This month, Terry's restaurant review features Red Sky Cafe in Duck. I will attest that this is one of my family's favorites as well!
Got a big appetite? If so, you want to head over to Red Sky Café for a meal that will satisfy all your cravings, body and soul. Red Sky is located across the street from the Town Park in Duck, which make is an ideal location to dine before or after events at the Park.
It’s a unique space with eclectic decor, on the small side and softly lit, but comfortable. Yet, owners Wes and Cindy Stepp have made the most of it by including a full bar, seating at the open kitchen, and a wood-fired oven. Warning: The aroma of that wood-fired oven can be detected outside on the street, immediately evoking all kinds of the most pleasant food-related memories, stimulating one’s appetite, and enticing many unsuspecting passers-by into the restaurant. It’s just not fair!
Once you are inside Red Sky Cafe, you will find an interesting and varied menu. Entrees range from Thai-inspired dishes to French escargot to regional North Carolina fare. The common factor uniting the eclectic food choices is that they are all comfort food in the best sense of the term. The portions are generous, the presentation is photo-worthy, the flavors are mouth-watering, and there is something about these dishes that is soul-satisfying as well. This is probably because the food is a direct reflection of Chef Wes Stepp’s passion for what he does, his love of people, and his sense of humor. For example, on the menu you will find an entrée called The Infamous Blue Moo. It turns out that the dish is comprised of an 8-oz. Beef Tenderloin Filet, crusted with cracked black peppercorn and blue cheese, and served over a roasted red pepper cream sauce. Then there is the Shrimp and Redneck Risotto (AKA, Shrimp and Grits). As the story goes, Chef Wes makes grits with asiago cheese, using the same technique that one would use to make risotto. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Well, people from other parts of the country were not enthusiastic about eating grits and always wanted to substitute potatoes. A simple, amusing name change from “Grits” to “Redneck Risotto” was all it took to make this one of the most popular items on the menu. Somehow the word “risotto” was more familiar and appealing to visitors and people stopped substituting potatoes! What these two dishes have in common is a spirit of largesse and humor, combined with fresh, high-quality, local ingredients prepared with passion. This is what comfort food is all about.
Chef Wes, who is originally from West Virginia, came to the Outer Banks after graduating college with a degree in psychology. He worked at Kelly’s for a number of years before purchasing the Red Sky Café. In addition to operating the restaurant, Chef Wes has a thriving catering business, which serves the entire Outer Banks, from Hatteras to Carova. He and the Red Sky team are in high demand for catering special events of all kinds, including weddings and corporate events.
In addition, Chef Wes offers a service he calls Chefs on Call, in which a meal, usually dinner, is prepared and served in your home or vacation cottage. This is a unique service in the Outer Banks that provides an alternative to dining out, which can be very appealing to large groups of people vacationing together or families with small children. FYI, the staff also cleans up the kitchen before they leave! Incidentally, Chef Wes is something of a Celebrity Chef here in the Outer Banks. He appears regularly on the cooking segments of the Hampton Roads Show airing on WAVY TV 10.
Red Sky Cafe is open year-round for lunch and dinner. A children’s menu is available, making this restaurant a family-friendly place. Be sure to stop in for some awesome comfort food!