It’s been 22 years since Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet opened its doors for the first time. Since that inaugural summer, the goal has remained the same: provide customers with a tasty, fresh array of seafood full of Caribbean flavor.
Elizabeth Dowless and her husband Jerry had always worked in restaurants in the Outer Banks, so when the opportunity to open Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet with a couple of friends arose, it was an easy yes. The Dowlesses bought out the business in 2003, excited to turn Jimmy’s into an Outer Banks staple. When Jerry passed away later that year, Dowless knew she wanted to continue pursuing their dream on her own.
Dowless went all in on the concept of a fresh, flavorful seafood buffet and her hard work paid off. Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet is a beloved fixture of Outer Banks dining, with customers returning year after year for the fresh fare.
“Customers keep in contact with me throughout the winter. I get people every day asking me when we’re opening for the season, and customers book their vacations around our opening,” Dowless says. “I absolutely love getting to see familiar faces come back to see us each year. I love seeing them lose their minds over the buffet! Their excitement is what I love most about my job.”
Jimmy’s ensures a quality buffet experience by sourcing fresh, local fish daily, and serving made-from-scratch salad dressings, soups, entrees, sides and desserts. And while people may come for the multiple kinds of crab legs, lobster specials and crab-stuffed mushrooms, they come back time and again for the friendly atmosphere.
“We have such a family feel. We also have a lot of employees who’ve worked here for many years, so customers are coming back to familiar faces each year,” Dowless says. “We make them feel at home.”
Dowless has called the Outer Banks home for three decades, and she loves owning a business in the tight-knit community where you can’t go anywhere without running into someone you know. That feeling extends to the employees who keep Jimmy’s running like a well-oiled machine all season long.
“We close the restaurant on Sundays to give the employees a day to recover, and oftentimes we all go to the beach together,” Dowless says. “I love the small community feel here, where everyone looks out for each other. It’s something customers notice when they come to the restaurant too.”
READ WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS THINK ABOUT US
We went in for the buffet and got a pleasant surprise… a free lobster with our buffet.
The food was amazing. The price is not to bad you can definitely eat your money’s worth 1 of the best seafood resturaunts I have ever eaten at……
It’s all you can eat seafood and it was about the best fresh seafood I have had.
My family of 16 are at Jimmys Seafood Buffet in August 2016. What a great place to eat and the staff was so awesome!
Had a fun time here drinking and eating until I was in a coma. Kas was the best waitress ever!
My family and I are staying in Corolla and went to Jimmy’s for dinner. It was amazing!
Popular seafood buffet. Numerous choices. Went customer appreciation night. Fantastic price. Hubby loved it. I thought it was good.
I’ve been to Jimmy’s Buffet every time I’ve been to the outer banks in the last ten years (5 times) and I went twice the last time!
Arrived around 430 on a Wednesday when they had 8 different types of crab. Everything on the buffet was fresh and delicious.