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Thursday, September 06, 2018


Knowing our penchant for oysters on the half shell, we’ve been looking for a local spot.  We keep passing Huey’s Oyster Bar in Mebane, NC, but somehow this restaurant remained a to-go place until the other night, when Huey’s made the YES list.

For transplanted New Yorkers, a restaurant that opens its door at 4:00 PM is something new, but when we pulled into the parking lot, we were challenged to find an empty space.  Huey’s was filled up. People around like it.

The building is unpresupposing, a plain brick ranch structure with just a few windows facing the road.  There are two entrances to Huey’s.   One, toward the middle of the building is to the restaurant, a very big, quiet setting with booths and tables of all sizes, and take-out window in the vestibule before you enter the dining room. The other entrance leads to the sports bar and an entirely different atmosphere.  There’s music, big screen TV, and a bar, tables and booths.  Go with your mood at Huey’s because the menu works on both sides of this establishment. I like that idea.  I like that it’s a local place and not a chain.

By the time we left, things were slowing down.
No parking in front as the restaurant is right off the road.
Our waitress is friendly and speaks with that soft southern voice that is totally appealing.  Her uniform is a Huey’s tshirt and a Huey’s baseball cap.  Perfect.

She immediately brings a basket of warm hush puppies and some honey/butter spread.  They are excellent.  Hush puppies are unique to each establishment—different taste always, and often a different shape.  Huey’s’ gets thumbs up.

We look at the menu, decide to split a dozen oysters on the half shell, sip some vodka, and then order dinner.  When our waitress brings our waters, she is quick to suggest that we might order from the children’s menu.  A very generous suggestion.  We have basically the same choices and this means no boxes to take home.  I won't mention what it suggests about our ages.

Our waitress does not know the kinds of vodka available, but she quickly checks.  She also checks to see if they have olives.  Perhaps she is new.  At any rate, she is obliging, and for us, that’s most important.  We end up with Smirnoff, not our first choice but all right on the rocks.

The oysters are scrumptious.  I don’t even bother to ask what kind, but they are very sweet and slightly briny.  We may live in the Piedmont, but for a little while at Huey’s we are right at the shore with fresh oysters.  They are cold, though not iced (which would be better) but served with plenty of cocktail sauce and horseradish (which we added to the cocktail sauce), and melted butter which we did not use.  Plenty of crackers as well.  As far as we’ve been able to determine, Huey’s is the only restaurant in the area where we can get fresh oysters,

The fish choices for dinner are varied and either fried or broiled. Rob’s fried scallops are delicately breaded on the outside, plump and juicy on the inside.  Very tasty and seasoned nicely. They are accompanied by two sides of his choice: fried okra and black-eyed peas and corn, a new combination for him and one he enjoyed.  I’d say that’s Southern.

I, a lover of fried clams, enjoy the light coating and the fact that the clams are not dried out strips of jerky but light and delicious.  I, too, have the fried okra but I choose the traditional baked potato. 

On a side note—if you live where fried okra is not an option, think about finding some.  It is nice and crunchy, tasty, and a bit different.  Years ago on a road trip, we first tried fried okra at Cracker Barrel, a place where Southern is the norm.  The waitress suggested it, incredulous that we had never tasted it, and when she brought our plates, she asked if we wanted malt vinegar with it because that’s how her family ate it.  We tried it with the malt vinegar, tried it “straight,” and we tried some other suggested condiments.  Rob likes them with malt vinegar, but I tend toward just plain straight.  It’s a side in many restaurants in the South, almost always really good, and as Mikey used to say, “Try it.  You’ll like it.”

No room for dessert at Huey’s, even with the children’s menu’s platter, but we will be back when that urge for oysters on the half shell becomes intolerable.  Huey’s is down home, friendly, and a good place for an every-day kind of dinner.  Not expensive either.  And one very important addition--you will feel welcome.

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