Big Daddy’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar

You can find Big Daddy’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar by traveling west on Hwy. 150 from exit 36 on I-77. It’s a humongous, stand alone, NASCAR-laden (on the roof), single story structure that you will, without fail, notice when driving by. It’s an excellent example of a business that brazenly markets itself to the passing traffic.

As the name suggests, this restaurant goes in for everything big. They can seat 500 and the length of their oyster bar defies belief. Inside, however, it is not what you might expect. I was anticipating a cavernous environment, but a low ceiling and dim lighting gives a more intimate feeling. This does not mean the kids need be on their best behavior; there is such a rush of humanity that no one will notice if your offspring get a little rowdy.

The big menu offers a mixed school of fish: shrimp, oyster, clams, scallops and crab, as well as flounder and catfish. Cooked any which way, and raw. But if you’re not keen on the mollusks and crustaceans, you can choose from Angus prime rib, steaks, chicken and pasta. There is also a dedicated section offering smaller portions for senior citizens and kids.

The food here is good, straight forward and with no frills. There is no Wolfgang Puck marshaling a brigade of sous chefs slaving over haute cuisine. When your belly’s rumbling, you’re attired in everyday jeans and T-shirt and you’ve got the whole rabble in tow, who wants to fuss with haute cuisine?

The standard of service was impeccable. I have in the past experienced waiters who know intuitively what you need before you even know yourself. Here we had a waitress who, although busy, was vigilant, attentive and yet quietly unobtrusive. I enjoyed Big Daddy’s. It was perfect for the kids with loads to look at, loads of buzz and loads of food.

Just one small irritation: they have a Cracker Barrel-style country store that you are forced to exit through when leaving. This store is full of utter rubbish and, of course, the kids are drawn to it transfixed. Unfortunately, one profit center too far.

Dollar deal: Kids hot dogs at $2.99
Kid-friendly: Yes
Especially for the little ones: Great salad bar
To avoid a wait, go: Soon after opening at 5 p.m.
Noise level: Not an issue
Décor/Atmosphere: Natural woods, sea-related memorabilia, busy
Kiddie fare: The usual: chicken, hot dogs, burgers, fish
Anything healthy on the kiddie menu?: Broiled fish, pasta
Parent fare: Loads of fish and Angus beef
Bathroom amenities: Very clean
High chair/booster cleanliness: Good
Got milk/juice?: Yes
Address: 1162 River Hwy., Mooresville
Phone: (704) 663-4242
Web site: