The guide to eating in or dining out on the Piedmont lakes. The establishments listed here have water access on site or very nearby. Or we really, really like what they're sellin'!
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Big Daddy's: How 'bout Some Oysters?
At Big Daddy’s of Lake Norman, the big, friendly favorite restaurant of many on the lake, the heart of the action is the oyster bar, which proprietor Freddie Lancaster dubs “the best in the South.”
It’s one of the largest, surely, with 51 seats and bar-side shuckers serving up raw or steamed oysters as fast as you can eat them. “We want our customers to relax and enjoy being served, so we discourage them from shucking their own,” says Lancaster. “We serve only single select oysters, so they have a lot of meat on them, and because we serve so many, they’re absolutely the freshest and best oysters around.” On Mondays, oyster lovers can enjoy a full peck at the half-peck price.
With all ABC permits, nine varieties of draft beer, and a wide selection of bottled beers, the oyster bar also serves up steamed shrimp, snow crab clusters and king crab. Or you can order any of Big Daddy’s meal offerings, from appetizers and entrees to dessert, at the bar. In addition to the popular fried seafood, there’s also fried shrimp with crabmeat stuffing, broiled lobster and Big Daddy’s own shrimp sautéed with wine and garlic sauce. A full line of broiled seafood dishes is offered, and for the landlubbers, prime rib, steaks, baby back ribs and pasta dishes round out the offerings. Two giant salad bars with homemade dressings complement Big Daddy’s special entrees. For dessert, there’s Mississippi Mud pie, key lime pie, cheesecake and birthday cake. And there are special menus for kids and senior citizens (For a look at the entire menu, visit them online.)
The Lancaster family has owned and operated Big Daddy’s since 1974. They’ve built a loyal clientele with the restaurant’s cozy, casual atmosphere. Many of the wait staff have worked at Big Daddy’s since the ’70s and have come to know regular customers as family. With room for 500 diners, Big Daddy’s can handle a crowd. Banquet facilities are available for 35, making the restaurant a popular venue for corporate meetings, family reunions, wedding receptions and parties.
Big Daddy’s is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Take exit 36 off I-77 and drive three miles west to 1162 River Highway (Highway 150 West) to check out this family-friendly eatery where you’re certain to feel at home.
Try one or all of these waterfront or water-access restaurants next time you're, you know, hungry ...