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Hatteras Island Restaurants

Dining on Hatteras Island means that you can expect restaurants with originality, personality, fresh ingredients and even some secret family recipes.

The best thing about dining on Cape Hatteras is that there are no chain restaurants with predictable atmosphere and bland fare. All Hatteras Island restaurants reflect the laid-back personality of the island lifestyle in a variety of ways, but you can rest assured that the owners, chefs and staff are quite serious and very professional about the fare they serve and the experience they offer.

Most Cape Hatteras restaurants put a major focus on the bounty of the sea. Local menus tout such specialties as Gulf Stream fish (yellowfin tuna, wahoo and mahi-mahi), inshore fish (trout, flounder and drum), succulent crab meat, oysters, clams, scallops, mussels and more. Restaurants will let you know what’s in season, and therefore the freshest, when you’re on the island. If it’s soft-shell crabs, don’t miss a chance to taste these delicacies! Fried seafood is no longer the staple of local menus, but you can get it if you want it. Most Hatteras restaurants feature more healthy preparations, like steaming, grilling, sautéing, blackening or broiling. If you want to cook seafood yourself, there are several Hatteras Island seafood markets; those are included in the listings in our Hatteras Shopping page.

If you’re not a seafood lover, don’t worry. Even the Hatteras Island seafood restaurants offer a wealth of other options like beef, pasta, chicken, pork and vegetarian entrees. And not every restaurant is seafood-oriented. You’ll find down-home North Carolina barbecue, Italian restaurants, plus pizza places, delis, ice cream shops and bakeries.

Meals are fairly priced on Hatteras Island, and dress is very casual. Note that all of the towns on the island now allow liquor to be served in restaurants that have a liquor license. We’re telling you this because it’s a significant change on the island. Most Hatteras eateries close for some portion of the winter, though there is always something open, even in the dead of winter, to serve the growing population of locals. If you’re dining out from November through March, it’s best to call ahead to make sure your restaurant of choice is open. We have listed the Hatteras Island restaurants alphabetically within their respective villages, from north to south, starting in Rodanthe and ending in Hatteras Village.

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Atlantic Coast Café

  • 25150 N.C. Highway 12, across from the KOA Campground
  • Waves

Expect great food and awesome service at the Atlantic Coast Cafe in Waves — featuring a comfortable, clean, casual beach atmosphere, friendly staff and free WiFi. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stop in for great breakfasts and fresh coffee, lunches that showcase stuffed grilled wraps, tasty burgers, unique Reubens (crab cake, shrimp, classic), their famous marinated or Cajun grilled tuna, possibly the best chicken strips east of the Mississippi, delicately fried seafood baskets, a hefty chef salad, double-shelled fish tacos, creamy shrimp and grits and lots more, including a kids menu. Smoothies, café mochas/lattes, chai tea, fresh muffins, killer desserts and a variety of sodas, juices, beer and wine all add up to an enjoyable and affordable Hatteras Island meal. The full menu is available for take-out. 

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Billfish Bar & Grill

  • 58646 N.C. Highway 12
  • Hatteras Village

With its location on the docks at Teach’s Lair Marina, Billfish Bar & Grill is a great place to watch the boats come in to unload their catch or enjoy a lovely Pamlico Sound sunset. Their menu features appetizers plus daily specials, seafood plates, sandwiches, salads, steaks and so much more. Steamed seafood platters are their specialty. The Billfish has a fun, island-style atmosphere. They offer delicious drinks, including a large selection of draft beers, and feature a full bar. Billfish Bar & Grill is open for lunch and dinner from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

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Burger Burger

  • 40618 N.C. Highway 12, corner of Harbor Road
  • Avon

Now in a new location in Avon on the corner of Highway 12 and Harbor Road, Burger Burger specializes in fresh ground beef burgers made by hand. There’s a variety of burgers to choose from, but the local’s favorite seems to be the Smile Burger with cheese that’s been crisped on the grill. They also offer seafood sandwiches, including their signature Kinnakeet Monster (a tasty concoction of crispy battered jumbo local fish fillet, cheddar cheese and jalapeno tartar sauce), wraps, wings, fresh salads, fries, onion hoops and sweet potato fries. They now serve wine and beer to wash it all down. Hand-dipped and hand-spun milkshakes are available in the summer, and Burger Burger’s latest attraction is Hawaiian Shave Ice served to you on their newly added front deck. Burger Burger recently expanded their dining area too. They’re open seven days a week for lunch and dinner in the summer months.

