by Donna Byrd
I had a chance to stop by Batson’s Galley and Family Restaurant in Surf City last week. I can’t tell you how many times I had driven by the restaurant, a favorite of the Surf City locals. Every time I did, I would look over at the unassuming white building and notice that its parking lot was always crowded with cars and trucks. It seemed to be a thriving business with a repeat clientele, which translates into happy customers! If a restaurant is always busy it means it has great food!
Bill and I pulled into the parking lot around 1:00 p.m. As always, the parking lot was full; this time of year made up mostly by Surf City locals. We walked into the building and were greeted by the wonderful aroma of country cooking and fried seafood. We found an empty table (lucky us, there were only a few) and a friendly waitress brought us our menus.
I kept watching the wait staff as they brought other patrons their food so that I could get an idea of what looked good and what I wanted to order. The “problem” was that every dish they brought out from the kitchen looked scrumptious! Would I order some good ole eastern North Carolina fried seafood (although you could also get it broiled or grilled) or would I get one of the daily lunch specials? Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!
Our waitress came to our table to get our order. Bill went with the special of the day: pork roast with dressing and steamed cabbage. I decided to get one of their popular sandwiches: a Philly Cheesesteak. The waitress pointed out that their burgers were amazing too. They were big, juicy and hand-pattied. I wavered a bit on my decision but stuck with the Cheesesteak.
Our server brought us out a basket of hushpuppies as we waited for our entrees. In eastern North Carolina, a restaurant can be judged on their hushpuppies alone! After eating a few, we knew that if the rest of our food was as tasty as those little hunks of fried goodness, then we were in for a treat. They were delicious!
As we munched on our hushpuppies, we had a chance to check out the restaurant. The atmosphere was definitely what I would consider as the family, fish camp style with beach murals painted on the back wall. I thought that vacationers would love the beachy vibe and casual setting. It seemed like Batson’s Galley and Family Restaurant was the essence of “pure” beach! Good atmosphere, seafood and fun!
Our waitress brought out our entrees and as we expected, it looked like comfort on a plate. There’s a reason lunch specials are called “special.” Bill’s choice of pork roast with dressing and steamed cabbage was country cooking at its finest! (Yes, I couldn’t help but taste some off of his plate.) My Philly Cheesesteak proved to be an excellent choice and the french fries were hot and crisp.
Larry and Linda Batson opened up their restaurant thirteen years ago. Larry started out as a local fisherman and worked with the Thomas family who own and operate Thomas Tackle and Seafood, which is just down the street from the restaurant. I think it’s so interesting to see how closely knit our local businesses actually are. Fishing families not only brought seafood to our region but also served it up in some of Topsail Island’s best restaurants.
Batson’s Galley and Family Restaurant is open seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the weekends, breakfast is served until 2:00 p.m. The lunch specials on the weekdays are amazing. I called and asked this morning if they would be open on New Year’s Day and they said “YES!” They will be serving up their special of ham, blackeyed peas and collard greens. It seems like southern traditions are served up everyday at Batson’s!
Batson’s Galley and Family Restaurant is located at: