Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Out to Eat: Provision Company

Provision Company
130 Yacht Basin Drive
Southport NC

We recently spent four days in Holden Beach, North Carolina (it was supposed to be five -- thanks, American Airlines!). While we were there, I wanted to check out a local farmer's market; since we live in a mountainous area of New Hampshire, I expected a very different assortment of produce, and I was not disappointed. I'll write more about what we found and what we did with it soon. In the meantime, I wanted to write about a wonderful little seafood shack on the waterfront in Southport.

Yacht Basin Provision Company (or Provision Co., for short) was an absolute delight. Upon entering, you find a cramped space with a chalkboard menu, a couple of self-serve beverage coolers, and a small counter in front of an open grill. Place your order, grab yourself a beer, and head out back to the deck - pay later on the honor system. The deck, which is about three times the size of the building itself, juts right out over the water and presents spectacular views.

As you might expect, the menu leans heavily toward seafood. Beyond the expected fried dishes, offerings include a grouper salad sandwich and a yellowfin tuna BLT. Between the three of us, we split a half pound of steamed shrimp, three crab cakes, an order of fries, and conch fritters. All of the food was excellent, but the fritters were definitely my favorite: they were perfectly crisp, not heavy, and pleasantly chewy without veering into rubber territory. With a cold Corona to wash it down, it was one of the finest lunches I've had in a long time.

The wait staff were fabulous - loud, friendly, and clearly having a good time, while quick to deliver the food and lend a hand. It seemed like a very fun place to work. They laughed and made fun of me when I whipped out my camera; when I told them why I was taking pictures, they said, "Don't forget to say how excellent we are!" And they really were.

If you are ever near the southern coast of North Carolina, I would highly recommend a trip to Southport and the Yacht Basin Provision Co. While it's a beautiful lunch spot, the fun-loving staff and the presence of a well-stocked bar on the deck suggest that this could be quite a great nighttime spot as well. I definitely intend to return.

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