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Cups and Cones

  • 40146 N.C. Highway 12
  • Avon

At Cups and Cones, cool down with a Hawaiian or Italian ice, hand-scooped ice cream or a delicious malt, shake or smoothie. Or go for the coffee — Cups and Cones serves all of the favorite coffee and espresso-based drinks. They open at 7 a.m. every day for coffee and fresh-baked goods and stay open until 11 p.m. all summer long. They offer a different fresh cookie daily for sundaes and ice cream sandwiches as well as homemade ice cream cakes in 40 different flavors. You can’t miss Cups and Cones in its bright pink building. Every summer night, Cups and Cones shows a family-friendly movie inside and outside their shop. 

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Dolphin Den

  • 40126 N.C. Highway 12
  • Avon

Dolphin Den is a family restaurant that specializes in locally caught seafood and family-size take-out meals. If you want to feed a crowd at home, Dolphin Den’s separate menu includes full meals of barbecue, ribs, brisket, chicken, seafood and Italian fare. You can feed up to 10 people with one order, an especially attractive option if you’ve just arrived at your rental and don’t feel like cooking. Dolphin Den has a traditional sit-down restaurant as well. Their seafood entrees are served with the traditional accompaniments — cole slaw, cornbread and homemade French fries. Favorites include the coconut shrimp, crab cakes, crab legs, seafood platters and pastas. They also feature hand-cut steaks, a variety of special salads and appetizers, she-crab soup and homemade desserts. Dolphin Den’s Key lime pie was chosen as the best in North Carolina by the Travel Guide Association. Dolphin Den is open for dinner daily, and early bird specials are available from 4 to 5 p.m. They have a full bar serving liquor, wine and beer.

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Froggy Dog Restaurant & Bar

  • 40050 N.C. Highway 12
  • Avon

Originally a hot dog stand, the Froggy Dog has grown into Avon’s largest restaurant over the years. The Froggy Dog serves three meals a day. Breakfast features everything from pancakes to crab omelets to homemade biscuits. For lunch, there are burgers, sandwiches, salads and gourmet hot dogs (try the Froggy Dog). The dinner menu has something for everyone, from steaks and seafood to pasta and vegetarian dishes. Kids’ menus are available. Families are welcome at the Froggy Dog, and there’s a Kiddie Corner with toys and a TV to entertain kids while their parents eat. The lounge is a popular late-night hangout with karaoke and acoustic music. Froggy Dog also has the largest full bar on Hatteras Island, complete with 11 TVs. Ribbits Gift Shop sells T-shirts and a lot of other Froggy Dog paraphernalia. 

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Gidget’s Pizza and Pasta

  • 41934 N.C. Highway 12, Hatteras Island Plaza
  • Avon

Gidgets’s offers pizza with hand-tossed dough and homemade sauces, calzones, pasta entrees, paninis, subs, appetizers, salads and desserts and daily specials. The atmosphere is warm and friendly; you’ll want to hang out. There’s a good selection of beer and a newly expanded wine list. Lunch and dinner are served, and seasonal delivery is available in Avon.

