WILMINGTON — Those accustomed to generic food offerings at chain hotels can expect something different at Steam Restaurant and Bar and Cloud 9 (formerly called No. 9) two restaurants opening at the Embassy Suites hotel in downtown Wilmington.
“We could have done a typical just hotel restaurant, but we wanted do something specific to this location,” Executive Chef Tyler Powell said.
Along with Alan Nelson, food and wine director for the hotel, Powell said that, aside from certain things hotel guests have come to expect – breakfast items and room service – “this is our place to do things how we want.”
Cloud 9 bar and restaurant, located on the hotel’s ninth floor, offers near-360-degree views overlooking downtown Wilmington, the Cape Fear River and the forests of northern New Hanover County.
According to Nicole Boudreau, who will serve as general manager for the Embassy Suites restaurants, Cloud 9 will feature 25 beers on tap, including North Carolina and Wilmington breweries, and will be featured on Untappd.
“We’re definitely looking to have as many local beers as we can,” Boudreau said. “We’ve already confirmed Wilmington Brewing and we hope to have more.”
Tyler Powell said the rooftop restaurant location will focus on small plates.
“It’s going to have a street food vibe. We definitely want it to be a lounge feel, where people can come and relax, have a bite and a drink,” Powell said.
Powell, a native of Tennessee, said the main restaurant, Steam, will focus on simple, southern entrees.
“Being from Memphis, it’s definitely going to be southern food. There will be some French touches, some Asian touches, but for me it’s simple food done well,” Powell said. “Something I was told a long time ago is that if you need three things on the plate to make a great dish, why would you have four?”
Powell said the restaurant will also “do its best to represent Wilmington food, too.”
Powell said he and his family fell in love with the area when he visited on vacation recently.
“The family’s reaction when we got here — and then when we had to leave — we knew this was a special place,” Powell said.
A big part of that reaction was local seafood, something Steam will feature plenty of, including shrimp, oysters and other seafood cooked with the restaurant’s namesake ‘steam.’ Powell said he has already been in touch with a number of local seafood vendors.
The restaurant will also offer two “butcher’s specials,” Powell said, two steaks cut to order for the main restaurant each night.
According to Powell, Steam’s entrees will run from $19 to $35, with market-price specials.
Powell and Boudreau said Steam plans to open in the next few weeks.
“Definitely in time for Christmas,” Boudreau said.
Steam and Cloud 9 are both located in the Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront, at 9 Estelle Lee Place along the Riverwalk.
Steam will be open for lunch, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., a limited bar menu from 3 – 5 p.m., and will serve dinner from 5 – 11 p.m. nightly. Cloud 9 is planning for a spring opening.
On the map: Embassy Suites Hotel
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