WILMINGTON — Former Waterman’s brewer Zac Brown expects to open his new restaurant and bar, Stalk & Vine, on the Riverwalk this Thursday.
The restaurant is a culmination of Brown’s time living in New York City, New Orleans, and San Francisco, with an emphasis on small plates, local craft beer, high-end wines, and specialty cocktails.
The menu was created by Brown with consultation and design from former PinPoint chef Dean Neff, who in February was named a James Beard semifinalist for best chef in the award’s southeastern category. Neff will also help streamline recipes for the kitchen and help guide the kitchen staff during the restaurant’s opening.
One of the menu’s large dishes is the Hazy Cajun Boil – sausage, shrimp, clams, potatoes, smoked crab legs, and boiled peanuts all cooked in a hazy IPA low-country broth. There is also the Cajun Red Bean Hummus platter, which Brown said is a spin-off from his time in New Orleans eating the city’s famous red beans and rice dish.
“I’d eat that every Monday for years,” Brown said.
Snacks and small plates will include pickled quail eggs, boiled peanuts, white anchovies, Crofton’s Pretzels, and blistered shishito peppers. There will also be sandwiches, charcuterie boards, lettuce wraps, seafood and veggie pinchos, salads, and vegan bowls (see featured items from the menu below).
Brown’s opening draft beer lineup includes a Kolsch from Waterline, a peach wit from Edward Teach, an ESB from Bill’s Brewing Company, and IPAs from Flying Machine, Skytown, and Flytrap Brewing. He said the drafts will rotate on a seasonal basis.
Brown has installed a wine dispensing machine that uses nitrogen to pour from high-end bottles of wine and sour beer to keep them fresh after each pour. Brown said the system works well for sour beers (four are now featured from Cascade Brewing Blending House in Oregon), which require extra cleaning and maintenance on traditional draft lines.
He said there will also be 12 beers in cans, some ciders, and more than 30 wines by the glass.
A specialty cocktail program created by Brown will include the Lolo (a “spirit-forward” rye bourbon drink with lemon bitters and ignited rosemary and lemon peel) and the Polish Spring (cucumber dill and rosemary muddled with lemon, vodka, club soda, and honey).
“It’s really refreshing for the summer,” Brown said of Polish Spring, a drink named after an old Polish roommate in the San Francisco Bay area.
Brown said he was excited to soon make the official transition from a long career in the brewing industry to one as a restaurant owner.
“It’s going to be a very big pivot,” Brown said. “It’s going to take a while to get used to not being a brewer every day. But that’s okay, I might not be done. We’ll see … But absolutely not right now. This is 100 percent my job and my gig and my home.”
The restaurant, located at 224 S. Water Street in downtown Wilmington, will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Featured menu items
- Pick 1, 3, or 5: pickles, quail eggs, white anchovies, boiled peanuts, pickled shrimp
- Crofton’s Pretzel – beer mustard, honey
- Cajun Red Bean Hummus – red beans, Cajun seasoning, crackers, pickled okra, pickled onion, green olives
- Seasonal charcuterie options – cheese (Shakerage Blue, Beemsters Gouda, Meadow Creek Mountaineer) and meats (Benton’s Country Ham, La Quercia Salumi, Chicken Liver Mousse)
- Larb – poached chicken, baby carrots, pickled ginger, togarashi-ghost mayo, cilantro, fish sauce
- Yellowfin Tuna and Shrimp Pincho – seared rare tuna, grilled shrimp, citrus-cilantro marinade, summer vegetables, basil mayonnaise
- Salad – strawberries, arugula, saba dressing, toasted pine nuts, ricotta
- Hazy Cajun Boil: andouille sausage, shrimp, smoked crab legs, potatoes, shaved celery, mint, jalepeno, grilled bread
- Vegan Bowl: whole grain, gilled summer vegetables, avocado, toasted seeds, citrus cilantro vinaigrette, hummus (feeling less vegan? you can add pulled chicken, steak, or tuna)
Opening draft beer lineup
- Kolsch – Waterline Brewing Co. (Wilmington, NC)
- Hotel Rendezvous Bavarian Wheat – Revelry Brewing Co. (Charleston, SC)
- Teach’s Peaches Peach Wit – Edward Teach Brewing Co. (Wilmington, NC)
- Fenceline Saison – Blackberry Farm Brewery (Walland, TN)
- Goodyear ESB – Bill’s Brewing Co. (Wilmington, NC)
- Governable Parachutes India Pale Lager – Flying Machine Brewing Co. (Wilmington, NC)
- Get Schwifty New England IPA – Skytown Beer Co. (Wilmington)
- West Coast IPA – Flytrap Brewing (Wilmington, NC)
- Framblanc Fruited Sour – Cascade Brewing Blending House (Beaverton, OR)
- Pêche Fumé Fruited Sour – Cascade Brewing Blending House (Beaverton, OR)
- Sang du Chêne Fruited Sour – Cascade Brewing Blending House (Beaverton, OR)
- Kentucky Peach Fruited Sour – Cascade Brewing Blending House (Beaverton, OR)
Mark Darrough can be reached at Mark@Localvoicemedia.com