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Good Winds Seafood & Wine Bar

  • 24502 N.C. Highway 12, Waves Village Kiteboarding Resort
  • Rodanthe

Whether you’ve worked up an appetite kiteboarding on site or you just want a meal with a water view, Good Winds is a good choice on northern Hatteras Island. With its second-floor perch over the Pamlico Sound and a deck for outdoor dining, it’s the place to watch the sunset. The menu features familiar local seafood — tuna, grouper, scallops, shrimp, crab cakes, fresh catch of the day — along with some more exotic offerings like house-cured bacon. And you can choose from appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, fish tacos, salads, seafood entrees, pasta, noodle bowls, chicken and ribs. Everything is chef-prepared and made from scratch. A kids’ menu is available. The bar has one of the most extensive wine and craft beer selections on Hatteras Island as well as a full liquor license, and it’s a good place to hang out after a ride in the wind. Good Winds is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. The Early Bird deal from 3 to 5 p.m. offers 20 percent off all food items except all-you-can-eat specials.

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Haoles Sushi & Sake Bar

  • 41001 N.C. Highway 12
  • Avon

“Haole” is a Hawaiian term meaning “outsider,” but you’ll feel welcome and right at home at this sushi and sake bar located near the Avon pier. Haoles has all the specialty sushi rolls you can imagine along with appetizers, soups, salads, sashimi and nigiri. Give their Fuji roll a try - you really can’t go wrong with tempura lobster, fresh tuna flown in from Hawaii, masago, spring onions, eel sauce and spicy mayo. Haoles uses local fish in their sushi too. They have a full liquor license and offer 20 different kinds of sake. You can eat indoors or out on their deck, and they’re open seven days a week in the summer. Call for off-season hours.

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Open Water Grill

  • 39450 N.C. Highway 12
  • Avon

Open Water Grill’s primo waterfront location definitely makes it worth the short hop up (or down!) to the north end of Avon. The back deck is practically over the water, and the view of the open sound from the back patio is unbelievable. There is plenty of outdoor waterfront seating, or you can also dine indoors, with a great view, or on the front patio. The owners are committed to serving fresh, high-quality food, and they do whatever it takes to serve the best local and regional steaks, seafood and produce. Open Water Grill serves breakfast starting in mid-May, and their lunch and dinner features sandwiches with Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, salads, burgers and seafood. Steaks are a specialty, from the 8 oz. filet mignon and 16 oz. ribeye to smaller portions for lighter eaters. Open Water offers a full bar. They serve dinner late into the night, and the bar stays open late. They also offer a shuttle service—they’ll pick up your entire party, drive you to the restaurant and take you back home at the end of the night—all for free. And if you’ve had one too many in the bar, they’ll also shuttle you home for free. Come as you are; the atmosphere is relaxed, casual and family friendly, but you won’t have to sacrifice food quality even if you’re dining in your flip-flops. 

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Rusty’s Surf and Turf

  • 47355 N.C. Highway 12
  • Buxton

Rusty’s Surf and Turf brings the bold flavors and colors of the tropics to Hatteras Island. Owner and chef Rusty Midgett, a native who left the island and honed his restaurant and kitchen experience in some of Philadelphia’s top restaurants, is inspired in the kitchen by the places he has traveled on surf trips – the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera, the Pacific Rim. Let him surprise you with his creative preparations of fresh fish and local seafood and premium beef. Midgett gets a lot of his seafood directly from Hatteras Island docks. The restaurant is fun and colorful with cheerful local artwork. Rusty’s has a full bar and specializes in North Carolina hand-crafted beers, and there’s a fun bar/appetizer menu. Rusty’s serves dinner seven days a week in the summer; call for off-season hours. It’s located between Natural Art Surf Shop and the ABC Store.

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Sandbar and Grille

  • 49252 N.C. Highway 12
  • Buxton

Sandbar and Grille is a longtime island favorite. It has a casual atmosphere, great food and an amazing view of the Pamlico Sound and every sunset. Whether you’re in the mood for something as simple as a burger or something decadent like Shrimp and Crab Alfredo, the Sandbar has it. Homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, fresh local seafood, ribs, steaks, pastas — it’s all good. Their ribs are said to be the best on the island. Sandbar is open for dinner daily in season and will serve lunch from early May through September; call for off-season hours. There’s a game room downstairs to entertain the kids. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, Sandbar has live acoustic deck music Wednesdays through Fridays at 6 p.m. and karaoke on Thursdays at 10 p.m. This season they’re bringing back live music most Saturday evenings at 10 p.m. – there’s no cover charge, so come on down and get your groove on. Give them a call, check www.OuterBanksThisWeek.com or Sandbar’s website for the music schedule. And if you’re feeling lucky, on Monday nights Sandbar hosts the Hatteras Island Poker League, including free poker with prizes. 

