Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Crush and Grind ‘café’ aims to bring something new to Carolina Beach

Crush and Grind is located on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, in the building that once housed the Crows Nest bar. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)
Crush & Grind is located on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, in the building that once housed the Crows Nest, right across from the amusement park. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

WILMINGTON — In this day and age, a bar or bottle shop can be found on almost every corner. So how does one stand out in a crowd? By paying attention to detail.

Crush & Grind at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk is a brand new café-based wine and bottle shop, serving hand crafted cold brew coffee from a “top secret” recipe and a menu featuring local beer, wine, and food.

The shop is the brainchild of owners Dominic DePierro, Nadine Antonelli, Brett Gurkin, and Chris Myers, all residents of Carolina Beach, who wanted to add a little something of their own to Pleasure Island.

“We find ourselves constantly going off island, heading downtown, checking out different bottle shops and bars,” Antonelli said. “When we came up with the idea to open this place, we were originally thinking of doing it off island, but I live here, and Brett lives right over the bridge, so I made the plug that we put something here that we could appreciate year round.”

You'll find coffee, beer, and wine on tap at Crush and Grind. The cafe based wine bar aims to be the one stop shop for beverages on Carolina Beach. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)
You’ll find coffee, beer, and wine on tap at Crush and Grind. The cafe based wine bar aims to be the one stop shop for beverages on Carolina Beach. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

DiPierro, a former South Beach Miami barista, says that although they are a bottle shop and wine bar, coffee has been their biggest draw so far.

“Cold brews been more of our drink, that and the drip coffee. I’d say we’re really a café based wine bar,” DePierro said.

Over the years, DePierro has been working on his own “top secret” cold brew steeping method, and between him and Gurkin, they think that they’ve perfected it.

“People come in, they’ll drink our coffee, and they’ll say, ‘this is really good,'” DePierro said. “Then they’ll leave and come back 20 minutes later with four other people, that’s really helping us kind of blossom, I feel like it’s our foundation.”

“So, the other piece of that, is we’re trying to utilize local folks. The guy that does our beans is Island Roast, Ken Hodges, and he does an amazing job.” Gurkin said. “He’s helped us out a good bit to get moving forward with this.”

Keeping it local

The shop has a comfortable rustic feel to it. There's a poured concrete bar, reclaimed wood walls, and the ceiling features wood from its original construction in 1948. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)
The shop has a comfortable rustic feel to it. There’s a poured concrete bar, reclaimed wood walls, and the ceiling features wood from its original construction in 1948. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

At Crush & Grind, they want to do all things local. According to Gurkin, that’s why you won’t see much of your run of the mill beers in the shop.

“We carry local brews, Veggie Wagon is supplying our food, and then there’s two bakeries on the island and we’ve been getting snacks from both of them,” Gurkin said. “We have Good Hops Brewing right here on the island, we actually just ran out of Wilmington Brewing, people have really been drinking that stuff.”

“The locals here have very strong ties to the area, if you have a good product they’re going to support you,” DePierro said.

Aside from being a cafe and bottle shop, Crush & Grind also has a full service bar, with local craft beers and four different wines on draught. The lounge area has a comfortable and “rustic” feel to it, and according to Antonelli, the permanent coffee smell enhances the whole overall experience of the shop.

Eventually, Antonelli aims to turn the second story of the building into a “wine bar and lounge,” with an additional bar and sofa lounge for customers to enjoy.

“It’s going to be like our little speak easy,” she said laughing.

Not only is Crush and Grind a Cafe/Bar, but it's also a bottle shop. They offer several local beers on draught, and you can take it home fresh in one of their refillable tin growlers. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)
Not only is Crush & Grind a Cafe/Bar, but it’s also a bottle shop. They offer several local beers on draught, and you can take it home fresh in one of their refillable tin growlers. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

“We travel, we go to bigger cities, places like Raleigh that have these cool hangout spots,” Antonelli said. “There’s no reason we couldn’t have one here, and the locals appreciate it, they’ve been giving us a lot love.”

“We really want to grow with the community here,” Gurkin said “We want them to build it with us. We’re taking recommendations from our regulars on what they’d like to see in here. It’s just nice, we want to try to make this a destination spot for people in town too.”

Crush & Grind is located at 7 Harper Ave., on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. For information, check out its Facebook page, or give it a follow on Twitter.


Get in touch with Reporter Cory Mannion: follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or send an email at cory@localvoicemedia.com.

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