Black Pelican Restaurant

Categories: Fine Dining, Family Restaurant

Contact Information

3848 N Virginia Dare Trail
Milepost 4
Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

Phone: 252-261-3171


Hours of Operation

Lunch: 11:30am - 4:00pm

Dinner: 4:00pm - Until

Late Night Menu available until 11:00pm

Meals served: Lunch, Dinner

  • Outside View of Black Pelican
  • Outside Seating

The Black Pelican Oceanfront Restaurant is located directly across from the beach at Mile Post 4 in Kitty Hawk. The Black Pelican originally served as historic Lifesaving Station # 6 which was constructed in 1874. Station #6 and its crew served to provide aid for boats and their crews that were stranded along the oceanfront. The building also served as an active weather bureau. The Wright Brothers used information garnered by the weather bureau to plan their experimental flights. In 1903, after their successful First Flight, the Wright Brothers sent the telegraph announcement from Station # 6.

The Black Pelican serves lunch and dinner daily. In addition to our menu we serve delicious lunch and dinner specials. Fresh seafood, steaks, vegetarian dishes, sandwiches and wood oven pizzas are some of the items offered on our menu. The Black Pelican also has a menu designed just for kids. We have comfortable dining rooms that will accommodate dinner for two or 22. Lunch and dinner are served at our full service bar, along with some local color.

Private parties are welcome depending on availability. Catering services for weddings and other special events are our specialty.


  • Live Entertainment:  Karaoke - Friday Nights!
  • Share Meal Policy:  $2.50 Plate Fee
  • Credit Cards:  Visa, MC, Amex, Discover
  • Reservations:  Call ahead Seating
  • Attire:  Casual
  • On Site Parking:  Yes
  • Serve Safe Certification:  Yes
  • Green Initiative:  Yes
  • Table Side Service:  Yes
  • Take Out:  Yes
  • Outdoor Seating:  Yes
  • Kids Entertainment:  Yes
  • Good for Groups:  Yes
  • Samples:  Sample


Constructed in 1874, the Kitty Hawk Lifesaving Station was one of the seven facilities of its kind existent on the North Carolina Coast. Originally, the station was manned by one keeper and a crew of six surfmen whose sole purpose was to rescue those who succumbed to the dangerous waters along the Banks. These courageous men continually risked their lives to maintain a routine patrol of the restless Atlantic shoreline.

They were not alone in their valiant efforts. The constant vigil of the lifesavers was accompanied by yet another brave soul of a different kind...The Black Pelican. This rescuer matched the unselfish valor and steel determination of all the crew. Shortly following the station's opening, the Black Pelican was initially sighted during what was to be the first of many violent storms the crew members had to contend with. Known as a"Nor 'easter," the storm forced the ocean to grow fierce as powerful winds ripped across shore. Visibility was poor. The crashing surf and ominous clouds cast a black curtain over the water. Any notice of potential distress was all but impossible to see. The Black Pelican circled the shore and caught the nervous attention of the crew.With magnificent wings parted and sleek body extended, the Pelican swooped down upon the men to warn of the distressed vessel dangerously approaching shore.

Repeated sightings of the Black Pelican hovering near the station soon followed. There the men would find the Pelican gracefully coasting along the open sea air; its glance wary and posture alert. Such a pose was one the men quickly grew accustomed to as solely belonging to there cherished scout of the high seas. The Black Pelican served as an omen of impending disaster and crucial rescue needs. Effortlessly, the bird guided the men through blinding storms and turbulent waters to the sinking vessel and struggling survivors.

Years passed as the Black Pelican continued to aid in the success of the crew's rescues. W.D. Tate, the station's original keeper, kept a journal of the bird's role as fearless "watchdog" of the open seas. Records of survivors' encounters with the Pelican reveal the swift relief efforts of the "graceful, black-winged figure"protectively sailing overhead until help arrived.

On December 3, 1927, the Greek tank steamer, Kyzikes, was in need of immediate aid as the vessel fought a losing battle against the fury of the northeast storm. Several of the twenty-eight crewmen aboard the sinking ship credit the Black Pelican for saving their lives. Diaries kept by the survivors following their ordeal, describe in detail of the Pelican's total disregard for its own safety and well-being as it fearlessly skimmed the surface of the stormy waters. Gallantly swirling within arm's reach of the stranded passengers, the bird remained until the rescuers arrived.