Angelo’s Pizza

  • 46903 N.C. Highway 12
  • Buxton
  • (252) 995-6364

Angelo’s is a casual eatery that serves Italian-inspired favorites like pizza, calzones, subs, spaghetti, lasagna, a variety of appetizers and daily specials. This is a great place to take the family because it’s laid back enough for kids and there’s a super-cool game room with more than 30 games attached to the seating area. It’s open for lunch and dinner daily year-round.

Beach Mugs

  • 24267 N.C. Highway 12, Pamlico Station
  • Rodanthe
  • (252) 987-2005

Beach Mugs serves coffee and all sorts of espresso-based drinks, tea and delicious smoothies and baked goods. Internet access is available on your computer or theirs. This shop also houses The Glass Bead bead shop, where you can make your own jewelry from thousands of beads. All the jewelry-making supplies you’ll need are available here. They also sell jewelry and photography by local artists.

Boardwok South

  • 26006 N.C. Highway 12, St. Waves Plaza
  • Waves
  • (252) 987-1080

Boardwok South brings something for the adventurous palates of Hatteras Island. Boardwok offers delicious Asian-style entrees from the wok, incorporating fresh vegetables, seafood, chicken, rice and noodles into flavorful, healthful dishes. There’s also an Americanized side to the menu with surf and turf entrees (try the “steak and cake”), crab cakes, scallops, kids’ offerings and excellent sides. The steaks are hand cut and the seafood is local and wild. The owner does 95 percent of the cooking, so it’s guaranteed made to order and consistently good. Boardwok South’s atmosphere is clean, comfortable and relaxing, and there’s a nice tiki bar serving beer and wine. Boardwok serves dinner Monday through Saturday nights and is closed Sunday.

Breakwater Restaurant

  • 57878 N.C. Highway 12 at Oden’s Dock
  • Hatteras Village
  • (252) 986-2733

Run by Hatteras Island’s native Oden family, The Breakwater at Oden’s Dock offers the village’s most upscale atmosphere for dinner and a long-standing tradition of excellent meals. The second-story restaurant and bar overlook the harbor and its stone breakwater, from which the restaurant gets its name. The view of the sound and the sunsets is breathtaking. The restaurant serves dinner starting at 5 p.m., featuring creative, contemporary preparations of seafood, beef, chicken, pork and pasta, along with delicious, fresh-baked bread and desserts. This summer Breakwater will also feature an afternoon deck menu outdoors starting at 3 p.m. The atmosphere at Breakwater is sophisticated yet casual. You’ll love the old photos of Hatteras Village on the dining room walls. They’re open Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the shoulder season and seven days a week during summer. Give them a call for a schedule of live music. Breakwater has a full bar.

Buxton Munch Company

  • 47359 N.C. Highway 12, Osprey Shopping Center
  • Buxton
  • (252) 995-5502

Celebrating their 15th year this season, Buxton Munch has been rockin’ the island’s lunch boxes since 1999. Buxton Munch Company serves big portions of good eats at great prices. The wraps and quesadillas are stand outs, and there are also gourmet salads, munchies (beer-battered onion rings, egg rolls), sandwiches, burgers, seafood and excellent vegetarian fare. They’re reputed to have the best fish tacos on the beach, and their Crabby Patties crab cakes are excellent too. The Munch has a newly expanded dining room with lots more room to breathe, and they’re now serving beer and wine. From April through January, Buxton Munch is open for lunch Monday through Saturday; for dinner hours, please call ahead. You can do take-out or eat in. Eating in is fun because this place is lively, the background music is good and the people are friendly.

