Basnight’s Lone Cedar Café on going green and keeping it local

Published 7:22 am Sunday, September 22, 2019

In a world where pollution, climate change, endangered species and global warming are all topics of concern, sustainability has become a major goal. There are several restaurants around the nation that have chosen to “go green” in order to help the ecosystem recover from years of damage. Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe is a fresh seafood restaurant that prioritizes eco-friendly practices and supporting the local community.

The Basnight family purchased a restaurant previously known as Daniels back in 1995. They changed the name and opened their original restaurant to support local fisherman.

“My mom grew up in Wanchese with a commercial fishing background,” said Caroline Basnight, who runs the restaurant with her sister Vicki. “She had her father and grandfather’s old fishing nets hung in the first restaurant,” Basnight said. Lone Cedar is owned by Caroline and Vicki’s father, former North Carolina Senator Marc Basnight.

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This restaurant is no stranger to the forces of nature. In 2007, a fire started in the front of the building and burned the entire place to the ground. “It was so quick,” Basnight said as she recalls the events of that day.

The fire happened right at the start of the summer season. Workers arrived the next day and worked 24/7 to repair everything they could. The restaurant was rebuilt in 91 days and was open for service by the end of August.

Basnight and her family have made it their duty ever since to provide fresh, local seafood to their customers and have a “green” restaurant. “Rainwater goes into cisterns which water our gardens,” she said.

The family has recycled oyster shells, clam shells and wine bottles that were poured in-house to create a fence around their herb garden. They purchase vegetables as locally as possible, including towns such as Edenton and Dunn.

All seafood served at Lone Cedar Cafe is from the bordering coast. “What sets us apart is the fact that we do try to be very farm-to-table, sea-to-table,” said Basnight. The fish is brought to the restaurant daily from the charters, cleaned and prepared on-site and then added to a special menu that is created that afternoon for nightly service.

An item that has been on the menu for over twenty years is the she-crab soup. Basnight said, “We only use jumbo lump crab meat in our soup.” It is her personal favorite.

The crab dip is another big hit. That recipe has been on the menu since they opened.

The Lone Cedar Cafe provides catering services throughout the year. On-site weddings, rehearsal dinners, business dinners, birthdays and all other special events are available for booking. The restaurant is open daily for dinner and serves brunch on Sundays. It is located right off the Nags Head Causeway.

The recipe for their signature Shrimp and Scallop Pasta, courtesy of Chef Peele, follows:


½ lb. linguine pasta

2 tbs. olive oil

2 tsp. mined garlic

½ lb. sea scallops

½ lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

¼ cup chopped sundried tomatoes

¼ cup fresh spinach

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup Romano cheese

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  2. Add pasta and cook 8-10 minutes until al dente.
  3. In a large skillet, sauté garlic in olive oil until tender.
  4. Add shrimp and scallops, cooking until shrimp are pink.
  5. Add sundried tomatoes, spinach and heavy cream to skillet and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Reduce heat to low and add Romano cheese.
  7. Sauce will slightly thicken; at that point, add pasta.
  8. Plate and garnish with chopped parsley and Romano cheese.



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