zillie's story

great wine and good food

Est. 2005

Zillie’s opened in 2005 when the owners of a small seasonal gift shop on Ocracoke decided to introduce some of their favorite specialty food items into their product mix. Ultimately that small food category grew tremendously into what is now Zillie’s. The introduction of craft beer and a large selection of wine completed the transformation.

Today Zillie’s is recognized as one of the first craft “mix and match” beer bottle shops in the nation. The Back Road location was established in 2008.

Ray and Christine Murray took over the reigns of Zillie’s in 2020 from Roy Revels and David Bundy, the founding partners.

The Murrays hail from the Richmond, Virginia area, have two daughters, Emily and Abigail – and two crazy dogs, Ruby and Genevieve. Ray has been working in the corporate world as a Human Resources executive for several years, and now “works” at his and Christine’s passion of having fun and providing an enjoyable, casual atmosphere for old and new friends. Some of you may recognize Ray; he’s been singing and playing the guitar on the Island for the past few summers (and he takes requests!). When not working, Ray loves playing music and fishing, and every once in awhile, a good cigar.

Christine loves to cook, is a great party planner, and is outgoing, friendly and cheerful. Ray and Christine are living on Ocracoke – right above Zillie’s! Like many others, they fell in love with the Island several years ago, and were drawn by Ocracoke’s natural beauty, history, and romance. And who doesn’t like Pirates!

Zillie’s has been special to their family, and they know it’s special to so many others… a warm, welcoming place to meet interesting people, and of course have a glass of wine or beer (or two!) on the beautiful deck. They’re excited to begin their new adventure. You’ll be seeing Ray and Christine at Zillie’s a lot, and they are very much looking forward to meeting everyone – so please stop by and say hello!

Zillies Ocracoke New Owners

Miss Zillie

Good friend Larry Williams suggested that the “new” shop be named in honor of Barzilla O’Neal (October 30, 1859 – June 10, 1939) who had lived on Ocracoke. Barzilla was unmarried and affectionately known by Islanders as “Miss Zillie.” She lived with her sister on Ocracoke’s Back Road and helped raise several nieces and nephews.

A tradition of great wine and good food

Everyone thought Miss Zillie was a great cook and she was particularly well known for her tasty homemade yeast rolls. When Miss Zillie’s Odoriferous Rolls were praised, she would proudly cite her motto: “Don’t let your pantry become empty or bare – Otherwise the devil will make his home there!”

Interestingly enough, one of Miss Zillie’s nephews, Oscar Jackson, lived in a small cottage behind Zillie’s present location and would often be seen walking the “Back Road” sporting his beloved sailor’s cap. It is rumored that he and his buddies Clee, Wilbur, Tom Frank’s Joe, and Bill produced some of the very finest “Meal Wine” that Ocracoke Island has ever had to offer.

Today, Miss Zillie’s tradition of great wine and good food is still honored – with Zillie’s offering excellent selections here on Ocracoke Island since 2005.

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