Admit it: You’ve succumbed to the pandemic menu blahs. You’re stuck inside all the time, your brain’s frazzled, and it’s easier—but not necessarily more satisfying—to make the same few dishes over and over. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could enjoy something different? Maybe a taste of summer all year round? The Outer Banks Boil company can help, with take-home kits of seafood that’ll shake up your routine while offering an ideal meal to enjoy outdoors.
Owner Kyle Vrhovac met the folks behind the Outer Banks Boil Company during one of many family trips to the beaches of North Carolina. “Once we tried the food, we absolutely fell in love with it,” he says. After years of enjoying the hefty pots of boiled seafood and fixings, he jumped at the chance to open a franchise in Charlottesville.
Though the local branch began its planning in the hazy pre-pandemic days of November 2019, Vrhovac lucked into a pandemic-compatible business model, in which customers either pick up their ingredients to prepare at home themselves, or have Vrhovac and his team cater the meal under safe conditions. When the pandemic finally fades, Vrhovac says they’re hoping to welcome diners to “a small indoor section of seats.”
The Outer Banks Boil Company powers through 250 pounds of food in an average week for takeout orders alone. Customers call ahead, and OBBC employees assemble shrimp, Louisiana-sourced andouille sausage, corn, potatoes, onions, lemon, butter, seasonings, and optional add-ins from across the seafood spectrum. (For a proper boil, you’ll need to order enough for at least two people.)
Once the hungry patrons get their haul home, they steam everything in a pot with their liquid of choice for 30 to 50 minutes, depending on the size and power of their cooktop, and then drain and devour. The company’s most popular offering, the Crab Pot, adds clusters of snow crab to the standard boil, but Vrhovac says the menu’s best-kept secret is the Ben Franklin, which has both crab and either clams or mussels in the mix. (Feeling super swanky? Throw in scallops or a lobster tail, or ask for Carolina-approved pork barbecue on the side.)
“We pull our inspirations from the classic beach boils people know and love from North Carolina,” Vrhovac says. If nothing else, a simmering stack of seafood sounds like a surefire cure for the most mundane case of the menu Mondays.