True Down East Seafood #AmWriting #MondayBlogs #recipes

As our vacation week comes to a close, I wanted to share the location of a restaurant that you wouldn’t even know to look for without someone telling you about it.

On a rainy Friday night on St. Patrick’s Day weekend several years ago, my son and I stayed in New Bern, NC. It was getting late and we were getting hungry, so we asked a local where we might go to get some seafood. He directed us to a place out in Arapahoe. It was dark and rainy, but we headed east on Highway 55 turning right on 306 and going about eight miles (seemed like 20) as instructed. We drove, and drove and drove…and almost gave up until we spotted it on the right.

We got out, kinda soaked, and went in. To our surprise, there was no one there. First thing out of my mouth was, “Oh boy, maybe we should go.” But then we were greeted by a friendly waitress who seated us and handed us the menus. After sitting for a few minutes, we ordered and I inquired as to where everybody was. She said it was probably the weather as it is a little ways out, which I agreed.

Nice thing being the only customers is you get served first. Our food was out in about 10-15 minutes and looked absolutely delicious. My tuna was seared medium rare to perfection. Spencer’s panned shrimp and crabmeat, a traditional down east favorite, was delicious as well. The only mistake I made was thinking that the wasabi was guacamole. Lesson learned after taking a big bite. Yow! I guess it had been a long trip.

Gary’s Down East Seafood, open since 1985 and owned by Gary Hardison, continues to serve up Down East seafood in the traditional way. Open everyday except Monday, they serve up a wide variety of seafood selections including shrimp, crab, oysters, flounder, whitefish and tuna as well landlubber specials such as rib-eyes and burgers.

On our special evening, with the restaurant to ourselves, Gary soon joined us. After a lengthy discussion about seafood and how it should be prepared, he brought us a sample of his famous She-Crab soup. It was the best I have tasted since I left the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

This place is well worth going out of your way to get to. I might add that if you choose to keep going all the way down 306 to Minnesott Beach, you can hop the Cherry Branch-Minnesott Beach Ferry to go back home, as one of my friends did on their trip to Gary’s. Either way, if you are in the area and looking for Down East Seafood at it’s best, you gotta go to Gary’s!


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