia Dare wines were sweet muscadine wines.

The Virginia Dare Winery, located in Geyersville, is turning out some very nice classic California wines. The chardonnay in particular really stood out.

What really set this evening apart, though was the appearance of Eleanor Dare, her husband Anias Dare, Sir Walter Raleigh and Chief Manteo as guests of honor. Their appearance though was overshadowed by the arrival of Queen Elizabeth—in the person of Barbara Hird.

After some rather pithy yet humorous remarks from the Queen, the feast began—and a wonderful evening it was.

Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates. is a proud sponsor of The Lost Colony.

#Joelamb #thelostcolony