Island Perks Diner
46618 Highway 12 (map it!)
Buxton, NC 27595
Open daily 6:30 a.m. - 9 pm (bfast served till 11:30 a.m.)
Accepts cash and credit cards
Date of Visit: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: For all of you vacationers on the Outer Banks who fretted over the lack of a breakfast diner (okay, maybe it was just me), you can fret no more. You can add Island Perks Diner to the worthy list of breakfasts on the OBX.
How do we know for sure Island Perks is a diner? Because the word is plastered all over. Island Perks is located at the northern end of Buxton, just as Highway 12 curves westward. If you're going too fast, you could easily miss it.
ATMOSPHERE: Island Perks may be missing the surly waitresses, the old-timey counter, and the sticky menus, but it mixes the comfort of a diner with the softness (sorry, that's the only word I can think of) of a new coffee shop. So, it doesn't go full diner.
The entryway drops you in front of the counter. Order here and they'll bring your food out to you.
Help yourself to coffee (four different blends - nice!) or tea behind you. The coffee was above-average - a very pleasant surprise. Putting the "perks" in Island Perks.
You can sit indoors down one long room decorated with all sorts of oceany knick-knacks.
Or seat yourself on the just-as-oceany enclosed deck, although you may have to sit with the bathroom doors behind you. This type of weathered wooden siding embodies the look of the Outer Banks. Anyone who's traveled here recognizes the rows of wood-sided houses and businesses stretching down Highway 12.
FOOD: Island Perks offers what you would expect from a diner: decent food, but no real stand-outs. What sets theirs slightly apart is that they're not afraid of a little seasoning. We started out with a cinnamon roll. Nice and warm. Good layers to it.
Their menu is separated into four categories: The Basics (two eggs, et al.), Breakfast Wraps (all named using OBX terms like The Cape, the Ocracoker, etc), Egg Scrambles, and Breakfast Sandwiches. Picutred above is the Number One: two eggs, bacon, biscuit, and home fries. I added a pancake and some sausage gravy for the biscuit. Pretty much everything was that basic "I will chow down on this for breakfast" but forget about it a couple days later.
Another Number One, but with eggs over-easy. The home fries were good and browned.
One of our party ordered The Kinnakeeter, a breakfast wrap with eggs, bacon, sausage, and cheese.
Yet another combo plate. The one thing I really appreciate: they're not afraid to freakin' season their food! At the very least, I think diners should be willing to toss some salt and pepper on those eggs and potatoes. I'm constantly surprised at the bland potatoes that a served. It's dangerous to over-do the salt, yes, but don't just send me a plate as if to say, "Here, you deal with it."
SERVICE: Very friendly. One of those places where they actually took interest in the fact that I was taking pictures and writing about their restaurant, so they made an extra effort to show us around. Overall, things moved quickly. It felt like we hadn't been sitting long at our table before our food showed up.
OVERALL: Not my top pick for breakfast on the Outer Banks, but they give you something fairly close to the diner experience, with simple food that's decently seasoned and covers all the basics. One of the cheaper breakfasts on the island, too! I should note that they're also a full-service bakery; later in our vacation we ordered a cake from them - we actually got to speak directly with the baker about what we wanted - and that the cake was pretty good.
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