Oyster ice cream: A surprising scoop of American food history

“People actually ate this...It was once a big deal in Read more

Chocolate, ice cream and N.C. root beer!

In my favorite round, Battle Uncle Scott's Root Beer, Merrell, who runs the tapas restaurant and "cocktaileria" Circa 81 restaurant in Morehead City, prepared one heck of a riff on a Black Cow, that famous chocolate, ice cream and Read more

Cooking lessons learned at 2014 Fire on the Dock

As the contest moves into its final battle tonight, I'm thinking back to the ideas I got during the 2014 tournament, part of the statewide Competition Dining Series that ultimately crowns an overall North Carolina winner from four regional Read more

Southern Collards should be the new kale

Will collards be the new kale, darling of diners seeking farm-to-table fare? If the 2014 Fire on the Dock chef competition is any indication, maybe. Read more

Food touring in Carrboro with Taste Carolina

As I often say, "I'm eat up with it," and Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours fed my obsession quite well this past weekend. Read more

Carolina Beach

Pizza, Italian favorites in Carolina Beach

Casa Matta is new at Carolina Beach.

Casa Matta is new at Carolina Beach.

Buon appetito! Casa Matta, serving pizza, pasta and southern Italian-style entrees in the former Madfish Grill, 1140 N. Lake Park Blvd., is open.

Owner Salvatore Doria first landed on the Cape Fear dining scene in July 2012, when he launched Brooklyn Sal’s pizzeria in the former Gumby’s Pizza, 1414-E S. College Road, between Wrightsville Avenue and Oleander Drive.

But Doria preferred Carolina Beach, where his brother, Vinny Doria, runs Uncle Vinny’s Pizzeria and Ristorante. When a place at the beach become available, Salvatore Doria grabbed it.

The 215-seat restaurant has a new patio furnished with a freshly painted concrete floor and umbrellas over tables. Lasagna, chicken piccata, Philly cheesesteaks, “real veal,” from-scratch meatballs and housemade, thick-crust Sicilian-style pizza are on the menu, Doria said. Traditional breakfast and brunch “with an Italian flair” are coming, general manager Celeste Bondy said.

Expect live music at Casa Matta, too.

Neapolitan Doria came to America as a child. At age 12, he began spinning pizza in Brooklyn, N.Y., he said. Doria also owns Fratello’s, an upscale Italian restaurant he has operated for three years in Pinehurst. That 100-seat spot is undergoing a 1,500-square-foot expansion, bringing a pizzeria to the business.

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2013 Easter brunches in Wilmington

Easter Sunday kicks off the spring Sunday brunch season, and restaurants in and around Wilmington are serving the meal this weekend and beyond.

Bonefish Grill, 4719 New Centre Drive, starts Sunday brunch hours this weekend, when it will offer its full menu beginning at 11 a.m. on Sundays.

Keep an eye open at Bonefish Grill locations for expanding brunch offerings such as creme brulee French toast and specialty champagne-based cocktails, Bonefish Grill president Stephen Judge said…

Brunch also happens at Boca Bay, 2025 Eastwood Road; Sweet & Savory and The Pub at Sweet and Savory, both on Pavillion Place off Eastwood Road near Wrightsville Beach; and Carolina Beach’s Surf House Cafe, 604 N. Lake Park Blvd. Read more…

Posted on by lizbiro in Brunch, Carolina Beach, Downtown, downtown Wilmington, Midtown Wilmington, Restaurants, Uptown Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach Leave a comment

Bakery coming to Carolina Beach

The wife of late Carolina Beach chef and restaurateur Michael McGowan is continuing her husband’s practice of striving to serve a market hungry for good food.

Shelly McGowan maintains the Michael’s Seafood Restaurant she and husband opened in 1998 at a 1206 N. Lake Park Blvd. shopping strip in Carolina Beach. In mid-March, she said she plans to open Big Apple Bakery just a few doors down from Michael’s.

The all-takeout bakery that will serve bagels, breads, muffins, cookies, specialty cakes, coffee, among other treats, is based on full-service, from-scratch bakeries the McGowans grew up with in New England, Shelly McGowan said. Read more…

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Nikki’s comes to Carolina Beach

Inside the 50-seat dining room, sleek, black Parsons-style chairs play against the red ceiling and sleek sushi bar. Another 45 seats are available on the patio. Read more…

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New oceanside eats in Carolina Beach

Hurricane Alley's is on the Carolina Beach boardwalk.

Carolina Beach’s new super-casual beach bar and restaurant, Hurricane Alley’s, 5 Boardwalk Way, specializes in steamed seafood and serves it on a tall deck overlooking the ocean on the town’s famed boardwalk.

Steamer pots for one, two or four people feature shrimp, crab legs, red potatoes and corn on the cob seasoned with Old Bay ($14 to $35). Sandwiches, salads, appetizers, a late-night list and a kids menu round out the menu.

The Monsoon Mahi Delight stacks blackened mahi, bacon, fresh spinach and mango salsa on ciabatta bread ($9).

Beer taps and a full bar calls for flip-flops and bathing suits.

Hurricane Alley’s owner David Cole also runs The Dive, a pub at 6 North Lake Park Blvd., Carolina Beach. He came from Myrtle Beach, S.C., to New Hanover County in 1997.

Cole worked for the City of Wilmington’s engineer department and ran a successful construction business. When the housing market fell, Cole went into the restaurant business.

Find Hurricane Alley’s behind the boardwalk’s summertime amusement park rides and Courtyard by Marriott Hotel. Prices range from $5 to $9, minus steamer pots. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday-Sunday and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday. Call 910-707-0766.

Maddfish Grill just installed a new menu.

Farther from shore, Snow’s Cut Café, 1140 A N. Lake Park Blvd., has a new owner, menu and name, Maddfish Grill.

Former Carolina Beach town councilman Dan Wilcox acquired the restaurant earlier this year.

Chef Chris Newton, previously of Cape Fear Seafood Company restaurant, 5226 South College Road in Wilmington, is crafting a new menu. Among recent selections: grilled blue crab cakes with ancho chili aioli and grilled asparagus ($18); Ritz Cracker-crusted flounder with lemon caper cream sauce and roasted potatoes ($14); and Irish egg rolls stuffed with Reuben sandwich fixings and served with Russian dressing ($8).

Like Snow’s Cut Café, which opened in early 2011, Maddfish serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hours for now are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 to 10 p.m. daily, but times may change. Call 910-707-0550.


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Hang Ten Grill opens today in Carolina Beach

Hand-pattied burgers and french fries cut on the premises are part of the menu mix at Carolina Beach’s new Hang Ten Grill, which opened today.

Read my report today in the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

My Hang Ten Grill item is part of a restaurant news roundup that provides information on an Italian deli coming to Wilmington, the city’s latest pizzeria, restaurant plans for downtown and one of the best places to get macaroni and cheese, the creamy, cheesy, delicious traditional kind and other versions that include everything from prime rib to lobster.

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