We launched the brewery in Stumpy Point in early 2016 and ran the production facility and restaurant in Manteo simultaneously for the next 6 years. Every year showed a 25 percent increase in sales for both locations. Sharon’s boutique café grew along with the town of Manteo into a must see OBX destination. Along the way our three boys grew into successful men, tempered in the restaurant trenches and moved on to successful careers.
Then after 26 years of restaurant life filled with fantastic employees, incredibly long hours, missed holidays and anniversaries, and glowing reviews from the Boston Globe, Southern Living, The Atlanta Home Journal, and The Discovery Channel came the spring of 2020.
We were happily chugging along until Covid hit in March. Dare County decided to close the bridges leading onto the Outer Banks for months, which was practically a death knell to any small business. We, like so many other staunch Outer Bankers, girded our loins and adapted our business plan to reflect the new reality. Each new ‘mandate’ brought another regulation to our feet: ‘carry-out food only’, ‘one third capacity’, ‘masks worn at all times’, ‘social distancing’, etc, etc, etc. It was horrible and terrifying. When the OBX finally opened to visitors in May the floodgates opened. For the rest of the year, we saw record numbers far into what is usually considered our ‘off-season’, or down time.
2021 proved to be just as challenging. The crowds were here, hungry and thirsty, but the work force had disappeared. The total lack of seasonal workers combined with employees leaving the work force in droves caused many restaurants to close for a couple of days each week. When our son Keagan, who worked in the kitchen, went back to college in August, we didn’t have enough back-of-the house staff to keep going full time. We were forced to close a couple of days a week, 14 shifts down to 5. During this time, we discovered days off. We discovered family time. We discovered ‘us’ time. There was no going back. We sold the Lost Colony Café and kept the Lost Colony Brewery.