Cafe Pamlico

  • 49684 N.C. Highway 12, The Inn on Pamlico Sound
  • Buxton
  • (252) 995-4500, (866) PAMLICO

An intimate restaurant, Cafe Pamlico is The Inn on Pamlico Sound’s signature eatery, offering gourmet cuisine overlooking the waters of the sound. Cafe Pamlico’s casual fine dining features local seafood, organic beef and poultry, homemade soups, appetizers, desserts and an extensive wine and beer list. You can opt for a multi-course meal or stop in and grab appetizers at their well-stocked bar. Their chefs are always willing to accommodate special dietary needs, including offering options that are gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan friendly. The menu changes weekly. With a large enclosed party room and expanded outdoor balcony seating, you can dine indoors or al fresco; both options offer an unforgettable waterfront sunset view. Cafe Pamlico features live acoustic music in the summer and also offers on-site and off-site catering. The inn and its restaurant are both handicapped accessible. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Capt’n Rolo’s Raw Bar & Grill

  • 53060 N.C. Highway 12
  • Frisco
  • (252) 995-3663

Fresh local seafood is the catch of the day at Cap’n Rolo’s. From fresh fish to clams, oysters, shrimp and scallops to mussels, crab legs and crawdads, they can satisfy a seafood craving. Fish tacos and great big seafood baskets (served with pasta salad or fries, cole slaw and hushpuppies) are some of the menu favorites. How about a frog leg basket? If you’re not in the mood for seafood, the menu has sandwiches, half-pound burgers, salads and a great selection of appetizers. Cap’n Rolo’s is open for lunch and dinner until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday in the summer, and there’s a kids’ menu. Take-out orders are welcome. The bar serves beer, wine and liquor and is a good place to hang out to watch TV with friends. Happy Hour (appetizer specials) is daily between 3 and 5 p.m. in the summer season, and there’s live music here on Friday starting at 10 p.m. 

Captain Beaners Coffee House

  • 53688 N.C. Highway 12, Suite B
  • Frisco
  • (252) 986-0008

This cozy place is a good stop for coffee and sweet treats in Frisco. Start off your day with coffee, espresso-based drinks, tea and pastries. Come back later in the day for homemade baked goods, doughnuts and ice cream. Captain Beaners creates ice cream blend-ins on a cold stone, and they make sundaes and shakes as well. Look for Captain Beaners next to Frisco Sandwich Company. Summer hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; call for off-season hours.

Chinatown Chinese Restaurant

  • 41934 N.C. Highway 12, Hatteras Island Plaza
  • Avon
  • (252) 995-0118

Specializing in Szechuan, Hunan and Cantonese fare, Chinatown offers all the Chinese favorites and then some. The menu is so long you’ll have trouble making up your mind, and there is also a lunch buffet. You can’t go wrong with daily specials. Lunch and dinner are offered, and you can eat in or take it out. 

Cool Wave Ice Cream Shoppe

  • 47095 Buxton Back Road
  • Buxton
  • (252) 995-6628

Cool Wave has it all when it comes to cool treats. They offer soft-serve ice cream and hand-scooped ice cream and all the good things that can be made with those — sundaes, banana splits, milk shakes and more. They also make their own homemade waffle cones, and you really can taste the difference. You can play corn hole for free outside.

Crazy Johnny’s Bar-B-Que

  • 47437 N.C. Highway 12
  • Buxton
  • (252) 996-0711

Crazy Johnny’s Bar-B-Que operates out of a red food truck across from Conner’s Supermarket in Buxton. Serving ribs, brisket, chicken and more, Crazy Johnny’s classic Eastern North Carolina barbecue is always freshly prepared and hot off the cooker. Side dishes are available, too, and homemade desserts. They offer up the barbecue until it runs out, so make sure you get it while the getting is good. Crazy Johnny’s is also a full-service catering company. 

Dairy Queen

  • 25199 N.C. Highway 12
  • Waves
  • (252) 987-1228

This location offers a pick-up window and drive-thru for ice cream and all of Dairy Queen’s frozen treats as well as hot dogs and drinks.

