If you thought the Big Oak’s building looked good to hungry passers-by, El’s is downright seductive.
The building is tiny and the parking lot usually jammed with cars. Every time I drive into Morehead City on the way to the beach, I feel its tug. I don’t stop, though, because I’ve already eaten two barbecue lunches and maybe some boil’ peanuts, and the parking lot is too full. You can see a short write-up of one El’s experience (with references to Tippi Hedren!) here.
My first trip to El’s this year was blocked by a full parking lot about 3:30 p.m. As I say, it’s always full. On my second try I went almost as soon as they opened and succeeded in avoiding the crowds. I ordered a small shrimpburger.
That’s a good shrimpburger. They now put more shrimp than they did before, and their slaw is still good, a fine complement to the shrimp. The bun arrives slightly steamed in the wrapper, and the whole sandwich fits together very well. As you can see, it came with hushpuppies at no extra cost, and they were very good hushpuppies. They tasted as good as they look. The service was quick and friendly, and the whole thing was, as I recall, $5.80 plus a generous tip.
And I didn’t see a single seagull.
El’s is now on the rise, and has left the Big Oak in the dust, It is the 2020 second runner-up in the World’s Best Shrimpburger competition. El’s would be the choice for a shrimpburger if you are in Morehead City or Atlantic Beach on a day when the Captain’s Kitchen is parked at its Emerald Isle location, or whenever you just want a snack rather than a meal. Actually, you should give El’s a try regardless, just to taste a bit of Americana. You’ll enjoy it.
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