At first glance, Keagan's Irish Pub and Finn McCool's don't seem so different. Both are thoroughly Irish establishments, serving traditional dishes of shepherd's pie, bangers 'n' mash, and fish ’n’ chips in dining rooms adorned with dark woods and stonework accents. Both also feature regular karaoke nights and live-music acts that regale patrons with songs so catchy they're under investigation by the CDC. But Finn McCool's stands out from its sister restaurant in one important aspect—its seafood bar, replete with broiled oysters and clams, steamed shrimp and snow crab, and sautéed mussels that arrive to tables solo or in hefty combination platters.
Lush greenery and pigment-soaked flowers surround Pungo Grill's converted 1919 cottage where visitors can snuggle up on an outdoor deck and revel in southern hospitality. The kitchen's creations are equally comforting, with platters of Louisiana–styled etoufee, chicken-and-sausage gumbo, and pan-fried catfish sending savory wafts down the length of long banquet tables and into inspiration journals of high-end perfumers. In addition to its homestyle menu, Pungo fills glasses with a full bar's worth of frosty libations and miniature ice sculptures.
Located at the rear of Virginia Beach Resort Hotel, TradeWinds Restaurant faces the Chesapeake Bay. A covered patio, buffered only by tall grasses, abuts the waters, which wash over every aspect of TradeWinds, from the bayside ambiance to the menu's locally sourced oysters, salmon, and crab. Fresh seafood pairs with new york strip steak at dinner and with salads and sandwiches at lunch. During Sunday brunch, the bright dining room fills with the aromas of made-to-order omelets and seared yellowfin tuna slathered in a variety of spices and sauces.
Chocolate from Guittard, Callebaut and Valrhona, organic vanilla beans, and a host of other all-natural ingredients elevate Just Cupcakes’ handcrafted confections above the pastry’s work-a-day reputation. Their team of bakers whips up an ever-changing menu of treats, in flavors that range from apple cinnamon and chocolate peanut butter to coconut and s’mores. For more options, clients can peruse the more comprehensive online flavor catalog or place a special order for cupcakes that spell out “It’s a Boy!” or “It’s a Boy?”
Chefs at HoneyBaked Ham Co. and Café lovingly roast and smoke handcrafted signature meats, glazing them in-house to fill plates with fresh deli sandwiches and hearty dinners. Whip up an impromptu dinner starring honey-crusted slices of the meat magnate's celebrity ham ($11.99/lb.) supported by a cast of 11 heat-and-serve side dishes such as green-bean casserole or sweet potato soufflé ($8.99 for a large, serves 6–8). Roast beef wrapped in a rich croissant meets privately with cold sides and a fresh brownie or cookie within executive boxed lunches ($7.29), an upgrade from midday meals toted in brown bags or a shoelace. Hands outfit the Thanksgiving mascot with melted cheddar cheese and hickory honey-mustard sauce in the hot Turkey Bacon Blitz sandwich ($6.49), but leave tender baby back ribs bare but for a blanket of barbecue sauce ($17.99). Meals end on a sweet note with a creamy cheesecake ($8.49), whose velvety clouds of dairy sing sweeter than a well-tempered contralto.
Outer Banks Seafood Company's freshly caught seafood dishes are conceptualized by owner Chef Wes Stepp, who is also the culinary brains behind Red Sky café (click here to see him in action.) Flip through the new fall menu and encounter oven-roasted parmesan-encrusted flounder-and-crab florentine ($22.99) and the nags header, which keeps seafood diehards canoeing through the door for jumbo lump crab-cake, scallops, fresh shrimp, and flounder fillet ($25.99). Non-seafoodies can chomp Carova grilled barbecue chicken, which rests on a bed of red neck risotto and a smattering of mango relish ($14.99). For dessert, indulge in the red velvet cake ($6.99), layered so high that it would be considered the second-tallest building in Delaware.