The Flying Melon is a charming restaurant located on Ocracoke Island in North Carolina. Owned by Michael and Paula Schrmal, the establishment serves southern and Creole cuisine to locals and visitors. Featuring local and regional fresh ingredients and seafood, the menu includes daily specials that change from night to night.
Opened in 2004, the Flying Melon café is an intimate restaurant that serves Creole and Southern cuisine. It is run by owners Michael and Paula Schramel on the island of Ocracoke in North Carolina. Paula was raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Michael in New Orleans. The couple combines a mix of both North Carolina and Louisiana in food and setting, with dishes like red drum, topped with sautéed crabmeat and lemon beurre blanc.
As a fisherman, Michael sources fresh seafood and produce, while Paula runs the front of the house. Their son Nat is the head of the bar program as a certified wine steward. Featured in Gourmet Magazine and Southern Living in 2008 and 2009, the Flying Melon Cafe is a favorite for locals and visitors.
The cafe sits on the quaint Ocracoke Island, which is only accessible by ferry, boat, or plane. It’s an Outer Banks landmark restaurant. The restaurant moved to a new location in 2013. The building now has reclaimed maple wood floors, tall ceilings, and a spiral wooden staircase that leads to upstairs seating. In the dining room, you’ll see small intimate tables with clothes, flowers, and candles.
Owner Paula searched online for unique, charming pieces to fill the space. The chandeliers and wall sconces present a vintage yet chic style in the restaurant. It gives a casual feel. You’ll also notice carved wooden chicken artwork on the walls done by local artist Len Skinner.
Flying Melon Café is a “quaint, eclectic eatery with a relaxed feeling.”
The Virginian Pilot reported the coronavirus pandemic caused owners to send their “fine local seafood out to the lawn instead." That includes an elegant, rich, Ocracoke-style chowder unsullied by tomato or cream and redolent of local clams; house-smoked bluefish served over crostini; and a pecan-crusted red drum dolloped with a lemon beurre blanc sauce.”
Equipped with picnic tables, and decorated with string lights for a cozy vibe, the lawn is just as cozy as the dining room. The front walkway has an illuminated “Melon” sign at night. And, you can’t forget the “Good Food” sign to seal the deal.
The Flying Melon Cafe cafe sources local and regional fresh ingredients and seafood. The menu includes daily specials that change from night to night. From sushi, oysters, steaks, and pasta, they also feature vegetarian specialties.
“If you're looking for fine dining with down-to-earth country appeal, this is the place,” said a local guide. “Be ready to loosen the wallet a little, and feel good about it when the evening concludes.”
One favorite is the parmesan-encrusted flounder and pecan-encrusted Deum with lemon beurre blanc. Special entrees come with a side salad with house rice vinaigrette.
You can find the below options on the current menu as well:
• OBX Swordfish with citrus braised fennel and orange aioli $31
• Local Sheepshead scampi with grilled shrimp and cream sauce $34
• 8oz Marinated flank steak with peperonata and fresh herbs $24
• Pineapple five-spice pork belly with fried rice $24
• Fish of the day - local Spanish Mackerel
With fig wood-smoked barbecue, ribs, brisket, and chicken, the menu also features a kid’s menu:
• Children’s fried shrimp with french fries and green beans $12
• Children’s fried fish with french fries and green beans $10
• Fried chicken tenders with french fries and green beans $8
• Macaroni and cheese $6
Flying Melon Café is open nightly for dinner, which offers very popular seafood dishes. Residents and locals enjoy the new selections each visit, from appetizers to entrees.
Current appetizers include:
• Sea scallop crudo with citrus, ginger, cucumber, serrano, and mint $11
• Curry spiced fried oysters with sweet chili sauce 4oz/$13
• Single fish cake with house tartar and slaw $11
An online reviewer stated, “From the food to the service, to the decor, everything was perfect.”
With a list of 100 wines, cocktails, and a large selection of craft beers, you are sure to find your drink of choice here.
Choose from the “Bartender’s Choice” and fan favorites:
• Cucumber Basil Gimlet $11 - cucumber, basil, and lime made with Hendrick’s gin and topped with ice
• Paper Plane $14 - Bulleit Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro, Nonino with lemon and orange juice and a lemon twist
• New Orleans French 74 $10 - Courvoisier, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice topped with Perelada sparkling cava
Don’t forget to save room for exquisite homemade desserts. Tasty food, daily specials, casual fine dining, cocktails with a kick, and great dessert.
What’s not to enjoy about the Flying Melon Cafe? Check out their Facebook and Instagram for news and updated menus.
The restaurant occasionally hosts events featuring artists and live music, like Aaron and Adam Lavigne. Currently, open Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.