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“Food and Service Missteps”

The Lifesaving Station
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Ranked #12 of 34 Restaurants in Duck
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $40
Cuisines: American, Seafood
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: Located in the original—and splendidly restored—Caffey’s Inlet Life Saving Station No. 5, the Lifesaving Station is a casual, three-meal-a-day restaurant celebrating southern coastal cuisine and regional, organic products. New with the renovations is a spacious outside seating deck and large fireplace. Known for its “best breakfast on the Outer Banks” and a-la-carte Sunday brunch, the Lifesaving Station is a favorite Duck, N.C. restaurant choice for both locals and vacationers. And be sure the try the Lifesaving Station’s famous Carolina BBQ Sampler and Spring Mountain Farms Buttermilk Fried Chicken, always on the menu. The Lifesaving Station maintains an impressive wine list. Local breweries are featured while specialty cocktails feature coastal “house cocktails” and bourbons. Upstairs, the renovated No. 5 offers sweeping views of the Currituck Sound. The relaxed atmosphere is conducive to catching the game and enjoying quality cuisine.
Reviewed May 24, 2013

It really pains me to have to give this place only three stars, but while all of our issues were eventually handled, I don't think we should have had them in the 1st place.

We were staying at The Sanderling so we decided to walk over around noon for lunch. When we got there we were the only table. I started off ordering a bottle of wine and that was where the trouble started. After being asked again which wine I wanted, one waitress stopped by and said it was on the way but then our original waitress came back and said our wine was unavailable. We chose another one and after another wait we were told that they were looking for it. Only after we asked about getting a glass of something to drink seeing as they had brought our appetizers did the manager come out and let us know the real issue. The key card to open the wine area didn't work so basically anything I would have chosen would be unavailable. To make it up we were comp'd a bottle, but I really felt someone should've been out sooner to explain the situation. Our water glasses also remained unfilled for long stretches of time while waitstaff disappeared from the floor.

Now, the food. We both ordered the corn and crab chowder and it came out barely lukewarm. Not sure if that was intentional, but we sent it back to be warmed since we did not find cool thick porridge like chowder to be appetizing. Next my husband had the fish and chips that he called overly breaded fish. He filled up mostly on the fries which were very good. I had the lobster roll ($22). Do not expect a New England style roll. This is more like a lobster salad on a burger bun and I found it delicious. The lobster is chopped finer than traditional, but I could still identify pieces of claw meat.

Tip: the lobster roll is also available at The Beach Bar on the back deck of The Sanderling.

My hopes are some of this was due to the fact that the resort just recently reopened. I will be posting reviews of the new Sanderling Resort and Kimball's Kitchen which I found to also be off expectations.

3  Thank SarahontheHill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wendycoulsonmurray, Director of Sales at The Lifesaving Station, responded to this reviewResponded May 31, 2013

Thank you for visiting Lifesaving Station. We would agree you should have not had these missteps and apologize. We will use it to further train our staff. We hope on a future visit you will give us another opportunity and will be able to give us a higer rating.

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307 - 311 of 383 reviews

Reviewed May 24, 2013

The redecorated LifeSaving Station at the Sanderling looks very nice. The newly painted walls and allowing doors to be opened that weren't in the past, makes for a very bright, inviting dining room. Our group of ladies (17 of us from our neighborhood) unfortunately likely drowned out the conversation for those sharing the space with us this week. Those who selected the new outside deck for dining were wise that day. Service was good. The omelet was okay. Not a "fluffly" omelet. It was loaded with nice, fresh vegetables and cheese (maybe goat?). Basket of biscuits good and grits delicious.

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Thank DK B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wendycoulsonmurray, Director of Sales at The Lifesaving Station, responded to this reviewResponded May 30, 2013

Thanks for coming up the street to the "re-imagined" Lifesaving Station for breakfast. You are welcome anytime for a party of 1 or party of 20. We appreciate you coming for a morning out.

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Reviewed May 7, 2013

We were in the area and decided to try after a local recommendation. The staff was cordial and knowledgeable about the menu. The presentation was interesting and the food was well prepared. Was disappointed in the "fish and chips"--one piece of fish with enough french fries for three people. Will return if in the area.

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Thank Alexander B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2013 via mobile

This was our second visit and the menu is simply fabulous with a great mix of flavors and all varieties of cuisines with a southern flair. We had fried green caprese for an appetizer and the shrimp and grits and grilled grouper entrees. The grouper was light and tasty, while the shrimp and grits was spicy and packed a punch. The bill was about what you'd expect to pay for two and included a good bottle of wine. The downside was the service...our server seemed a little shaky and delivered our main courses while we were working on the appetizer. Fortunately, the mains stayed warm while we finished the starter or we'd have sent them back..overall it gave a rushed feeling to what should have been a classy dinner. We'd probably still go back, but that's restaurant 101 and tarnished an otherwise wonderful experience.

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Thank ltw52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2013

We were staying near Duck for a short break and were looking for something a bit out of the ordinary for a meal. The friends we were staying with are both celiac, gluten intolerant. A restaurant that claims to serve gluten-free food can be the source of cross contamination if the gluten-free food is not prepared separately. The cooking surfaces, deep fryers, etc., all must be separate, or the waiters must know which is which to advise celiacs.

All that was said in preparation for the actual review. What attracted me to this place was their reputation for having gluten-free bread on hand at all times. They can make hamburgers, etc., as a result.

We arrived on April 25th, 2013 for lunch just after a refurbishment. You could still faintly smell the paint. The décor is attractive, with both inside and outside seating available.

The menu is quite interesting. This is an upscale restaurant, so if you want fast food pricing, you will be disappointed. If your quest is food prepared by a chef (not a cook) you've found the place.

From lobster bisque soup to the finest barbeque sandwich I've ever eaten, this menu offers a great variety. The food is expertly prepared.

The service was excellent, with our server being certain she could address our friends' dietary needs. The chef even visited our table to answer questions.

What he prepared for our friends, lobster rolls, tomato bisque soup, and a salad can only be described as exquisite. Since one of our friends is extremely sensitive to gluten, the fake lobster always causes an immediate reaction. Not so with this meal! The lobster was absolutely genuine, in copious quantity, expertly cooked and seasoned, and a true joy to eat.

I've added this place to my "must return" list, and am looking forward to my next visit. You can't go wrong when you eat at a restaurant that pays so much attention to their customers.

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Thank mmeachm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wendycoulsonmurray, Director of Sales at The Lifesaving Station, responded to this reviewResponded April 29, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to share your dining experience at the newly renovated Lifesaving Station. We do have a dedicated Culinary team that is happy to customize. We look forward to having you back in the near future. Thanks for including us on your "Must Return" list.

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