Long before the summer vacationing families discovered the Outer Banks as a hot tourist destination, fishermen from across the country flocked to coastal North Carolina. With no roads to navigate, and no vacation homes to stay in, anglers would brave the makeshift sandy paths that ran along thebeaches, and would set up makeshift campsites whenever there was protection from the wind and waves. They went through great efforts to visit the Outer Banks for one reason: Exceptional fishing.
Since it first opened in 1996, Basnight’s has been the restaurant where all the movers and shakers in the state would eat when they visted the barrier islands. Owned by Outer Banks native and former state Sen. Marc Basnight and his family, the restaurant, located on the Nags Head-Manteo causeway, is busy nearly all year long. But its lineage is not the reason it’s become so popular. Lone Cedar can boast that it serves only fresh local seafood caught by local fishermen, as well as the freshest North Carolina produce available.
Fresh caught clams, shrimp, oysters, crabs and finfish are selected daily and cleaned on premises in the fish-cleaning building adjacent to the restaurant. In season, an onsite crab shedder provides the freshest possible soft-shell crabs. Meat includes USDA Prime Harris Ranch All-Natural Black Angus Beef raised on all-natural vegetarian feed that is hormone- and antibiotic-free, as well as all natural Ashley Farms poultry and pork products from North Carolina farms. To top it off, chefs cook with fresh herbs picked from the restaurant’s own herb garden; desserts are made from scratch by an in-house pastry chef; deep-fried foods are prepared with natural, no trans-fat soybean oil; and a 2,000-bottle wine cellar is on expansive premises. Not to mention the restaurant’s panoramic view of the Roanoke Sound and its glorious sunsets; a full-service bar that includes 55 beers with five on tap; an attractive gift shop; authentic Outer Banks décor and memorabilia; and decks where diners can spy on ospreys Lucy and Ricky building the family nest and raising their chicks. Dancing and live music are available on some nights throughout the year in The Osprey Lounge.