Dairy Queen

  • 39774 N.C. Highway 12
  • Avon
  • (252) 995-5624

You probably know what to expect from Dairy Queen. Stop here for delicious soft-serve ice cream, old-fashioned dip tops, Blizzards, sundaes, cool drinks and other eats.

Dancing Turtle Coffee Shop

  • 58079 N.C. Highway 12
  • Hatteras Village
  • (252) 986-4004

The Dancing Turtle is a great neighborhood coffee shop, the kind where you’ll find townspeople and vacationers gathered for conversation along with espresso, lattes, mochas, cappuccinos and just plain wonderful coffee. They also serve fruit smoothies, chai, frozen drinks, organic teas, homemade muffins and baked goods, instant oatmeal and biscotti. The atmosphere is warm and friendly; hang around awhile and meet some of the regulars. Wireless internet service is available. Clothing, dog treats, books and gifts are for sale here too. You can check them out online for menu items, gift certificates and more.

Diamond Shoals Restaurant

  • 46843 N.C. Highway 12
  • Buxton
  • (252) 995-5217

Diamond Shoals is a restaurant, seafood market and sushi bar known for its friendly atmosphere and friendlier staff. It’s open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Be sure to try their award-winning clam chowder. Newly renovated, Diamond Shoals features a new lounge and Hatteras Island’s only sushi bar serving sushi every night. You can finally get a mixed drink on Hatteras Island, and Diamond Shoals has all ABC permits. Diamond Shoals has a beautiful seafood market that is open every day with large selection of fresh, local seafood. Catering for all your events or family gatherings is available; choose from sushi, fresh seafood or from their vast menu of options.

Dinky’s Waterfront Restaurant

  • 57980 N.C. Highway 12, Village Marina
  • Hatteras Village
  • (252) 986-2020

Dinky’s name stems from the fact that the folks at the Village Marina call their small marina “the best little dink marina in town.” This is a cozy, 68-seat restaurant with a great big view. At sunset, make time to sit at the beautiful African mahogany bar — they now have full bar service. Dinky’s serves dinner only year-round. The fare is traditional American with a creative flair and includes local fresh seafood, beef, poultry, appetizers and lots of specials. Families are welcome and everything is available for take-out.

Dirty Dick’s Crab House

  • 41934 N.C. Highway 12, Hatteras Island Plaza
  • Avon
  • (252) 995-DICK (3425)

With two locations along the Outer Banks, you can find Dirty Dick’s on Hatteras in the same shopping center as Food Lion in Avon. Judging by the name, this might sound like a simple seafood shack, but Dirty Dick’s is actually a nice restaurant with a fun-loving atmosphere and seriously good food. The menu pays homage to New Orleans and Louisiana cuisine with dishes such as seafood gumbo, jambalaya and Po Boys, but it also offers nuances of the East Coast, featuring a vast array of classic seafood favorites, including the biggest variety of crab preparations we’ve ever seen. Steaks, chicken, pork, burgers, ribs, salads, unusual sides and appetizers and sandwiches round out the offerings. Check out their popular T-shirts and other merchandise. 

Fatty’s Treats and Tours

  • 46618 N.C. Highway 12
  • Buxton
  • (252) 995-FATT

Fatty’s is a kayak-tour business that also sells ice cream. They offer 24 flavors of Hershey’s ice cream as well as shaved ice and smoothies. Their milkshakes are hand-blended and therefore very thick and delicious. Fatty’s recently added a full bakery featuring all the made-from-scratch pies you could want, including chocolate mousse, peanut butter cheesecake and key lime. They also have deep fried Snickers, muffins, fresh cinnamon rolls and made-to-order beignets that are always hot and fresh. They have delicious hot dogs too; their signature dog consists of a toasted bun, a slab of bacon, a fried egg, mac and cheese casserole and homemade barbecue sauce, all covered in crispy hash browns. The food is hard to resist, so you’ll want to take a kayak tour afterward to work off the calories! You’ll find Fatty’s right next to Daydreams.

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