One of the neat things about the North Carolina's Crystal Coast is that everyone has a favorite restaurant and they're all different. One of our neighbors had mentioned to me a while back that the Red Barn Grill in Hubert, NC was a great spot to get reasonably priced, very fresh seafood. He had described the directions from the gate at Camp Lejeune.
On one of our recent trips to Swansboro, I saw a sign for Route 172 which leads through Camp Lejeune. On a whim we decided to see if we could find the Red Barn Grill since it was after 5 pm. Since the roads didn't look like my neighbor's description, we stopped at Camp Lejeune's gate and asked directions from a youthful and clean cut Marine. He had never heard of the Red Barn Grill, but on his advice we headed bad towards Route 24.
It was then I decided to try my favorite gadget on what I had at one time labeled "my new portable computer" which turns out to be my heavily computerized Acura MDX. That favorite device would be my GPS which I often describe as a "Great Road Warrior tool." On the trip down from Roanoke to Swansboro I had discovered a neat feature which actually tells you the names of the services at a particular Interstate exit. It also will list restaurants ranked by distance in an area where you're traveling.
We've used that feature successfully before on trips to the NC coast when the hunger for barbecue struck us. Since we were a few miles from any known restaurant, I guessed that the GPS would have a listing for the Red Barn Grill. A few taps on the touch sensitive screen and my guess was proven correct. Without even slowing down or changing direction, we were off on a culinary adventure. The GPS had also shown the distance to the Red Barn Grill as eleven miles so the trip was going to be short.
In just a few minutes we were pulling up in front of the restaurant where I noticed a hand lettered sign that said "Fresh Local Oysters." I was sold immediately, and we started walking towards the building. It was pretty obvious from the GPS that we were at the end of the road and a later look at another map confirmed it.
Once inside, we eventually figured out that you needed to order at the counter and then go wait at your table for your food in what appeared to be a converted general store. Of course I went for the fried oysters, and my wife, Glenda, decided to try the flounder fillet. It wasn't long before our food arrived. It was fresh, tasty, and came with the fried seafood restaurant standard of "fries, slaw, and hush puppies." The oysters were small but very good. Glenda opined that her flounder hadn't been out of the water very long. It was a very good meal at a reasonable price and was even served on a red-checkered table cloth. The hush puppies were better than average but not up to the standard of the Sobotta Family Hush Puppies.
Of course it is pretty hard to beat home cooking, and I still favor fresh caught flounder either from the local sea food market or my own hook and line. That way I can do my own cooking and end up with what something really special, "A Southern delicacy, pan fried flounder."
However, don't let that stop you from trying the Red Barn Grill in Hubert. It's a interesting experience with good seafood. The other food must be pretty good also since they were out of their spaghetti special before 5:30 pm. They also seem to be open for breakfast, but it's a little far us to give that a try.
We didn't have great cell phone coverage in the area so if you're calling for directions, do it before you get on the road. Their phone number is (910) 326-1163. The address for the Red Barn Grill is 101 Red Barn Rd, Hubert, NC.
One other note, if you're out shopping for an auto GPS, they are not all created equal. I find the one on our Toyota Avalon to be of limited usefulness while the one on our Acura MDX is something that I use all the time. The rule for GPSs would be try before you buy.