Gather. Eat. Enjoy.

Join us for lunch, dinner, cocktails, wine and/or Sunday brunch!

Focusing on providing guests with a great dining experience is what we do. Using some of the best ingredients from local providers, Circa 81 takes pride in offering a farm / sea to table menu as much as possible, supporting local fishermen and farmers. Circa 81 is also a member of the Carteret Catch program.

Circa 81 offers an extensive menu of tapas and cocktails that is sure to entice guests of all tastes. Specializing in brunch, small plates, and larger entrée-sized plates, this Morehead City favorite features an eclectic selection of modern cuisine and area staples, such as steamed mussels, she crab soup, and classic clam chowder.

Local and regional ingredients, like Ashe County cheese, are utilized whenever possible, and the tapas-style atmosphere encourages patrons to try a selection of globally-inspired dishes. As a result, Circa 81 can cater to virtually all dietary restrictions, including gluten-free and vegetarian requests.

Visitors will also want to peruse and sample the extensive cocktail menu, which garners inspiration from its Crystal Coast environment with coastal favorites such as mojitos, sangrias and martinis – which are all available in a wide range of twisted combinations. Patrons can enjoy a cozy interior table, or settle into the warm wooden bar for a sample of cocktails and appetizers that inevitably change with every season. (A number of regional beers are also available by the bottle or on tap.)

With award-winning dishes overseen by executive chef and owner, Clarke Merrell, visitors of all palettes will effortlessly find something to crave at this small but locally renowned Morehead City destination, which is renowned for unique flavors and farm-to-table style fare. 

Circa 81 has participated in the NC Seafood Festival Chef's Tent and People's Choice Crabcake competition, the Beaufort Wine & Food Festival, and the Fire on the Dock culinary competition (where team Circa 81 was a finalist in 2013 and semi-finalist in 2014). Circa 81 was also finalist for the 2011 Best Dish NC contest.

Other Awards Include
• 2015 Favorite Chef - Clarke Merrell (owner Circa 81/Dank Burrito) from Coaster Magazine Reader's Choice Awards
• Best Eats on the Crystal Coast by Cooking with Paula Deen magazine
• Clarke Merrell - 2015 Arnold Murray Small Business Person of the Year by Carteret County Chamber of Commerce
Circa 81 has been named Open Table Diner's Choice 2011-2020.
Circa 81 is also a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Winner and in the Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame for earning a Certificate of Excellence every year for five years consecutively.
• We have also been included in Cooking Light magazine (September 2011), 2012 NC Visitor's Guide and the 2024 Crystal Coast Visitors Guide.

All of these great opportunities and inclusions are the result of a never-ceasing focus on outstanding food quality and service, plus lots of hard work.​

Circa 81 is also community and civic-minded; donating time, food and goods to numerous charitable organizations in the area. Giving back to the community that has embraced Circa 81 is an opportunity we are grateful to have.

​Many of Our Ingredients Come From:
- Garner Farms (Newport, NC)
- Blue Ocean Market (Morehead City, NC)
- Allan Benton, Benton Ham (Monroe County, TN)
- Ashley Farms (Winston-Salem, NC)
- Ashe County Cheeses (Ashe County, NC)
- Nelson Blueberry Farm (Bridgeton, NC)
- Anson Mills (Columbia, SC)
- Heritage Farms (Goldsboro, NC)
- Lady Edison (Chapel Hill, NC)
- Spinning Spider Creamery (Marshall, NC)
- Old Mill of Guilford (Oak Ridge, NC)

Make reservations online or call 252-648-8300 for reservations.

Serving Lunch & Dinner Wedneday through Saturday
11:30am-2pm & 5:00pm-9:00pm

Sunday Brunch

Sunday Dinner


Morehead City
  • Wednesday11:30am-9:00pm
  • Thursday11:30am-9:00pm
  • Friday11:30am-9:30pm
  • Saturday11:30am-9:30pm
  • Sunday10:30am-9:00pm
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