SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Lots of movement happens around the Port City when it comes to restaurants, food trucks, bars and bottle shops, not to mention organizational and nonprofit foodie events and festivals. While Port City Daily already covers most of this news, “Small Bites” offers another way for readers to stay in the know.
READ MORE: Catch up on other food news of the week
Prost German Biergarten opening this month
It’s been a year since Justin Smith and his partners — including wife Bekah, Kyra Faina and Gil Johnson — announced plans to open Prost in downtown Wilmington’s former Tails space.
Now it’s two weeks away from go-time.
The 100-seat restaurant will be open four nights beginning Feb. 23 for dinner only and then will launch for both lunch and dinner by March 2. The hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Prost is an experiential dining destination, Smith said, which means homing in on the German beer garden and Oktoberfest themes year-round. Customers will help dictate menus, too.
“We never know what to expect, but we’re ready to see what Wilmington makes us into,” Smith said. “I think we have a great menu for any time of day, any class of people in any age group. But, really, we gotta let Wilmington tell us what it’s going to be.”
The restaurant will be a fusion of German and Southern American cuisine, with the menu created by head chef Erin Wiley.
Schnitzel, spaetzle, sausages (including a vegan option), pretzels, sandwiches and salads, as well as goulash, sauerbraten (tender beef roast that has marinated for several days) and seafood items are being served.
There will be all localized and regional beers, with the exception of Guinness, on tap, as well as plenty of European and German beer bottles and cans. Twelve taps will be specialized lagers and kolsches, according to Smith.
“We want to promote our community and state breweries,” he said, with a goal to pair up with local breweries for unique flavors eventually.
The liquor license is the last piece that needs to fall into place before opening. “It should come through any day now,” Smith said.
The restaurant will be located at 115 S. Front St.
Sweets for your sweet with Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a South Carolina ice cream shop is opening at 608 Oleander Drive, unit E, in front of Independence Mall. Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar got its start in the Myrtle Beach area in the summer of 2020.
It’s become known for its over-the-top cold dessert concoctions. Various toppings — cupcakes, cookies, fruit, fudge, waffles — are piled high atop flavored shakes and sundaes.
For instance, “Berried in Chocolate” consists of blended chocolate-raspberry ice cream, in a raspberry-swirled Mason jar, topped with a slice of cheesecake, whipped icing, chocolate shavings, and raspberry and chocolate drizzle.
Half sizes are available in cups and there are also “crazy bombs” — essentially ice cream sandwiches featuring various flavors of ice cream between two homemade chocolate chip cookies and rolled in sprinkles.
Sundaes can be created over waffles and any topping can be turned into singular treats, like a cinnamon roll, slice of pecan pie or red velvet cake, and doughnuts.
Crazy Mason also offers two non-dairy and vegan varieties, including “Cereal-sly Good” and “Holy Cow-Free Cookies and Cream.”
Owned and operated by Gabriele Pike and Donald Turner, the Wilmington location is among nine stores. Since launching in Myrtle Beach, Crazy Mason has expanded into Charlotte, with other stores opening as far north as Baltimore down to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
The Wilmington location will open officially on Feb. 16, 3 p.m.
Get a free burger from True Blue Butcher and Barrel
This weekend will mark the one-year anniversary since True Blue Butcher and Barrel opened in the South Front District. When it launched, it gave away 896 free smash burgers.
Though owner and chef Bobby Zimmerman hoped to reach the 1,000 mark.
“When we fell short of our goal during our opening last year, I vowed to give away 1,000 free burgers for our first birthday,” Zimmerman explained.
This Saturday, Feb. 11, beginning at 11 a.m., True Blue Butcher and Barrel will be reaching to meet their goal, with a thousand free smash burgers up for grabs on a first-come, first-serve basis.
One burger per person is open to anyone who dines in and makes a purchase, such as a drink or side. The burgers are bacon-ground, served on a challah bun and topped with American cheese, fresh tomato, homemade garlic pickles, lettuce and special sauce.
As it celebrates its first year, True Blue Butcher and Barrel also will be adding to its current shareable and handhelds menu. Joining harissa-spiced kebabs and pork belly buns, among crab cakes, tacos, wings and other items, will be a Carolina hot chicken sandwich and tostones.
According to Zimmerman, the sandwich will bring the heat.
“It’s spicy, fun and has a custom Carolina dry rub using kashmiri chili peppers,” he wrote to PCD.
It’s topped with American cheese, hardwood bacon, shredded iceberg, tomato, pickles and spicy special sauce.
Tostones will be made from green plantains, topped with black beans, lime, avocado and protein.
“We made the tostones a little bit playful by topping them with barbacoa and cheddar cheese,” Zimmerman said. “We’re ping-ponging off Beat Street’s repertoire a bit and creating the same playful approach to Butcher and Barrel’s shareables and handhelds.”
READ MORE: Mess Hall out, street food in: New casual eatery from True Blue brand to open in Cargo District
Fast, casual seafood restaurant closes
Morgan’s Seafood — formerly known as Carolina Fish Fry — has officially closed its last-standing location as of Sunday, Feb. 7.
The eatery opened in May 2022 in Ogden Market Place, near Publix.
Morgan’s was owned by Tyler Morgan, who originally took over Carolina Fish Fry’s flagship Market Street location in 2020. He rebranded the seafood restaurant in 2021. It focused primarily on fried fish, scallops, shrimp and the like, along with fries, hushpuppies and coleslaw served on platters and as baskets.
Over the course of his ownership, Morgan added more menu items, including grilled options, burgers, barbecue and homemade sides.
He closed the flagship location at 4023 Market St. last July to focus solely on the Ogden eatery, double the size at 2,700 square feet. It took a year to get the operation up and running, with Morgan and his father primarily doing the upfitting.
Port City Daily reached out to Morgan for comment on the closure but did not hear back before press.
He announced on Morgan’s Seafood social media pages it would be the restaurant’s final shift Sunday: “Today is sadly our last day accepting orders. Takeout Only. We have lots of popcorn shrimp and catfish!”
The social media handles will remain active, he added, indicating his journey isn’t over yet: “I will be keeping our page alive and making updates as we work towards the next chapter.”
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