This month, Terry features Aqua Restaurant and Spa, a unique combination, found on the south end of the Duck business district.
Spend five minutes with Lynette Sumner, owner of the restaurant and spa in Duck, and you will know immediately why this establishment has become one of the most popular in the Outer Banks. Lynette purchased Aqua nearly four years ago with a vision. She wanted Aqua to be a place people would go to, as she puts it, "be good to themselves," to nourish their body and their spirit.
She has pursued her vision with boundless enthusiasm, passion, and positive energy, and she has managed to infuse her staff with those same traits. The result is a restaurant and spa where the emphasis is on providing customers with exceptional food and drink and professional service in an exquisite setting.
Located at the southern end of the Duck commercial area on Route 12, Aqua Restaurant and Spa has had several previous lives, all relatively short-lived. When Lynette purchased the restaurant about four years ago, she set about making more functional use of the large space.
She decided to install a full-service spa on the upper level, and maintain the lower level as a restaurant and bar. The upstairs spa operates in hushed tones so as not to disturb clients in the treatment rooms, which have water views. The manicure and pedicure chairs look out onto the sound as well.
There are many worse ways to spend an afternoon than getting a pedicure while sipping a glass of wine and taking in the water views! Lynette also redecorated the restaurant, turning it into a modern, chic space with large colorful paintings and photographs from various local artists. The sound front deck provides al fresco dining with killer views of glorious Outer Banks sunsets. In addition, decks on the front and north sides of the building offer additional seating and a place for live music during the warmer times of the year.
But it is in Aqua Restaurant and Spa's kitchen, enormous by Outer Banks standards, where the magic which makes Aqua the "feel-good place" that it is, happens.
Aqua’s mission is to use the freshest seasonal local ingredients. The emphasis is on community-farmed, organic ingredients, natural meats, and sustainable seafood. Even the products used in the spa are earth-friendly. As a prime example of this philosophy, consider this scallop dish, which is one of Aqua’s most popular offerings. Start with sweet, succulent North Carolina scallops, perfectly seared, served over an aromatic celery root puree. Add to that some foraged mushrooms, locally grown fresh corn, and pearl onions, and finish with a Madeira shallot reduction. The result is a dish which is appealing to all the senses and balances sweet and savory elements with panache.
Wine, and the appreciation of wine, is another hallmark of Aqua Restaurant and Spa. Lynette is a Court of Master Sommeliers Certified second level sommelier, which essentially means that she is a wine expert. Her belief is that the pairing of wine and food enhances the dining experience. You will find an inspired, eclectic collection of wines at Aqua, and Lynette freely offers her advice on wine pairings for your particular meal.
During the month of December, Aqua is celebrating the holidays with several specials. The restaurant and the spa are open from Wednesday to Saturday. Aqua will be open the two weeks of Christmas. On Christmas Eve, Aqua will be open from 10-2 for gift certificates and bar service. Aqua is closed on Christmas Day, but reopens from December 26 through New Year’s Eve. Stop in for Shopper’s Happy Hour from 2 pm-5 pm for drink specials and $5 appetizers. There is live music every Friday and Saturday from 5:30 pm-9:30 pm. For locals, Aqua treats you to $5 Fridays in the bar: drink specials, tapas menu, and live music. Look for these delicious items on the menu now: fresh NC oysters, line caught fish, steamed mussels, shrimp and pasta, a pork chop with NC sweet potatoes, and a cone of truffle fries with bistro dipping sauce. OOOOH! In the spa, check out holiday sale items, purchase gift certificates, or treat yourself to a massage. AAAAH! Join Aqua on New Year’s Eve for a three course menu for $55, including a champagne toast, and enjoy live music beginning at 8pm until the ball drops! Start the new year off right – be good to yourself at Aqua!