Thursday, January 27, 2022

Port City Small Bites: Bull City Ciderworks headed to town, Buoy Bowls to launch in new year

Bull City Ciderworks will be coming to The Cargo District at 615 S. 17th St. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)

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.

READ MORE: Catch up on other food news of the week

“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.

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Wilmington gets its first cidery

Bull City Ciderworks is headed to The Cargo District.

A permit for 615 S. 17th St., once occupied by the Superior Millwork Building, has been submitted to the City of Wilmington listing “Bull City Cider” as the incoming business. The applicant is Rob Romero of Romero Architecture — designer behind End of Days Distillery, a block over on Castle Street. The general contractor is listed as LS Smith Inc., the developer behind the growing Cargo District, which encompasses a few blocks between Queen and Castle, and 16th and 17th streets. 

According to the permit, plans for a 3,193-square-foot renovation are underway, including upfitting for new bathrooms and a tasting bar. 

Bull City Ciderworks launched in Durham in 2014, before expanding into Lexington in 2016 and Greensboro at the beginning of 2021. It has announced on its website a Cary location will be opening in January 2022.

The cidery was the first to open in the Triangle region and also operates as the largest in southeastern N.C. It serves fruited and barrel-aged ciders in various flavors — pear, ghost pepper, beet, peach, peanut butter, strawberry, ginger, cinnamon — and distributes to Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

An email to the business about when the cidery would open went unanswered; Port City Daily will update the article if a representative responds. 

The Triangle’s Buoy Bowls food truck is expanding into Wilmington by January 2022. (Courtesy photo)

New açaí bowl food truck

A new açaí bowl food truck is launching in Wilmington. Buoy Bowls got its start in Apex, N.C., from former Port City resident Derek Sharpe. Sharpe launched the truck in 2016 and has expanded with a new truck every year, taking home numerous best-of awards across the Triangle.

Buoy Bowls specializes in serving açaí bowls and pitaya bowls — eight in all — and five smoothies. Each item is made using fresh ingredients — banana, strawberries, blueberries, cocoa nibs, goji berries, bee pollen and honey. 

The purple food truck announced in April it would be coming to the area and as of Dec. 3 made its final hiring post. Sharpe said Buoy Bowls is looking at an early January opening, if all goes according to plan.

Hi-Wire + Bulleit = bourbon barrel-aged brew

Hi-Wire Brewing on Princess Street will throw a special release party Dec. 15 for its newest beer, 10W-40. The Hi-Wire crew teamed up with Bulleit to produce a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout (9.5% ABV), with chocolate, coffee and vanilla notes. It’s aged in Bulleit’s oak barrels that are charred with a caramel finish.

Wednesday night’s release will include samples, swag giveaways and live music from The Smokey Dunes. Admission is free and the party goes from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Four-packs of 10W-40 will go on sale for $20 and will be available for shipping starting Dec. 17.

Beer Barrio renovates, reopens after 10-day closure

It’s been six-and-a-half years since Beer Barrio started slinging tacos and ‘ritas at the corner of Front and Princess streets in downtown Wilmington. Owners Hayley Jensen and Stephen Durley decided it was time to renovate the eatery after Thanksgiving, and closed shop from Nov. 29 through Dec. 10 to make improvements.

“We had issues with leaks and floors starting to wear, so it was time for an overhaul,” Jensen wrote to Port City Daily.

The restaurateurs replaced the floors and some sub-flooring, as well as reconstructed the bar, which included waterproofing and tiling it. They also had the bathrooms renovated and “did some structural work in the prep kitchen.”

Plus, the eatery has new tables. The layout and capacity is the same, and the restaurant has reopened as of Friday.; its hours are Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m.

Panacea has expanded into a second space in Anderson Square, to be used as additional seating, as well as an event space for private parties and caterings. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)

Panacea expands, adds event space

Panacea opened in January 2020 to much fanfare, as the community rallied around one of the only vegan restaurants in town. 

“We were jam packed,” Robin Hill wrote to Port City Daily, “and then COVID hit and changed everything. We fed people on our patio in all sorts of weather, heating the outdoors all winter long because people still wanted to come out, they just wanted their space.”

