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Sting Ray's

26507 Lankford Highway, Cape Charles, VA - (757) 331-1541
Posted By Michael Stern on March 6, 2010 12:12 AM
There is a whole lot of Sting Ray's menu I still want to sample, including crab cakes, pulled pork barbecue and an apple dumpling; but what I did eat for lunch on a trip down Virginia's Eastern Shore was stirringly good. I was clued in to this Roadfood find 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 ultra-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 your order at the counter and pay. Find a seat (which can be difficult on weekends) and your food 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 advisor 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.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Sweet Potato Biscuit Stuffed with Ham
Sweet Potato Pie
Marinated Shrimp
Crab Imperial
Fried Oyster Sandwich
Stuffed Flounder
Cabbage
Cream of Crab
Catfish Platter

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Posted By Jana Brenning on May 14, 2014 6:04 PM
"Chez Exxon" as this place is fondly called, is a must when avoiding the traffic from D.C. south by the genteel drive down the Delmarva peninsula. I first encountered this place on a rainy dark night looking desperately for gas after getting off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel. It looked a bit frightening with its two gas pumps and "out there" appearance. I was also hungry so I ran inside and ordered a grilled cheese sandwich from the predictably plain, metal-counter kitchen. Only then did I notice the place was filled, with a decidedly well-dressed group of people. Further, there were reviews.. REVIEWS??? on the wall. Then I look at the chalkboard menu (read a bit like the specials at my local Manhattan bistro. ...and I had ordered a GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH??
Well, I made it a destination trip and I am not at all sorry.
4 star rating
Overall Rating
Sweet Potato Pie
Crab Imperial
Fried Oyster Sandwich
Cream of Crab

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Posted By Ellen Oltman Kellner on April 23, 2011 6:40 PM
What a great find Sting Ray's is! I had broiled flounder, which was perfectly fresh, with just a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Others at our table had the pulled pork platter (excellent) and fried oysters (perfect: crispy on the outside, tender and sweet on the inside).

Cornbread comes with most meals and, in addition, dinners come with a choice of two from the list of 15 or so side dishes. Mac and cheese, steamed broccoli, coleslaw, and french fries were all excellent. Corn pudding was very eggy and sweet. I wish we'd had dessert, but we had no room!
4 star rating
Overall Rating

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