Monica & Zac sample Gary’s Down East Seafood & Oyster Bar
Pamlico County locals Monica & Zac are blogging about the places you should be eating!
Every county has some thing or some place that seems to be somewhat of a hidden gem. Most definitely, Gary’s Down East Seafood & Oyster Bar is just that for Pamlico County. Nestled in the most unlikely place on Highway 306 South in Arapahoe, Gary Hardison has served fresh seafood to the area for 32 years.
Opening in 1985 under the name, Granny’s, just a couple minutes down the road from his current location, Hardison’s fast success quickly turned into an expansion. The result, Gary’s Down East Seafood, with an oyster bar being added in 2005. When asked where he got the first name, Granny’s, Hardison answered with a chuckle, “Because I had four granny’s working for me”.
Inside of the restaurant, the atmosphere is very friendly, quite modest, and very quiet. We were greeted by Gary’s restaurant manager, Amber Bailey Smith, who is one of the kindest staff members and has been with the business for 13 years. Ushered to the back, into a more private area of the restaurant within minutes there are golden hush puppies and two bowls of soup on the table. The soups, suggested by Smith, were clam chowder and she crab. Let me tell you, it is still up for debate which was the best. They did not disappoint and were the perfect appetizers to what would come next.
The cook put together the finest variety dish which featured several of the most popular items on the menu. Grilled shrimp, sautéed scallops, seared asparagus with cheese, and homemade lump crab cake, which made up the main course. The meal was topped off with a baked sweet potato brushed with butter and cinnamon. Now if you have ever dreamed of anything as fulfilling you can surely make it a reality by stopping by Gary’s.
Smith assured us that there are many county natives that have never experienced a Gary’s meal and still those who, GET THIS, never knew there was a restaurant of this type in the area. Another cool fact we learned is that Hardison only shops local for his ingredients. Everything from the seafood down to the seasoning put on the food is purchased right here in Pamlico County.
So, we hope to change your mind the next time you think about crossing the bridge to go find good hospitality and downright good food. After all there is a hidden gem right here in your neck of the woods, better known as Gary’s Down East Seafood & Oyster Bar. Don’t forget to tell them that Monica and Zac sent you.