King's Kitchen @ Southport Beach: Beyond Beach Fare

Stephanie Webster

Southport beach-goers will be donning their swimsuits with extra zeal this summer with the addition of King’s Kitchen emerging on the shoreline restaurant landscape. Every six years the beach concession at Southport Public Beach comes up for lease, and this year a team of young entrepreneurial brothers, Carter and Hunter King, won the hearts and stomachs of Southport officials with their vision for local, organic beachfront cuisine. 

King’s Kitchen is housed in a tiny pastel hued beach shack, with public picnic tables serving as the “dining room,” but the bright bold flavors and farm fresh ingredients are casually inspired and downright delicious.  Sure there’s still a hot dog (Doggy Style) on the menu, but there is also a Lobster BLT and an exceptional Pulled Berkshire Pork Sandwich with grilled pineapple on Wave Hill Ciabatta. This aint your average beach shack. Shopping farmers’ markets almost daily, King’s Kitchen’s commitment to using only the best local ingredients, and the menu’s creativity elevates casual beach fare into something crave-worthy. 

As a protege of Barcelona and Dressing Room (under John Holzwarth), Carter developed his passion for cooking. He and his brother originally wanted to open a food truck, but when the Southport Beach opportunity came up, they decided to give it a go without the wheels.  Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with a menu that changes daily based on what’s in season, Carter’s role is in the kitchen, while Hunter does the sourcing that drives the daily offerings.  

“I’m a one man show” Carter says from behind the window as he scrambles to keep up with the orders coming in. And indeed, he is. Do not let the beach shack fool you. This is not a “fast food” experience. Every dish is made to order and the complexity of say, the Salmon Sandwich with Russian Remoulade, Avocado & Slaw on Wave Hill ciabatta with its 5 components, is not akin to ordering fried clams. 

No need to rush however when you’ve got King’s Kitchen’s spectacular view and Carter’s boom box playing reggae music in the background. Grab one of the public beach’s picnic tables or relax in a beach chair while you enjoy this small but well crafted menu. 

Start your visit with one of King’s Kitchen’s refreshing Fruit Smoothies, akin to the Latin American Batidos, made with fresh fruit, milk and ice. Ease into Carter’s Fish Tacos boasting great texture and just a touch of heat, with yellow tomatoes, grilled pineapple, crunchy slaw, and perfectly grilled salmon, nestled in a corn tortilla. Another favorite, one you’ll think about at night, was the Pulled Pork Sandwich. This little piggy was succulent and smokey, had great crunch from the slaw, and presented the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. A crisp Watermelon salad can be savored on a warm day as well as the beach-friendly Gazpacho

We were initially concerned about access to King’s Kitchen as Southport’s public beach requires a beach pass for entry but we did not encounter any problem with parking. 

Follow King’s Kitchen on twitter to find out about their daily specials

King’s Kitchen will be open during beach season, May through November, with counter service all day. It is worth noting for your next party that they also offer catering.

King’s Kitchen, 1505 Southport Beach, Southport