Downtown Wilmington in the running for best outdoor dining in the country

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Downtown Wilmington is pushing towards the top spot in a USA Today online poll for best outdoor dining areas in the country. Photo courtesy Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Downtown Wilmington is pushing toward the top spot in a USA Today online poll for best outdoor dining areas in the country. Photo courtesy Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Historic Wilmington is moving up the ranks in an online poll to pick the “Best Al Fresco Dining” neighborhood in the country.

As of Monday afternoon, the downtown scene–particularly Front and Water streets–had bumped up from below the top 10 to the third spot, edging out in the process some hip and sought-after locales like the French Quarter of New Orleans and the Meatpacking District of New York City in the list of 20 nominees for the hottest spot to take in open-air dining. The French Quarter and Meatpacking District were at 12 and 7, respectively, on the list.

The poll comes from USA Today’s 10best.com, the same site where Wilmington found itself the top winner in the “Best American Riverfront” list last year.

For this most recent poll, 10best.com teamed up with “traveling foodies” to compile the list of 20, which also includes Georgetown and Dupont Circle in Washington D.C., Peachtree Road in Atlanta and Chicago’s Riverwalk area.

“Many of the restaurants here do double duty and offer outside seating both on the sidewalk along Front Street and out back on patios overlooking the river,” the website wrote of downtown Wilmington’s outdoor food offerings.

The site gave a nod specifically to Reel Cafe as a “triple threat,” with its added rooftop option, and noted the “beach town weather” as being ideal, almost year-round, for taking in lunch and dinner outside.

Voting continues through 11:59 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 17. Click here to cast a vote and to read descriptions of each of the finalists.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341 or hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.