Surf, Sand, Sun and Specials - Some of the best deals from local restaurants

Soak in some of our favorite cheap eats by the sea this summer.

By Patrick Evans Hylton | Photos by Jim Pile

Summer is a time for indulging, but dining out doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether taking a long weekend or a week-long staycation to enjoy the beaches from Ocean View in Norfolk to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, focus on the fun and not the cost. We’ve got some ideas for breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner to get the biggest bang for the buck.

The Restaurant: Captain Groovy's, 8101 Shore Dr., Norfolk, 757-965-4667,
The Vibe: Retro- Now Oyster Bar
The Meal: Happy Hour
The Deal: Groovy Daddy specials happen nightly from 4 until 7 p.m. and include halfoff oysters, clams and wings. Oysters and clams are available steamed or raw and served with cocktail sauce and lemon. The regular price for oysters is $7.50 for a half-dozen and $14 for a dozen; the regular price for clams is $7 for a half-dozen and $12 for a dozen. Local varieties prevail, with fresh, clean sea aroma and flavor.

The Voodoo Wings are a signature item, tossed in a sweet/ heat sauce available as mild or hot (we recommend hot) and served with blue cheese dressing. The regular price is $6.50 for a half-dozen or $12 for a dozen. Note: There are nightly drink specials, too, including sangria and Regatta Rum Punch at $4 each per glass and Red Stripe beer for $2.50 per bottle. Wednesday is also half-off all bottles of wine.



The Restaurant: Surf Rider, 2100 Marina Shores, Virginia Beach, 757-481-5646,
The Vibe: Old School Seafood Views of Marina Shores Marina
The Meal: Dinner
The Deal: Many of Surf Rider’s options are well-priced, but we like the old school-style crab cake, a good mix of meat, filler and spices, broiled until golden on the outside and moist and flavorful on the inside. The one-cake dinner is priced at $12.45 (you can get two crab cakes for $21.95) and comes served with two vegetables (mashed potatoes, french fries, potato salad, coleslaw, salad or Caesar salad) or steamed broccoli. The steamed broccoli is a signature item; a large portion comes with a side of housemade hollandaise for dipping.
Note: A crab cake sandwich is available for $9.95 and is served with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.




The Restaurant: Mahi Mah's Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Saloon, Inside the Ramada, 615 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, 757-437-8030,
The Vibe: Hot and Happening Views of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront
The Meal: Lunch
The Deal: A well-rounded menu showcases the eclectic, seafoodcentric menu at Mah’s. We like the Giant Stuffed Tuna Burrito, priced at $8.99. Stuffed within a large tortilla are ample amounts of bronzed, fresh yellow fin tuna, black beans and rice, freshly-made salsa, Monterey jack cheese and sour cream.

We often augment the offering with some sushi; Mah’s has long been known for their fresh offerings of classics—more than a dozen pieces are available, starting at just $2.25 for a serving.




The Restaurant: Big Sam's Inlet Cafe & Raw Bar, 300 Winston Salem Ave, Virginia Beach, 757-428-4858,
The Vibe: Beach Shack Chic Views of Rudee Inlet
The Meal: Breakfast
The Deal: Breakfast at Big Sam’s is legendary, and leading the list of favorites are Grandma’s Pancakes. The actual recipe of the owner’s grandmother, these are classic, no-frills pancakes. But what wonderful pancakes they are—golden exterior, fluffy interior, light texture, slightly sweet and very filling.

The basic order, priced at $5.49, comes with a stack of three cakes with choice of bacon, sausage or ham. If you choose any of the other breakfast items, you can add a short stack of pancakes ala carte for $2.99. Note: Wash down breakfast with drink specials from 7–11 a.m. daily, including Bloody Mary’s, screwdrivers, greyhounds and cape cods priced at just $1.89 per cocktail.


The Restaurant: Bad Bean Taqueria, 3105 N. Croatan Hwy., Kill Devil Hills, NC, 252-261-1300,
The Vibe: Baja Cali Cool
The Meal: Lunch
The Deal: Fish tacos have moved from the exotic to the passé, seemingly offered everywhere, including fast food joints. But where regular fish tacos fail—the lack of fresh ingredients and attention to detail—Bad Bean Taqueria shines. Fresh mahi mahi—as in, just caught off the coast—is stuffed in toasted flour tortillas with housemade jicama slaw and salsa fresca. They are satisfying and delish and definitely true to the original Mexi-Cali concept; the mahi tacos are $4.25 each, and fresh shrimp tacos are $3.99 each. Other delish tacos are available too, including shredded chicken, pork barbacoa, beef brisket and vegetarian at $2.85 each.
Note: Although the drink costs more than the taco, we do love the Bad Bean Original Margarita; housemade mix is added to tequila, liqueur and ice and handshake—priced at $6.99. It’s vacation, treat yourself.


The Restaurant: Mama Kwan's Grill & Tiki Bar, 1701 S. Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills NC, 252-480-0967,
The Vibe: Tiki Bar
The Meal: Happy Hour
The Deal: This is the kind of place to come for a drink— an updated Trader Vic’s vibe makes for a groovy place to grab a bite and imbibe. We like the Parrot Head Freeze, priced at $12, because it is a tall, tropical drink perfect for summer, and comes in a pretty cool parrot-shaped glass that you can keep. But it is what is inside that counts—20 ounces of a frozen concoction of rums, berry liquors and fruit that will have you hanging on. The 12 buck price tag is easy to take considering the size and quality of the drink, as well as the fact that you can refill your new cup for $6.
Note: Get your nosh on along with your beverages— Polynesian-inspired dishes pepper the menu, including Pork Wontons, priced at $7.99. The order comes with wonton wrappers stuffed with ground pork and fried golden, then served  with a teriyaki dipping sauce.

Add your comment: