John’s Drive-In is legendary in the Outer Banks. This little beach stand gets a lot of love by offering locals and tourists the best in beach food and milkshakes. 

The dolphin boat is one of the most talked about meals on the sandbar. Grab one to go and enjoy it for a scrumptious lunch on the beach. It might just be the best fish you taste on the Outer Banks. There’s also BBQ, hamburgers and sandwiches at this old-fashioned drive-in. You can smell the food frying as you approach the stand, which means it’s time to indulge in onion rings, hush puppies and fries.

Be sure to wash it all down with one of John’s famous thick milkshakes. The peanut butter chocolate banana milkshake and cherry chocolate shake are among the best. 

John's Drive-in is old school. Food is prepared in a tiny kitchen and served in paper bags for takeout. You can eat the food on picnic benches out front, but there’s likely to be a crowd. John’s is a dive with a lot of pride and people in the Outer Banks always go back for more.

John’s Drive-In is open seasonally and closed on Wednesdays. Hours are limited and vary. It’s well worth a drive out of your way to see if the stand is open. Lines can be long because the stand is so popular. However, you’ll receive friendly service and your food will be prepared on the spot rather quickly.

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Kitty Hawk
  • Monday11:00am-6:00pm
  • Tuesday11:00am-6:00pm
  • Thursday11:00am-6:00pm
  • Friday11:00am-6:00pm
  • Saturday11:00am-6:00pm
  • Sunday11:00am-6:00pm
Jimmy's Seafood Buffet

Home of the Crab Leg & Lobster Buffet for 25! years! Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet is a great stop for an all you can eat affordable dinner extravaganza. The buffet offers over 100 different items. It even serves Jumbo Alaskan crab legs and Jumbo steamed shrimp, something you will not find on any other buffet in the OBX. The buffet offers a variety of seafood and non seafood options. Try some of Jimmy’s seafood options and load your plate with blackened tuna, Louisiana crawfish, steamed scallops and mussels, fried oysters and deviled crabs. Not in the mood for seafood? Fill your plate with steak, pineapple glazed ham, fried chicken, BBQ ribs, and fettuccini Alfredo to name a few. The buffet also offers a kid section. Let your kids load their plates with chicken tenders, mac and cheese, and corn dog nuggets. Don’t forget dessert! The buffet also offers soft serve ice cream and a plethora of baked goods. 


It’s been 25 years since Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet opened its doors for the first time. Since that inaugural summer, the goal has remained the same: provide customers with a tasty, fresh array of seafood full of Caribbean flavor.


Elizabeth Dowless and her husband Jerry had always worked in restaurants in the Outer Banks, so when the opportunity to open Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet with a couple of friends arose, it was an easy yes. The Dowlesses bought out the business in 2003, excited to turn Jimmy’s into an Outer Banks staple. When Jerry passed away later that year, Dowless knew she wanted to continue pursuing their dream on her own.


Dowless went all in on the concept of a fresh, flavorful seafood buffet and her hard work paid off. Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet is a beloved fixture of Outer Banks dining, with customers returning year after year for the fresh fare.


“Customers keep in contact with me throughout the winter. I get people every day asking me when we’re opening for the season, and customers book their vacations around our opening,” Dowless says. “I absolutely love getting to see familiar faces come back to see us each year. I love seeing them lose their minds over the buffet! Their excitement is what I love most about my job.”