Sting Ray’s

Crab House | Other | Seafood
Memorable
One of the best
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I was clued in to this Roadfood jewel by Lorraine Eaton of the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, who joined me for what began as a meal of fried oysters, catfish, and a shrimp sandwich. Lorraine explained the difference between these succulent seaside oysters and bayside oysters (less salty) as proprietor Kim Tann decided to give us tastes of a few other kitchen specialties. Out came a pair of sweet potato biscuits stuffed with country ham. The biscuits are a house specialty, made from a recipe that is decades-old; and their gentle sweetness provided marvelous balance for the ham which, being Virginia ham, isn’t all that brackish. Continue reading

I was clued in to this Roadfood jewel by Lorraine Eaton of the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, who joined me for what began as a meal of fried oysters, catfish, and a shrimp sandwich. Lorraine explained the difference between these succulent seaside oysters and bayside oysters (less salty) as proprietor Kim Tann decided to give us tastes of a few other kitchen specialties. Out came a pair of sweet potato biscuits stuffed with country ham. The biscuits are a house specialty, made from a recipe that is decades-old; and their gentle sweetness provided marvelous balance for the ham which, being Virginia ham, isn’t all that brackish. We also dug into plates of luxurious crab imperial and flounder stuffed with crab imperial as well as a creamed crab dish that isn’t really a stew but is too thick to pass as soup.

Deluxe though some dishes may be, service at Sting Ray’s is downhome. Place an order at the counter and pay. Find a seat (which can be difficult on weekends) and the meal will be brought out by one of a staff of professional waitresses accustomed to customers going ga-ga at the food. One named Etta turned out to be a fount of Sting Ray history as well as a top-notch adviser when it came to ordering, steering us towards sweet potato pie for dessert (sweet potatoes are a local crop). Its creamy goodness was accented by a dollop of bright-flavored damson plum preserves.

Now for the fun part. This prodigious restaurant is located in a gas station, sharing real estate with fuel pumps, a pottery shop and a boat storage facility. Locals know it as Chez Exxon, and while it is entirely possible to come for ordinary breakfast sandwiches and hamburgers. the distinctly regional nature of the menu – as well as the expertise of the kitchen staff – make Sting Ray’s a Roadfood treasure.

Dishes to try
Sting Ray’s, Crab Imperial
Crab Imperial
Must-Try
Seafood gets no richer than crab imperial, which is both cream-rich and pepper hot.
Sting Ray’s, Sweet Potato Biscuit Stuffed with Ham
Sweet Potato Biscuit Stuffed with Ham
Must-Try
Sting Ray's sweet potato ham biscuit: what a brilliant way to start the day!
Sting Ray’s, Fried Oyster Sandwich
Fried Oyster Sandwich
Must-Try
Virginian-Pilot writer Lorraine Eaton explained to me that seaside oysters (shown here) tend to be saltier than bayside ones. I'll sure order more of these next time I visit.
Sting Ray’s, Sweet Potato Pie
Sweet Potato Pie
Must-Try
Signs along the road on Virginia's Eastern Shore advertise locally grown sweet potatoes. One of the finest fruits of the crop is Sting Ray's sweet potato pie, topped with damson plum preserves.
Sting Ray’s, Stuffed Flounder
Stuffed Flounder
Must-Try
Flounder is a treasure of local waters. Here it is served enveloping a mound of crab imperial.
Sting Ray’s, Cabbage
Cabbage
Must-Try
Evidence of soulful talent in the kitchen, this inconspicuous side dish of cabbage was conspicuously delicious, loaded with porky-good flavor.
Sting Ray’s, Marinated Shrimp
Marinated Shrimp
Must-Try
Marinated shrimp are big, muscular fellas that snap when bitten. That sauce in the background seemed irrelevant.
Catfish Platter
Cream of Crab
Local Fish Sandwich
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday6:30am - 8:30pm
Monday6:30am - 8:30pm
Tuesday6:30am - 8:30pm
Wednesday6:30am - 8:30pm
Thursday6:30am - 8:30pm
Friday6:30am - 8:30pm
Saturday6:30am - 8:30pm
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
5 stops | 4 hr 15 min total driving
3 stops | 1 hr 2 min total driving
Information and Policies
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No
Reservations Accepted
No
Delivery Available
No
Takeout Counter
Yes
Website