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Wahinis Surf Grill sign

Surf into Wahini's
Good service, awesome food and smiling faces

Just as you come around the corner by the motel in Buxton (heading south), you may have noticed a new restaurant on the right in the building with Day Dreams Clothing. It's called Wahini's Surf Grill and has "good service, awesome food and smiling faces" according to an entry in their guest book.

Wahini means both "surfer"and "Polynesian woman" and the décor reflects this with bamboo and colorful pictures of women surfers. The menu contains a brief history of women and the sport of surfing. The restaurant is even owned by three women – Dee, Susan and Komariah ("Kae"). (Interesting note: Kae is one of the former owners of Penny Lane.)

It’s a very casual, fun atmosphere that draws natives, tourists and surfers to Wahini's. Or maybe it’s the Gnarly Nachos, or the half-pound burger on Texas Toast, or the burritos, or the Thai chicken with “rooster sauce,” or the bacon cheeseburger burrito, or the Pipeline chicken, or the homemade desserts or the wide selection of beer and local wines.

And when Dee says they have local wines, she means it. They've got Biltmore Estate wines and Richard Childress wines. (The NASCAR guy who owned Dale Earnhardt's car? Uh-huh. He’s from North Carolina? Uh-huh. He makes wine? Uh-huh. Who knew?)

To get a sense of the quality of the food at Wahini's, you should know that Dee is a professionally trained cook from The Culinary Institute in Washington, DC. She really, really knows what she’s doing. “I hand cut every steak,” she said, “rib-eye, filet mignon, or T-bone.”

The food brings people back again and again. Wahini's hasn't been open that long (this is their second year) but they’ve already developed a following.

Did we mention the desserts? Things like Sweet Potato Pie, Apple Crumb Cake and Big Fat Chocolate Cake are frequently on the menu. We tried the apple crumb cake during our last visit, which came with whipped cream. It was served at room-temperature and probably would have been even better warm, but it disappeared before we could ask our extremely competent waitress to heat it up for us.

Along with our apple crumb cake, we had 2 burritos, a glass of red wine, iced tea, a yummy appetizer of shrimp and bacon on skewers with BBQ sauce (a special) and we paid them a total of about $28.

Wahini's has a game room upstairs with a pool table and video touch screen games. They also have cute decorations and sayings on the walls. I like the flip flops nailed to the wall that look like walking feet. Shelby likes the sign that says “Employees must wash mouth out with soap before returning to work.”

And what about the cappuccinos and lattes they advertised at one point? It didn't work out so well and they sold their espresso machine to Uncle Eddy's ice cream shop. Don't worry, your intrepid reporter is on the trail for you. I’ll track down the machine and see what’s happening at Uncle Eddy’s.

Wahini's is open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. until midnight
year-round except for the month of February. You may reach them at 252-995-4900.

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