SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Lots of movement happens around the Port City when it comes to new openings and closings of restaurants, food trucks, bars and bottle shops, as well as the launch of organizational and nonprofit foodie events and festivals. While Port City Daily already covers the majority of such news, smaller shifts and changes sometimes fly under the radar.
“Small Bites” fills in the gaps of coverage, and lets 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.
End Of Days opens Sundays, releases rest of Survivor’s Cut bourbon first batch
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper passed an omnibus legislation bill at the end of September which now allows distilleries to sell bottles of alcohol on Sunday (ABC stores still remain closed). Castle Street’s End of Days will officially begin opening this weekend.
To celebrate at the distillery on Sunday, Nov. 28, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., EOD will release the rest of its first batch of bourbon, Survivor’s Cut. It is first-come, first-serve for the limited supply, and the line will begin at 3 p.m. at the front door facing Castle Street.
There will be special guests on site, too, including Topsail’s N. Sea Oyster Co. and Coastal Craft Creamery ice-cream truck.
Wheelz Pizza soft opening
Wilmington’s popular food truck, Wheelz Pizza, is getting its first dine-in brick-and-mortar at Wrightsville Beach. On Saturday, Nov. 27, the Wheelz crew is having a soft opening, noon to 9 p.m., located near the Wrightsville Beach bridge, in the former Peño Mediterranean spot (7037 Wrightsville Ave.).
Wheelz Pizza has had its headquarters primarily in a small space on 17th Street since launching in 2019, cooking and serving pizza from its fleet of food trucks. But the restaurant’s popularity and growth — fans hail their organic ingredients and three-day, cold-fermented sourdough crust — during Covid-19 spurred owners Joy Sprenger and Paul Parker to evolve the operations.
The restaurant offers three times the space of the commissary kitchen, which also will remain open on 17th Street. Starting next week, Wheelz on Wrightsville will be open for dine-in, delivery and it has a drive-thru window for easy pickup.
manna’s wine club
Wilmington’s downtown fine-dining spot celebrated 11 years a few weeks ago and continues expanding its culinary reach with its innovative kitchen and bar program. Its refined wine inventory also appeals, and enthusiasts can share in the flavors weekly by joining manna’s virtual wine club.
Restaurateur Billy Mellon brings in wine enthusiasts, sommeliers, and industry veterans to discuss some of the best flavors circulating the market. On Dec. 1, Mellon will welcome Chris Miller to discuss two over-the-top holiday wines for under $100. Participants can stop by the restaurant at 123 Princess St. to pick up the wines: NV Ponson Blanc de Noirs 1er Cru Maupas (Grower Champagne) for $60 and 2017 Proprietá Sperino Coste della Sesia Uvaggio (Nebbiolo/Vespolina/Croatina) for $38.
The link to join the virtual conversation will be shared when participants pick up their vino. The upcoming schedule for the rest of December includes:
Dec. 8 — Daily Drinkers that Over Deliver
Discussing wines from northeastern Italy with Cappie Peete (former BevDir for Ashley Christensen’s AC Group), featuring 2020 Venica & Venica Sauvignon Ronco del Ceró for $28 and 2020 Elena Walch Lagrein for $20.
Dec 15 — The Sonoma Coast Wine Whisperer
Featuring Andy Peay from Peay Vineyards, tasting 2019 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay for $50 and 2019 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir for $50.
No meetings will be held Dec. 22 or 29. Questions about the club or manna can be addressed by calling 910-763-5252.
Grab a Winnie’s burger on Mondays now
Those Mondays cravings for a Winnie’s Trailer Park burger will now be sated. The beloved dive burger joint is slinging its trademark handhelds — Stationwagon (mushroom), Carolina, BBQ bacon, Trailer Park, classic Winnie, and even the Impossible — every Monday for lunch, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
For those who have yet to jump aboard the Winnie train, other menu items consist of a BLT and fried bologna sammies, plus appetizers like Cajun okra fries and fried pickle spears.
Winnie’s is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., but will remain closed Sunday. Curbside pick-up is available and to-go orders can be made online: wilmingtonsbestburger.com.
Tazy’s soups pop up on The Lunchbox menu
Missing Brad Goodman’s cream of mushroom or lima bean with sausage soup from the days of Tazy’s? Yvonne Inman, owner of The Lunchbox on Shipyard Road, now has Goodman helping out in the kitchen Monday through Friday during lunch hours.
“He is just so easy to get along with and really adds so much to our team,” Inman told Port City Daily. “He has so much experience to share.”
Goodman and his wife, Barbara, operated Tazy’s for almost 20 years. It started off in a small strip mall on Kerr Avenue (where Sealevel Diner is) before moving to Oleander Drive (where Panacea is located), but the Goodmans closed the restaurant in August 2019.
“Brad has Parkinson’s, and while he is doing well, we didn’t need the stress of owning a restaurant anymore,” Barbara said.
Though Brad attempted to enjoy retirement, it was short-lived, she added: “He was really bored and has worked part-time at a couple of local restaurants since we closed.”
Customers often raved over Goodman’s soups and bread pudding at Tazy’s. Both are now being served at The Lunchbox, according to Barbara, who also works at the restaurant part-time.
“Yvonne has her two favorites everyday — chicken and rice and seafood chowder,” Barbara said, while Brad whips up the special of the day.
“Thus far, his best seller is lima bean and sausage soup,” Inman said.
Cream of mushroom and cream of asparagus, as well as lentil has made an appearance on the menu.
“The Lunchbox is so like Tazy’s: small, family-run. Great, fresh food,” Barbara said.
Cookout submits plans to build on Market Street
The former Wells Fargo location at 4195 Market St. could be demolished if the City of Wilmington’s technical review committee approves Southern fast-food chain Cookout’s plans for a fourth location in Wilmington.
The North Carolina-founded fast-food chain, which started in 1989, is well-known for its hundreds of milkshake combinations, as well as chargrilled burgers. Currently, it has drive-thrus on S. College and Carolina Beach roads.
If it passes the mark, a 1,852-square-foot building will be erected on a 3,200 square-foot lot, featuring Cookout’s trademark double drive-thru and a proposed walkup window. Cars will be able to access Cookout from both Market Street and Princess Place Drive.
The committee will discuss plans at its Dec. 22 meeting.
Holiday cooking classes from The Seasoned Gourmet
‘Tis the season for pastries and cookies! The Seasoned Gourmet at 5500 Market St. is kicking off December with its baking classes, just in time for last-minute hostess gifts or cookie swamps. Chef Annamarie will teach on Dec. 4 all the ins and outs to making the perfect Italian Christmas pastry.
It’s $70 for students to participate, each of whom will take home 18 pastries they create. On the menu: Italian wedding cookies, pizzelles and mascarpone- and ricotta-filled cannolis. The class takes place Saturday, Dec. 4, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.; sign up here.
Seasoned Gourmet has a host of other holiday cooking lessons lined up as well, including a kids sugar-cookie-baking class on Dec. 5 ($50), cooking with winter spices on Dec. 11 ($75), and holiday breakfast breads on Dec. 18 ($70).
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