Wednesday, July 24, 2024

From food truck to beer cottage: WilmyWoodie owners to launch bottle shop in Hampstead

Kevin and Erin Langston, founders of WilmyWoodie wood-fired pizzas, are opening a new bottle shop, bar, and beer yard. (WilmyWoodie/Matt Ray Photography)

WILMINGTON—The owners of a local food truck are rolling out a new concept that includes a bottle shop, bar, and a fresh menu.

READ MORE: 3 years after launching, burger truck parks its wheels for permanent home

Kevin and Erin Langston, founders and owners of WilmyWoodie, a well-known wood-fired pizza truck in the area, are expanding their business with a bottle shop and bar.

The Langston Beer Cottage (LBC) Bottle Shop and Beer Yard will be situated on 1.5 acres in the heart of Hampstead. Alongside, the WilmyWoodie food truck will park its wheels and serve up pizzas and new menu items, such as sandwiches and salads. It’s projected to open in October.

“We want to make it a destination where people want to be there,” Kevin Langston told Port City Daily in an interview Monday. 

The inside of the bottle shop will feature a selection of craft beers for carry-out purchase or singles to enjoy at the venue. The inside of the cottage will house a bar with draft beer and an area for merchandise.

Moving outside, a large metal Quonset dome roof will cover the open-air beer yard. It will include a stage, picnic tables, a larger bar, a concrete slab for the WilmyWoodie food truck, and bathrooms.

With plans to have live music, cornhole tournaments, and outdoor games, the bottle shop and beer yard will be family- and dog-friendly. Kevin Langston said anyone who is “behaving well” is welcome. 

The WilmyWoodie food truck offers a variety of wood-fired pizzas, including traditional options and unique combinations, featuring unexpected flavors such as muenster cheese and blueberries.

The restaurateurs have been working on creating natural sourdough and ciabatta bread for the sandwiches that are being introduced to the menu.  

“I mean, pizza, I could eat it every day, but I also want people that are like, ‘Hey, I just want a sandwich,’” Langston said.

Since hitting the road in 2018, the WilmyWoodie food truck is Wilmington’s sole pizza truck equipped with a wood-fired stove. However, the Langstons always planned to include a bottle shop and bar. 

The couple’s original vision was to create a concept combining pizza, a pub, and a bottle shop. The business owners liked the freedom to spend more time with their two sons, Broadie and River, and the food truck offered a more flexible approach.

Langston said building a brand and establishing a solid foundation for their business paused plans to open the bottle shop earlier.

“We weren’t really in a rush,” he said. “We’ve been doing it six years, I feel like we could have tried to pull the trigger earlier.” 

WilmyWoodie has grown a strong following in north Wilmington due to frequent appearances at Biggers Market and Broomtail Brewing. Langston explained they originally considered locating the bottle shop in that area but, ultimately, decided against it due to the higher cost of property.

“We couldn’t afford 3.3 acres in Wilmington,” Langston said. “Yeah, that’s a big difference. So it was a money thing.” 

Instead, they purchased 3.3 acres with the cottage, in the heart of Hampstead in April 2023. They sold the rear portion, reducing it to 1.5 acres.

Owning the property of their new establishment was important to the business owners. They didn’t want the possibility of being pushed out of the space. 

Langston considered what happened to Fermental a few years ago, leading to its move from Ogden to the Cargo District at the beginning of 2023. 

“It really bothered me that we lost a place in Ogden to become another oil change place,” Langston said in an interview Monday.  “So when me and Erin, my wife, talked about it we were like, ‘When we do something, we want to buy the property, we want to own it and it be ours.’ So 10 years from now, if it’s an oil change place it’s because we decided.” 

The cottage, at 15670 US Highway 17, is 600 square feet. Before the Langston’s purchase, it was previously used as an outdoor daycare center, with pink and yellow walls, tightly sectioned off, and low ceilings. 

Langston recognized the potential to transform the property into the bottle shop and bar they had imagined. They also aimed to preserve some of the original 85-year-old features of the building.

During renovations, the Langstons removed sections of the walls and ceilings to establish a more expansive area, unveiling a heart-pine Culford ceiling in the process. The room showcases the original fireplace, which an indoor bar is being added to. 

A mural by local artist, Lauren George from Nouveau Creative will be created on the back of the house. 

Further along in the opening process, Langston says the WillmyWoodie food truck will turn into a permanent restaurant at The LBC, equipped with a full kitchen and walk-up window service. 

“I just really believe that if we continue to try to always do our best, to make our best pizza, trying to make the best decisions, and I feel like we’re just trying to put good out,” he said. “If you put good out, then good comes in. And if we can continue doing that, it works, you know, it doesn’t. It’s definitely not easy, but that’s kind of our mindset.”


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