Friday, December 2, 2022

Crust Kitchen and Cocktails brings ‘old school classic, new school twist’ to Greeks spot

Crust Kitchen and Cocktails plans to open in the former The Greeks spot on Princess Street in downtown Wilmington. (Port City Daily photo | Benjamin Schachtman)
Crust Kitchen and Cocktails plans to open in the former The Greeks spot on Princess Street in downtown Wilmington. (Port City Daily photo | Benjamin Schachtman)

WILMINGTON—If you’re looking for a grilled cheese that goes way beyond white bread and American cheese, with some innovative cocktails on the side, Crust Kitchen and Cocktails might be just the place for you.

Read all our restaurant coverage under Brews and Bites

Taking over the former The Greeks spot on Princess Street, Crust Kitchen and Cocktails plans to open next month, with a menu built around creative takes on the classic grilled cheese and a full bar menu focusing on “literally ice-cold” local beer, fresh fruit cocktails, and prosecco on tap.

Crust is the brainchild of three friends: Emily Luther, and husband and wife team Brian Di Giorgi and Stacey McPherson. The three met running neighboring businesses in Southport.

90s babies

Crust will have a distinctive 90s vibe – the collective favorite decade of its owners. Musically, guests can expect Beastie Boys, David Bowie, Mobb Deep and Nirvana. Di Giorgi suggested printing out some of the owners’ favorite lyrics from the era and framing them on the walls.

When renovations are complete, Luther said the interior will be “bright and happy, it’ll be upbeat, with lots of positive energy.”

The vibe, Luther said, extends to the sizeable backdoor patio, shared with neighboring Goodfellas, which keeps nearly opposite hours to those Crust has planned.

Co-owner Emily Luther's son Davis approves of the grilled-cheesed focus of the menu. (Port City Daily photo | Benjamin Schachtman)
Co-owner Emily Luther’s son Davis approves of the grilled-cheese focus of the menu. (Port City Daily photo | Benjamin Schachtman)

Luther added that Crust will be kid and family friendly. The restaurant will also strive to be environmentally friendly, working with North Carolina based GreaseCycle, a company that recycles used kitchen grease.

In the kitchen

Di Giorgi, who has cooked at a long list of local restaurants and most recently opened the kitchen at Cruz – part of the K-38 family – said after years of working for other businesses it was “time to do something for ourselves.”

Di Giorgi’s mission in the kitchen is to take grilled cheese places it’s never been before.

“In one way it’s self-explanatory, but the idea is that we are not talking about white bread and American cheese,” Di Giorgi said, adding that any of the dishes he’d cooked over his culinary career might get re-imagined.

“You might see a classic French dish that becomes the ingredients for a grilled cheese,” Di Giorgi said.

There will also be a classic version – with tomato soup – for purists.

The kitchen will also serve Belgian-style French fries inspired by Pommes Frites in Manhattan’s East Village, McPherson and Di Giorgi said.

“We want to do something really special with our fries, you’ll get that big folded cone of Belgian style fries – we’re also obviously thinking disco fries,” McPherson said.

McPherson added that, with so many heavy dishes on the menu, Crust will also offer seasonal salads.

“We have a lot of heavy foods planned for the menu, so we want to have some rocking salads to go with it – locally sourced wherever possible. We want some balance and for people to know this is a place you can come to eat if you don’t want something as heavy,” McPherson said.

Though it might come as a surprise from a kitchen based around bread and cheese, Di Giorgi said the kitchen would also offer gluten-free and vegan options.

Behind the bar

Crust Kitchen and Cocktails will have a full-service bar, but the owners hope guests will be feeling adventurous.

“We’ll have a full bar, so I can make you any drink – if you want an Old Fashioned I can make you a great Old Fashioned, but we also want to do some fun new things,” McPherson said. “Part of my job will be coming in early to make sure the fruit, the fruit juices, everything’s ready. These drinks will be a feast for the eyes, not just a good drink.”

McPherson is still working on the cocktail menu, but the idea of a prosecco fishbowl with fresh-fruit popsicles was mentioned.

Di Giorgi said that prosecco will be the only thing on tap, adding that canned beers provided some of the freshest beer – and some of the least wasteful, adding that Crust will crush all the used cans to keep the footprint small.

The cans will also go on ice, as opposed to in a cooler.

“It’s literally ice-cold beer,” Luther said.

Coming soon

The public got its first taste of Crust at the recent Castle Street Crawl, and the reaction, McPherson said, was good.

“We got a lot of positive feedback – we actually ran out of food because people were coming back for thirds,” McPherson said.

You can get a sneak peak at the construction progress through a peep hole in the front window of Crust Kitchen and Cocktails. (Port City Daily photo | Benjamin Schachtman)
You can get a sneak peak at the construction progress through a peep hole in the front window of Crust Kitchen and Cocktails. (Port City Daily photo | Benjamin Schachtman)

That taste will have to hold people for a few weeks. Crust is aiming for a mid-June opening. The restaurant will be open lunch and dinner, with brunch on Sundays.

You can find more info at Crust Kitchen and Cocktails Facebook page and website. The restaurant is located at 124 Princess St. in downtown Wilmington.


Send comments and tips to Benjamin Schachtman at ben@localvoicemedia.com, @pcdben on Twitter, and (910) 538-2001.

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