By Peter Vankevich
Café Atlantic was a fixture on Ocracoke for 25 years before it closed at the end of the 2013 season.
Since it was a favorite restaurant of many, owner Ruth Toth compiled a cookbook of its recipes which was published in 2006.
A few years ago it went out of print.
“After we ran out of copies, many of the island store owners asked if we would reprint it,” Toth said about the new edition.
She decided to do a soft-bound edition including 20 new recipes that were added to the restaurant’s menu since 2006.
Some of the new recipes are Caribbean shrimp cocktail, rosemary chevre with fig preserves, Florentine fish chowder, crab puffs with sweet chili and mustard sauce, baked flounder in parchment in Dijon butter and coleslaw.
New desserts include chocolate bread pudding, pumpkin pecan spice cake, Boston cream pie, plum blueberry tart and the traditional Ocracoke fig cake.
Back in the 1980s, Ruth and her husband, Bob, were searching for career changes and the thought of opening a restaurant appealed to them. Ruth had worked for 14 years at the Ocracoke School and Bob, 25 years on a dredge boat for the NC Ferry Division.
Ruth had worked in restaurants on-and-off since she was 16 when her first job was in the dining room of Blackbeard’s Lodge back then run by Jackie and Doward Brugh. But Bob’s experience was pretty much limited to ordering off a menu.
They designed the building, and once constructed, the restaurant opened in 1989. Bob had no choice but to be a quick-study and to learn the restaurant business.
“I remember Bob saying he would do anything except cook,” Ruth writes. “Three months after that Bob was on the line full time, and 17 years later, on any night of the week, Bob prepares the lion’s share of meals that leave the kitchen.”
“I’ve been blown away with the response and I’m on my third request with the printer for more copies,” Ruth said.
Books are available in several locations, including The Village Craftsmen, Zillie’s Island Pantry, The Island Ragpicker, Ocracoke Restoration, The Community Store, Books To Be Red, The Variety Store and the Ocracoke Preservation Society.
Cover art and illustrations are by island artist Len Skinner.