Quick bites: Surfin’ Spoon
As it happens, we entered unannounced on the shop’s two-month anniversary. It was Memorial Day weekend when an idea born over two years ago became a reality.
Jesse and Whitney Hines were attending a wedding in Athens, Ga. when their friends took them to a frozen yogurt store.
Whitney tells us: “We thought, what a good idea! Yogurt is a healthy food and we need to open something like this on the Outer Banks. We need to jump on this!”
At the time, Jesse, a native of Manteo, and Whitney, who hails from Wrightsville Beach, were tied up with their other jobs. Jesse was a professional surfer for 12 years and Whitney worked in a local surf shop.
And it’s this background that is one of many reasons the Surfin’ Spoon stands out amongs the chains and strip-mall outlets.Inside is a sunken section with a huge bench area where families and kids gather. The perimeter of this seating is bounded by a bar where you can sit down and enjoy your frozen treats. A widescreen TV features surf movies.
It is the same localized atmosphere one finds in places like Morning View, Mama Kwan’s and other successful venues.
There is also the location — on the Beach Road in Nags Head, adjacent to the Red Drum. The site had been vacant for over eight years, so it’s nice to see a new enterprise taking up residence on what used to be the hub of the Outer Banks’ commercial activity.
Once greeted, the customer will encounter a wall of yogurt dispensers. Prices are by weight, so after a short training session (the yogurt comes out fast!) you can fill your bowl up with as little or as much as you desire.
Moving on, there is a full toppings bar filled with both the healthy (fruits and nuts) and for those not worried about such things, toppings like Oreo cookie crumbs.
The Hines’ researched distributors carefully and chose only those that carry the most natural and healthy product. On any given day, there are ten choices, including one sorbet for vegans. Among the yogurts, there are also low-fat and sugar-free varieties, so everyone, including diabetics watching their sugar intake, has a chance to enjoy the offerings.
Whitney says they have over 50 flavors they can draw upon, but already, customers have become obsessed with about eight flavors, so they run those every day. Cake batter, chocolate, vanilla, peach, coconut and blueberry are among the high-demand yogurts, and the raspberry-pomegranate sorbet is another hit.
For the other two flavors, they are switched out every two days, so the offerings are constantly changing.Whitney makes sure every customer is greeted upon entry and introduced to the offerings and how to dispense the product. She is thrilled that locals bring their families and hang out in the seated area. Word-of-mouth from servers at local restaurants has sent a number of customers their way, and the servers themselves frequent the Surfin’ Spoon.
As the Hines are avid surfers, the menu and slogans are dotted with surf-slang. There is even a translation sheet on the bar so you can better understand what a “Frequent Shredder Card” means for those who are repeat visitors.
If you “shred the gnar” 10 times, you earn a free bowl.
Once summer passes, the owners are planning weekend events to attract local high schoolers on weekends, since, as Whitney noted, “there isn’t a lot to do here on weekend nights” for teens.
For the summer, the store is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday (closed Sundays).
The off-season schedule is not settled, but the plan now is to be open Tuesday-Saturday from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. weekdays with an 11 p.m. closing on weekends.
On my visit I went with the raspberry-pomegranate sorbet topped with strawberries.
I was so amped, I shredded a full bowl in minutes.
So bring the family in for a set of “fro-yos” and rip ‘em.
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