The 2020 World’s Best Shrimpburger Competition: The Captain’s Kitchen, Indian Beach and Emerald Isle, North Carolina, Three-Peats!

NEWS FLASH!  The Captain’s Kitchen has won the World’s Best Shrimpburger  Competition, the Super Bowl for shrimpburgers, for the third year in a row.

The Captain’s Kitchen is a food truck that alternates between the two above locations.  The victory is no surprise, but the three-peat is historic.

(Having interrupted my 3 1/2 day barbecue-eating trip for a Special Bulletin review of the newly reopened Wilber’s, I’ve gone with one more and then will get back to the barbecue.)  I had been planning to do the traditional countdown — second runner-up, first runner-up who will have to serve if anything happens to Miss America — before crowning the champion, but why make you wait to learn which is best?  The summer is short, and I want the best for my readers.

I began my annual survey to find the best shrimpburger in the world as soon as I got to the beach.  For those not familiar with the shrimpburger — and I actually overheard a young man in the pool complaining that his shrimpburger came without a hamburger  — a shrimpburger consists of a hamburger-style bun, a number of small fried shrimp, slaw, and a sauce (often ketchup or cocktail sauce).  If you are at the beach in North Carolina, you have to eat a shrimpburger, the same way you have to eat lobster in Maine or green chile enchiladas in New Mexico.  You have to.

After an exhaustive analysis, I narrowed the field to the following contestants:  The Big Oak, the Captain’s Kitchen, the Clamdigger, El’s, and the Shark Shack.

First, the factors on which shrimpburgers are judged.  They are the value, (largely based on the number of shrimp per dollar/quality of the shrimp); the slaw; the sauce; the bun; the taste, which is a combination of the prior standards; and service.

The Captain’s Kitchen leads in every category.  With about a half pound of shrimp on a $7 sandwich, it has twice as much as anyone else’s.  Here’s our first order of the trip, two shrimpburgers and a grouper sandwich:

captain sand

Let’s take a closer look before you notice the onion rings.captaonm closeup.

The Captain’s Kitchen has no serous competition for Value.  And the shrimp are fresh and perfectly fried.  You also should try a grouper sandwich.  It came with four pieces of grouper and was too much for Liza to eat without Lily’s considerable help.

captain lily

And perhaps best of all is the oyster sandwich … but we digress.

Nor is there serious competition for sauce, with the introduction of the Captain’s Kitchen Spicy Ranch Sauce.  (See those containers in the top picture?)  Delicious, absolutely delicious — and great on french fries.  Other sauces are available, including Klechner’s cocktail sauce and a good tartar sauce.

There’s some competition on the slaw front from El’s, but the Captain’s, which is fresh and lightly dressed, comes out on top.

The Captain’s Kitchen is served on a Martin’s Potato Roll.  ‘Nuff said.

And the Captain’s Kitchen also wins on service.  It consistently has clocked the shortest waiting time from arrival to order to getting food and departure with food.  And Captain Marty Muns is friendly and helpful with his comments and patient with explanations. I’ll note that while the ratings were being calculated by our accountants at Payless Tax Preparers and Bail Bonds, Inc., two young boys came up and ordered two of something that cost $6 each (double cheeseburgers?).  They only had $6, enough for one.  The Captain gave them two.  That’s nice.

The bottom line: No one can touch the Captain’s Kitchen.

We’ll next get back to the remaining four posts from my barbecue-eating trip, and then I’ll review and rank the remaining shrimpburger contestants.  These are important.  You need to know if you get trapped, say, in Morehead City when the Captain’s Kitchen is at Emerald Isle and you need a shrimpburger before an important job interview or before your friends drink up all the beer.  But for now, plan your schedule so that you have time to get to the Captain’s Kitchen for a shrimpburger, and back again for a grouper sandwich, and then again for an oyster sandwich, and ….


And while you’re at it, click “follow” on our front page to receive blog posts in your email box.  Or bookmark us and check in from time to time.  If you’re planning a trip, you can “Search” the name of the city, state, or country for good restaurants (in Europe, usually close to sites, like the Louvre or the Van Gogh Museum, that you’ll want to visit in any event).  Comments, questions, and suggestions of places to eat or stories to cover are very welcome.  And check out our Instagram page, johntannerbbq.

9 thoughts on “The 2020 World’s Best Shrimpburger Competition: The Captain’s Kitchen, Indian Beach and Emerald Isle, North Carolina, Three-Peats!

  1. Went there Wednesday after a charter ( I teach people to fish, for a living) and the ATM machine had been sitting in the sun and was baked, I had no cash after paying for fuel, ice and drinks. Capt Marty gave me a super shrimp burger. Went back today and paid him back when I ordered my next one. He Thanked me for remembering and the burger was stuffed with shrimp. Thanks Capt. Marty

    Capt Bud Wegner
    See Ya Outdoors! , LLC

    Liked by 1 person

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