Such a simple gesture provided a desperate sense of hope and security to those whose chance of survival seemed virtually impossible. Yet because of the bravery of the Black Pelican, such lifesaving efforts were possible. Many did survive - only to pass on to generations the story of the incredible rescues led by courageous bird the color of midnight.

In the memories of the lifesavers, the tireless efforts of the Black Pelican never ended. However, with the closing of the station, the bird merely vanished. The sightings ceased, and the skies along the shore seemed so...empty. The Pelican's duty as endearing scout was over.

As years passed, entire species of pelicans were rapidly decreasing. The bird became endangered, fallen prey to ocean pollution, environment poisoning and shoreline commercialization. Today, however, the pelican population is again stabilizing as a result of protective measures by conservationists and government-funded restabilization projects.

News of modern sightings of the Black Pelican once again circulated the island. Around the Oregon Inlet, a populated fishing site, boatmen claimed to have seen a "suspicious black bird" circling overhead during the inclement weather. Fishermen, sailing in rough seas, described this odd-colored pelican as suddenly appearing as a bold, striking creature flying nearby, ever-watchful of the boat's crew. Also included in these reports are Coast Guard sightings during routine rescue drills. The bird is documented as maintaining the Pelican's typical, low-flying sweep around potentially hazardous areas of piers, high surf, and rough undertows.

Yet, the mystery remains. Stories of the Black Pelican live on despite the change of modernization. Ancient legend of this faithful bird extends back to the Middle Ages when the Pelican was regarded as a symbol of love, charity and sacrifice.

So cast your gaze upward.
Have no fear of Nature's wrath.
Such a beacon of hope and security does exist
and will someday appear to all who seek
this beloved bird of the Banks...
The Black Pelican.

Chef Biography

Black Pelican Restaurant

Renee Waddington Graeme is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked under many certified master chefs. Renee started her culinary career when she was just thirteen year’s old working at the Zanzibar, a fondue restaurant on the Outer Banks, where she grew up.

Renee completed a culinary externship in Florida at Boca Raton Resort and Club. After graduating from CIA, Renee moved back to NC where she became sous chef at Austin Creek Grill on Hatteras Island. While there, she learned many valuable skills to enhance her culinary abilities. 

Renee worked there for several years when she decided to move and pursue her career in Florida, out of the restaurant industry, studying wine. She spent several years working at Total Wine and More where she was able to enhance her career by adding another element to her culinary education.
Harold’s on Bay in Fort Myers Florida landed Renee as their new Chef de Cuisine in 2006 where she spent many wonderful evenings preparing and creating tasting menus and recipes. While working there she was published in several culinary journals.

Renee moved back to NC in April 2008 and became the Pastry chef and a kitchen manager at Black Pelican Seafood Company in Kitty Hawk. Here she is able to express her creativity by preparing specials daily. Renee bakes all desserts from scratch that are served in the restaurant. Renee has used her experience and skill to lead the Black Pelican to many prestigious awards over the past several years. You can find Renee in Black Pelican at almost any given day doing what she loves in the kitchen.

Owner Biography

Black Pelican Restaurant

In 1993 Station #6 began its new life as the Black Pelican. Its owner, Paul Shaver, loved to travel and adventure. After a trip Paul would come back with new food ideas he was eager to incorporate into the Black Pelicans menu. Paul passed away unexpectedly in 2006. His passions for fun and good food are our inspiration.

Specialties & Additional Menu Options

  • Organic Menu: 

    Organic Greens

  • Regional Produce: 

    When in season

  • Menu Seafood: 

    Local, Sustainable Seafood.

  • Beverage Specials: 

    Daily Specials at the Bar. Please see your waitstaff.

  • Course Specialties: 

    Veggie platter, stuffed jalapeno peppers, and homemade desserts!


Average Rating for this Restaurant: 5 Stars based on 1 review
  1. Black Pelican Restaurant
    Rating: 5 Stars
    Best Restaurant on the Beach
    This is my favorite restaurant at the beach! Best food. I always have fun and everything I have ordered has been top shelf.

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