Full Moon Cafe and Brewery in Manteo, NC

     My beach vacation was officially over Monday morning when I had to head back to work.  Thats the thing about vacations, they end.  Back to life, back to reality, back to the daily grind.  After driving for 10 hours we arrived home and Eric softly said, “Is taking a vacation worth it if you feel like this when you come home?”  He was only half serious of course.  We were both partly happy to be home but sad the vacation had come to an end.  What I love most about the time after a vacation has ended is coming home and looking through all the pictures.  We take a lot of pictures while on our vacations.  They immediately cause a rush of all the good memories made.  I especially enjoyed the days we spent in Manteo.   Manteo is a quaint little town on Roanoke Island part of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  For us a trip to the Outer Banks is not complete without a trip to Manteo.  It is a town that is steeped in history.  History buffs may know that the first English Child was born here in 1587.  There is plenty to do in this big little town.  Step back in time by visiting the Lost Colony and its many exhibits.  Enjoy a state of the art play while overlooking the sound at Roanoke Island Festival Park’s outdoor pavilion. Peruse interesting shops, art galleries, book stores and potteries all within a few blocks.  Spend the afternoon paddling the sound with a rented kayak or SUP.  Visit the Roanoke Island lighthouse to learn about it and to get a glimpse of the maritime history of Northeast North Carolina.  We enjoy frequenting the John Silver Gallery and Wanchese Pottery and meandering our way around the docks drooling over all the sailboats whenever we visit this unique artistic town.

Swooning over this particular sailboat.

On this trip, as any we make to the Outer Banks, we were looking for something new to discover.  We have been going to the Outer Banks for yearly vacations nearly every year since I was 7.  Over time the place has changed a lot as have our tastes so no worries there is plenty of newness to discover.  A place can change a lot in a year.  This year with my husband and two cousins, brothers Lance and Kory, we made the drive to this scenic little town.  Craft brewing (well drinking craft brews) has recently become a passion of mine and it may have been the reason while I noticed the Full Moon Cafe and Brewery on this particular visit to Manteo.  The cafe has actually been here since 1995 but the brewery was a more recent addition.  After all the drooling over the many sailboats and yachts, we began to get dehydrated (not really) and decided to stop for some sustenance and lovely drink at this establishment.

My cousins and I

We chose to sit outside as it was a lovely sunny day.  The beer menu was a beaut.  I was actually surprised at the large variety of brews on draft available here.  I am a sucker for dark beers, I absolutely love porters and stouts and they had several to choose from.  I chose the Charon Stout ~ A dry Irish stout with caramel and toasted malt flavors.  It was very dark and oh so smooth and had a complex richness to it.  I loved it.  Eric had the Stone of Destiny which was a Scotch Ale.  He was gracious enough to give me a taste.  It was really exceptional.  To my palate it was slightly sweet with pronounced caramel and roasted malt flavors.  It did have a hint of smokiness which added to the richness.  I really enjoyed my stout but I think Eric’s choice was even better.  The waitress suggested that since I enjoyed the stout I should try the porter too, but I just limited my self to one glass on this visit.  They had nine of their own signature brews on tap and offered a tenth choice from another local brewery The Weeping Radish. Beer flights are also offered which gives an opportunity to taste 4 beers in 5 oz pours.

The Charon Stout ~ Love this logo!

The cafe also has a nice indoor dining area which was cozy with a laid back vibe.  One of the signs on the outside of the restaurant has arrows pointing to either “brew” or “chew” depending on what your pleasure is.  The “brew” area is the pub area, where one can sit back relax and enjoy the brewery’s offerings.  There are also high top tables just outside the pub if sitting outside is desired.  We actually went back for a second visit on the second week of our vacation with a different group and I did try that porter!

Indoor seating at Full Moon Cafe and Brewery

The food menu at Full Moon Cafe is diverse.  It runs the gamut from yummy traditional and not so traditional bar food to gourmet specialties.  It truly offers something for everyone in your party from young to old and even the pickiest of eaters whatever their age.  Nachos, burgers, salads, wraps, vegetarian, fish and chips, shrimp and grits, fish du jour (which is local) and Carolina crab cakes are just some of the many tempting offerings.  I had the shrimp quesadilla, which was also stuffed with tomatoes, black olives, onion, bell pepper and select cheeses.  The shrimp was tender, juicy and plump, cooked to perfection with wonderful attention given to seasonings.  My only complaint was I wished it had been served with yellow rice instead of tortilla chips.  Eric ordered one of the sandwiches, a delicious tuna steak cooked to order, served with a topping of seaweed salad and pickled ginger.  He was one happy man after that lunch.

     We all loved our experience so much that next week when we were in Manteo again we just had to stop.  The second time around both myself and my Dad had that porter which was one of the best I have ever had (only second to our friend’s “Killer Boots” Caramel Porter at Verboten Brewery in Colorado).  We shared a plate of the calamari which had plenty of succulent tentacles, the best part!  But the icing on the cake of the second visit was having dessert.  I don’t know why we didn’t order dessert that first time.  Full Moon Cafe makes another thing really well and it paired fabulously with my porter, the chocolate mousse.  It was the best chocolate mousse I have ever had.  Rich, dense, creamy, and oh so chocolaty, it was topped with whipped cream to cut through the richness.  If ever visiting the Outer Banks take a trip to Manteo and pay this place a visit.  It will not disappoint.  Thank you Full Moon Cafe and Brewery for the wonderful experience times two! We can’t wait for another visit or maybe two next year!  Also to all those that want to leave a smaller footprint on the earth you can feel good about eating and drinking here.  They feel the same way, recycling whenever possible.  Spent grains that were used in brewing are fed to local cows, their fry oil becomes biofuel, and they recycle glass, aluminum and cardboard on a daily basis.  So go ahead get mooned!
The Porter on our second visit.
Full Moon Cafe on Urbanspoon
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