As we continue with our tour of the Outer Banks, I take you out of Manteo and into a much, much different world. Prepare yourself.

Of course, one thing that is highly sought after around the beach area is fresh seafood, right? I myself had made it a point to eat as much seafood as possible while we were there. This means meals can get a little pricey, but I was OK with that if the product was good. In fact, that’s kind of my motto when eating out: I don’t mind paying money, a lot of money sometimes, for something that is delicious. But I am very disappointed at paying this money when things are as good, or less than, what I can make at home. I’m a pretty decent cook, so I think this is fair.

My husband’s singular gastronomic goal for this trip was to eat one meal in an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. In fact, this was a desire shared by many friends on the trip, and one I did not oppose. The long stretch of the Outer Banks had a plethora of such places.

We decided to eat at Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet. This buffet was located in Kitty Hawk. The website wisely does not include any pictures of the inside of the restaurant. This is because the look and smell of the restaurant is accosting as soon as you walk through the door. I suppose I should add a disclaimer here that (yes, once again) I was not feeling well the night we went to eat here, so I was probably a bit more sensitive than usual and not really looking forward to my limited “all-you-can-eat” capacity.

OK, so back to the inside of this place. It was PACKED when we went, and we had to wait a good ten minutes to be seated even though we had called ahead of time in accordance to the instructions we were given by the buffet. We were a large party and tried to make reservations, but they did not accept reservations and rather told us to call about half an hour before we were to arrive. We did.

Be warned that during this wait, Jimmy’s has wisely turned their waiting area into a Oriental Trading Company store. Those of you with kids will likely get talked into buying something during this loud, long wait.

Look closely at all the stuff you will be tempted to buy….

We were finally seated among the bright colors, concert-level noise, greasy tables, and stale smell. The place reminded me more of Chuck-E-Cheese than a $30 per person buffet. This became even more true when, packed like sardines in this place, kids were running around, screaming, and bumping into my seat.

I tried to avoid the buffet. I really did. As a general rule, I have some issues with the germs involved with buffets. But, the non-buffet menu was only a dollar or two cheaper than the buffet, and offered the same appeal of food. So I took the buffet. We also had a coupon, found in our travel guide (Jimmy’s has several coupons available in both guides) for a free whole lobster. The majority of people at our table took advantage of this deal (who wouldn’t?).

The buffet offered no shortage of choices, I have to say. There was a whole section for just different types of crab legs. There were two different soups offered. And then several more long tables of contributions. For those who like to eat crab legs, it probably was a good deal. That isn’t me.

I have to say, the soup eaten from a kiddy, brightly colored plastic bowl and greasy spoon was actually decent, if you could ignore the grains of sand found in it. There were also a few other things eaten off the bright plastic that were fairy edible, including some thrice baked potatoes covered in cheese and some of the fish.

Then the lobsters came.

And boy. We cracked open those bright red, dripping suckers to find an array of exciting things, including eggs, guacamole-looking feces, and actual meat. The sight was enough to make me want to throw up at the table.

Open at your own risk

I tried not to complain because (1) I attributed some of my bad experience from simply not feeling well (and to be fair, that’s not really Jimmy’s fault), (2) the majority of people I was with seemed to be enjoying themselves, and (3) this was really the only thing that my husband had asked from this trip, and he REALLY likes crab legs.

Everyone else seemed to enjoy themselves

But I truly think, for what we spent on this gross experience, we could have had a meal fit for a king.

Take my advice if you are seeking an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet in the Outer Banks: avoid this one. Just please trust me. I write these reviews so that you can learn from my experiences, both good and bad.

Next time, I will take you on a polar opposite experience, OK? I promise. Until then, bon appétit!

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