It’s June! The sun is shining and the water is warm, it’s prime time to enjoy OBX life to the fullest. Blow a kiss goodbye to your hot kitchen, get out of the house, and have a good meal somewhere. At the top of my list this week is Two Roads Tavern, located between the highways in Kill Devil Hills.
Their menu has my heart for many reasons, most of all because of their Carolina Pickle Brine Sandwich – a fried chicken breast that’s been soaked in pickle brine and hot sauce for a good long time, long enough to let that salty, sour, spicy juice soak in and render the chicken completely plump and tender. The flour the chicken is coated in is the trick, according to Kyle Forbes, the owner of Two Roads. A chef buddy of his developed it a few years ago. It’s not just flour and it’s definitely not breadcrumbs or cornmeal; there’s a sugary, sweet, unknown component that makes it the very best.
OK, I know what this component is because Kyle told me. But, this Carolina Pickle Brine Sandwich is so good, I feel a little protective over it. Who am I to spoil the surprise? You must go taste it for yourself and if you really need to know the secret, ask Kyle and he’ll tell you. The sandwich is served with their Two Roads Sauce, scratch-made with local Kill Devil Rum, barbecue sauce, and honey, among other things that amount to a sweet and tangy, buttery-tasting sauce you could eat with just about anything.
What if you’re not in the mood for chicken? The burgers and oysters are unique and delicious with flavor combinations you didn’t even know you were craving. For example, the Oysters Kitty Hawk: a tabasco lime butter (enough said, right?), parmesan and mozzarella melted over the grilled oysters, and toasty bread alongside to rescue any extra butter or cheese spills. Your choices of burgers are many, but I couldn’t get past the first one on Two Roads’ menu: The Hangover Burger. Layer by layer, this burger is everything you need between two pieces of bread.
Smoothed across the bottom bun is Two Road’s homemade maple bacon jam, made with garlic and onions cooked down in coffee, maple syrup, and a little booze for extra kick. The jam becomes warm and loose, almost creamy with the heat and juice of the burger. The burger itself is a good 3/4” thick – cooked just right and packing lots of flavor. Shingled over top of the burger patty is a layer of sharp cheddar cheese and exactly what you want and need to see next: more bacon. Two thick slices of salty bacon, held in place by that melty cheese.
What’s this lovely, oozy, golden creaminess sneaking its way into every bite? The runny fried egg that makes this Hangover Burger so effective. I don’t have the science to back this up, but a runny fried egg on a burger will soften the aftermath of a big night out every time. It’s also just perfect on a Thursday afternoon when run-of-the-mill hunger sets in. Last, another crispy fried touch of breakfast for your pleasure: hash browns with little flecks of herbs speckled throughout, nestled right on top of the egg, topped off with a buttery brioche bun. Big sigh… life is good, you guys.
Over the past few years, since Two Roads Tavern opened in 2016, Forbes has added popular seafood classics to the menu, like surf and turf and crabcakes, and there are vegan options as well. Spend a little time at Two Roads and you’ll pick up on the easy-going, friendly, and caring vibe of this smooth operation. Kyle takes good care of his loyal crew so they can take good care of us. Pop in for lunch or dinner, order a yummy thing or three, and enjoy some of the culinary talent our beach has to offer at Two Roads Tavern.