Now that restrictions have eased a bit — and the pandemic has changed everyone’s perspective of personal space — Hill said she and her husband, Art, began looking at their restaurant with fresh eyes. Even when removing tables or spacing them out a little more, the eatery seemed “cramped.”

“So we chose to expand into the front unit to allow for more elbow room and casual drinking and dining space,” Hill noted.

Located in Anderson Square, a 1,600-square-foot space beside Pizzetta’s Pizza and connecting to Panacea now has brewpub signage facing busy Oleander Drive. Aside from having additional seating — 35 to 50 more customers can now occupy the tables, handmade by Perry Steed of Legacy Craftworks — it also allows Panacea more storage space. Additional square footage also means more events, including private parties and special caterings, as well as chef’s dinners, which can be personalized to anyone’s preference and budget, from light appetizers and drinks to plated dinners.

“There is a glass garage door between the two units so that private events can be held in the new space while the restaurant is open for regular business,” Hill explained. 

The Panacea vibe is carried throughout the new addition, with local artist Erica Nelson painting several large-scale murals, including “Mycelium Maiden,” inspired by Terra Vita Farm’s mushrooms, which the restaurant often uses in its menu items.

“We are really excited for the completion of the final decor piece,” Hill said, “the rear end of a Volkswagen bus which is being restored by Steve Martinez. When it’s done it will be mounted to the wall similarly to the bus front in the original restaurant.” 

The Hills will officially celebrate the addition to Panacea in January with a grand-opening party. For now, it is using the area for overflow seating. 

Carolina Green Provision holistic market opens

Green Lean Clean — a meal prep delivery service and wellness operation in Ogden — has remodeled and expanded its storefront to become a holistic market. Aside from serving their own healthy offerings — breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks, vegan and vegetarian also offered — it’s launching Carolina Green Provisions.

Located in the Ogden Village Shopping Center, provisions will focus on locally made products, such as all of Green Lean’s take-home meals, Panacea’s kombucha, Wilmington Bread Company’s homemade loaves (read more here), For the Love of Margaritas mixers, and more. 

A new sandwich has been added to the Cheesesmith menu: topped with cheddar, NC pork belly, pickled red onions, honey Dijon slaw, and Smith sauce. (Courtesy photo)

New sandwich, new hours at Cheesesmith

The Cargo District’s grilled-cheese hotspot, Cheesesmith, introduced a new sandwich earlier in the week. Served on marbled rye, the handheld — yet to be named — is topped with cheddar, NC pork belly, pickled red onions, honey Dijon slaw, and Smith sauce.

Also, the eatery has new hours, now opening Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. 

(Click here to read more about Cheesesmith.)

Classic European wine dinner

Sweet n Savory will host a special European wine dinner on Thursday, Dec. 16, 6 p.m. Located at 1611 Pavilion Pl., the cafe will serve eight courses, each paired with a different wine. 

Though chefs are still hashing out the meal, according to Sweet n Savory, the lineup of wine will include: 

  • Champagne Jacquart a Reims France, Brut Mosaique 
  • Patient Cottat, Sancerre Vielles Vignes, 2019 
  • Maison Vincent Girardin, Meursault Les Vielles Vignes, 2017 
  • Maison Louis Latour, Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru Les Chaillots, 2016 
  • San Polo (It), Brunello di Montalcino, 2016 
  • Château Nenin, Pomerol, 2016 $180
  • Sartori di Verona, Estate Collection Amarone della Valpolicella, 2015 
  • Porto Cruz, Gran Cruz 20-Year-Old Tawny Port

The dinner is $85 and reservations can be made by calling 910-256-0115.

Holiday farmers market with Chef Dean Neff

On Sunday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m. – noon, local chef Dean Neff will host a holiday farmers market across from Seabird, the downtown seafood restaurant he opened earlier in the spring. Neff will host cooking demonstrations and offer a tasting at 12:30 p.m. Also, a wellness dietician, Ana Zeller, will be on hand to discuss seasonal eating and offer easy-to-make recipes. It’s free to attend.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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