During a grand opening celebration 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., diners may sample Cafe Johnnie’s menu rooted in Southern and Lowcountry dishes, with a few modern twists and international surprises.
True she-crab soup and shrimp and grits make the list, but so do jumbo wings seasoned with lime, cilantro and Sriracha. Fat, fried oysters get Buffalo sauce and blue cheese sprinkles. Avocado, skirt steak and caramelized corn top arugula salad. Applewood-smoked bacon crowns a pimento cheese burger.
Co-owner Christi Ferretti visits her Italian roots for Pasta Abruzzo with garlic, olive oil, roma tomatoes, black and green olives and crisp prosciutto. “That’s my dad’s recipe,” she said.
The wings and oysters are among various small plates that provide patrons a tapas-style dining option even at lunchtime. Salads, sandwiches and hot entrees round out offerings.
Prices range from $8 to $10. Cafe hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Easter Sunday brunch features buffet service. Regular Sunday brunch table service begins thereafter. Dinner service is scheduled to begin in May, Ferretti said.
Cafe Johnnie also hosts special events.
The cafe is named for Johnnie Sexton, an arts supporter who founded Wilmington’s The CARE Project, which helps people cope with hearing loss.
Pine Valley Market in February won Encore magazine’s Best of Wilmington 2012 people’s choice awards for best caterer and best gourmet shop.