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The Salty Southeast
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Village Food Emporium, (Relatively) New Kid in Oriental, NC – Captain Jane Reports (Statute Mile 181)

Village Food Emporium Front Door

The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net is HAPPY to welcome back our good buddy, Captain Jane Tigar. During years past, we have featured Captain Jane’s articles about cruising south (and north) on the AICW, as far as the Florida Keys. Lately, though, Jane has taken a long absence from cruising.
Happily, Captain Jane has now relocated to the charming river village of Oriental, North Carolina, and has promised regular contributions to the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net!
Below, you will find Jane’s first new contribution concerning one of this fellow’s FAVORITE dining spots in Oriental. To be just a little bit succinct, DON’T MISS IT!!!

Captain Jane Reports: Oriental’s Village Food Emporium — a short walk from Town Dock to good food and gourmet provisions.

Did you ever just wish one of these coastal towns along the ICW had a restaurant you could walk to that has good “healthy food” options for breakfast and lunch with a gourmet touch — yet not too “berries, twigs and dirt” as my husband might say?

Around three years ago, some new kids came to town and they opened the Village Food Emporium. Inspired by Chapel Hill’s A Southern Season, owners Bama and John Deal created one of my favorite breakfast and lunch places in Oriental. Their motto is: You didn’t come here to cook.

They describe themselves as “Oriental’s Go-To Kitchen” — and, indeed, they can be when you make your cruise stop here. You couldn’t ask for more pleasant hosts, the food is creative and honest, and you can even stock up on organic coffee beans and tea.

Village Food Emporium has a changing menu of freshly made food with a focus on “whole” ingredients. My co-captain and I can vouch for their terrific organic fresh roasted coffee, the pulled pork sandwich, tarragon chicken salad, the tuna burger, the breakfast egg and cheese sandwich. A new offering is the breakfast sampler of two eggs any style plus 2 buttermilk pancakes, bacon or sausage and two slices whole wheat or marble rye toast with butter and strawberry jam — for $6.

Village Food Emporium Shop

Gourmet provisions and catering.

Boaters — note there are takeout dinners and good loaves of bread available daily (a multi grain batard and Italian bread) and several gourmet staples you may miss while cruising — several varieties of organic-shade grown-fair trade-freshly roasted coffee beans (hyphenated and non-hypenated, I mean, caffeinated and decaffeinated) and a selection of green and black teas and herbal brews from one of my favorite tea purveyors, Rishi Tea. Plus, there are handmade cheeses (the selection varies seasonally), freshly made salads and soups. Check their website (below) for details and sample menus. You can also call in advance and order specialty cakes or picnics to take away with you when you return to the ICW.

The setting is charming — an old Victorian house with lace curtains, and an eclectic vintage flair, small tables inside and out and an atmosphere that encourages striking up a conversation with folks eating at neighboring tables. If you’re taking food out, enjoy knowing the packaging is “responsible” biodegradable and/or recyclable.

Extra bonus: Local crafts

The Village Food Emporium showcases some lovely craft work including John Deal’s wood cutting boards, boxes and turned wood pens and jewelry by local artist Lynda Johnson.

I hope you visit the Village Food Emporium when you’re here. If you do, tell them Captain Jane sent you.

Oriental’s Village Food Emporium is open 6 days a week, 8 AM to 3 PM. 252-249-3663
702 Broad Street — from Town Dock facing the water, head a few blocks to your right, make a right on Broad and keep on walking for about five minutes. The Food Emporium is at the corner of Church and Broad.

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