SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Lots of movement is happening around the Cape Fear when it comes to new openings and closings of restaurants, food trucks, bars and bottle shops. While Port City Daily already covers the majority of such news, smaller shifts and changes sometimes fly under the radar.
“Small Bites” is a new column Port City Daily will be running to fill in the gaps of coverage, and let readers know what to expect when it comes to expansions of existing establishments or menu changes, temporary closures and renovations, added hours or grand openings, pop-up events or other newsworthy tidbits that may get overlooked during the daily grind.
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Culinary school news
Yet, plans are in place to open for lunch ($10 for three courses) in the spring as well. Interested parties can make reservations mid-January 2022 here. The 403 Water St. restaurant offers students real-world practice on executing their skills. Diners are limited to 20 currently per Covid-19 protocols; the college will follow state guidelines as necessary.
Cape Fear Community College has had its culinary arts and hospitality program in place for quite some time, though its learning restaurant and dining room, Our Place, has been closed to the public due to the pandemic. Our Place reopened for the fall semester and is fully booked for its dinner service ($13 for four-course meal), which focuses on French cuisine.
Across the river in Brunswick County, the Douglas Terhune Center for Culinary Arts is set to open on Brunswick Community College’s campus. The center once served as the campus cafeteria and Firebird Café, yet has been renovated since Douglas Terhune — who serves on the school’s board of trustees — first suggested its plans in 2017. He presented the Brunswick Community College Foundation a gift of $115,410.
“[T]ransforming the space into a center for culinary arts to serve the needs of our students in culinary pathways was a way to make a lasting impact on our community,” Tehune said in a press release.
The renovation includes a state-of-the art meeting, dining and hospitality space, according to the release. “We are grateful for the generous donation to transform our cafeteria kitchen and serving area into a premiere teaching and learning kitchen,” Dr. Gene Smith, president of Brunswick Community College, said. Smith added it will strengthen the local workforce in the area.
“Brunswick County restaurant owners need all the skilled help they can get, especially with all of our tourists and the growing residential population,” Tehune added.
The Douglas Terhune Center for Culinary Arts will have a ribbon cutting on Oct. 21.
Wine all around
Over the last few weeks numerous bottle shops and even a private wine club has launched in the Port City. Bottles in The Cargo District opened at 615 S. 15th St., beside Homegrown Market. Both businesses are owned and operated by Kendra Burgon and Fredrick Giles. Whereas Homegrown Market features produce and local food, Bottles focuses on natural and sustainable wines. Some are organic, many made without additives and minimal sulfites, and others produced in smaller batches. The shop also includes beer — eight on draft, all North Carolina brewed.
Downtown Wilmington in the Murchison Building, a new private club is launching: Wine Knot Sky Bar and Lounge will be located on the third floor at 201 N. Front St., Ste 909. Owned and operated by Cameron Martin and Natalie Singletary, the private club’s memberships run $145 a year. Members have access to the bar, which will serve wine and beer (members can bring their own liquor), and can lounge in a space overlooking the river, with views of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. Events will be held occasionally, like comedy nights, and members space can be rented for private parties. The soft opening is Oct. 14 and 15, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., for members, who can bring up to four guests during the preview launch.
On Wrighstville Avenue, a craftsman cottage has been renovated into Wendy’s House, a wine shop featuring hundreds of bottles — from reasonably priced to high-end vinos from around the world — and dispenses from a WineEmotion system for one-off pours. Also a gourmet shop, Wendy’s sells nibbles and bites: artisanal cheeses and salamis, nuts, olive spreads, olive oils, tinned fish, and breads, crackers and crisps. Sweet finishes, from smoked and salted caramel to white chocolate almonds with licorice and passionfruit, are sold as well, for individuals to enjoy indoors, outdoors or on the porch, or as to-gos and takeaways.
Surf’s Up Pizza and Arcade opened in the spring in the former Indonesian restaurant, Candlenut, located at 2101 Market St. on Market Street. By the end of the month, Surf’s Up’s owner Stan McDowell — who also runs Burnt Mill Creek at the other end of the plaza — will expand operations into the business next door. Surf’s Up Arcade will feature skee ball and old-school arcade games, with a back room dedicated to console games, like Playstation and Nintendo.
To be located at 4512 Oleander Dr., The Butcher’s Market is slated to open in January 2022. Founded by Craig and Derek Wilkins, who already run four of the markets in Cary, Raleigh and Holly Springs, the local franchise will be operated by Smith Prevost. A neighborhood butchery, the focus will be on prime cuts of meats — poultry, beef, lamb, seafood, pork and exotic meats, plus house-cured bacon and smoked meats. Take-home meals, sides, beer and wine will be sold, too, all delivered at a fair price and with congenial hospitality.
With only one location in town — and the “Hot & Now” sign having been dimmed for a bit now — Krispy Kreme lovers will be able to line up again for the sweet treats starting Monday, Oct. 18. The corporation made adjustments to its equipment at the Holly Tree Road location but will flip on the sign next week, just in time for Krispy Skreme season. Doughnuts celebrating Halloween will join the lineup, including a “Bewitched Broomstick,” “Enchanted Cauldron” and “Abra Cat Dabra.”
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