Kelly's Outer Banks Tavern. Closing in late November after 32 years.

For 32 years Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern in Nags Head has been a part of Outer Banks life. With the announcement on Wednesday that he will close his iconic restaurant at the end of November, Mike Kelly confirmed rumors that have been swirling for some time.

If there is a surprise in the announcement, it is that the closing will come before the new year; most observers felt Mike would hang on for a last New Year’s Eve celebration.

The property is being sold to be developed into a Lidl Supermarket. Lidl is a German chain that has been aggressively expanding in the United States. They are considered a lower priced or discount grocery store.

According to press reports, there are still some details to be worked out, but Kelly indicated he was confident that a resolution could be reached relatively quickly. 

He also pointed out that he will not be getting out of the Outer Banks restaurant business, and that he would continue to operate his Pamlico Jack's and Mako Mike’s businesses as well as Kelly Catering Services.

Nonetheless, there is a feeling that an era is about to come to an end. The food was always good at the restaurant and quite a number of chefs trained there and went on to open their own businesses. But Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern has always been known as one of the premier places for entertainment on the Outer Banks. With a large bar that included a balcony, Kelly could and did book national acts that no one else could locally.

The bar, with it’s open space and large dance floor was also a regular part of charity events.

It is entirely possible that our November 4 Last Dance Womanless Beauty Contest at Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern will truly be the last dance for a charity event at an icon of Outer Banks life.