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Downtown Wilmington Guidebook

Robert

Downtown Wilmington Guidebook

Food scene
I love Winnie’s! There’s nothing fancy about the building, but the staff is super friendly and the burgers are great. Plus they have the coldest Miller Lite in town. Winnie’s serves the Impossible Burger and has vegan-friendly options!
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Winnie's Tavern
1895 Burnett Blvd
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I love Winnie’s! There’s nothing fancy about the building, but the staff is super friendly and the burgers are great. Plus they have the coldest Miller Lite in town. Winnie’s serves the Impossible Burger and has vegan-friendly options!
This restaurant is a great place for a beer and fun dinner downtown. They run creative burger and mac n’ cheese specials every day. Plus the on-tap selection is top notch. They can be busy on weekends so plan ahead and allocate time to have your name on the waiting list. It is worth it! Fork n’ Cork serves the Impossible Burger and has vegetarian-friendly options.
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The Fork 'N' Cork
122 Market Street
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This restaurant is a great place for a beer and fun dinner downtown. They run creative burger and mac n’ cheese specials every day. Plus the on-tap selection is top notch. They can be busy on weekends so plan ahead and allocate time to have your name on the waiting list. It is worth it! Fork n’ Cork serves the Impossible Burger and has vegetarian-friendly options.
Home of some great burgers and a classic Philly cheesesteak, this is a locals hangout. In my opinion, they have the best sweet potato fries in town and a great selection of beers.
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The Copper Penny
109 Chestnut Street
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Home of some great burgers and a classic Philly cheesesteak, this is a locals hangout. In my opinion, they have the best sweet potato fries in town and a great selection of beers.
Burritos, Quesadillas, and killer margaritas. Beer Barrio is a perfect place to have a delicious Mexian dinner and some cocktails. They use fresh ingredients and are more than your strip mall Mexican joint. There is a good reason you will see locals enjoying a meal and a drink outside any day of the week.
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Beer Barrio
34 N Front St
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Burritos, Quesadillas, and killer margaritas. Beer Barrio is a perfect place to have a delicious Mexian dinner and some cocktails. They use fresh ingredients and are more than your strip mall Mexican joint. There is a good reason you will see locals enjoying a meal and a drink outside any day of the week.
Located a few blocks up Castle St, Jester’s is a favorite of us in the neighborhood. They are a perfect stop for brunch or lunch. The food is fresh and usually includes local produce. If you go for brunch, they have excellent mimosas to accompany the meal. They aren’t open for dinner, so make sure you plan to visit earlier in the day.
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Jester's Café
607 Castle Street
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Located a few blocks up Castle St, Jester’s is a favorite of us in the neighborhood. They are a perfect stop for brunch or lunch. The food is fresh and usually includes local produce. If you go for brunch, they have excellent mimosas to accompany the meal. They aren’t open for dinner, so make sure you plan to visit earlier in the day.
This is fresh Southern-style cooking. The Basics uses local ingredients and has some delicious variety in their menu. They have breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner available. All are great! If you happen to be walking the boardwalk and end up on the other side of town (near the community college), this is a great place to stop for a bite to eat and a drink. You will find something for any time of day and appetite. The Basics offers vegetarian and vegan-friendly options.
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The Basics
319 North Front Street
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This is fresh Southern-style cooking. The Basics uses local ingredients and has some delicious variety in their menu. They have breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner available. All are great! If you happen to be walking the boardwalk and end up on the other side of town (near the community college), this is a great place to stop for a bite to eat and a drink. You will find something for any time of day and appetite. The Basics offers vegetarian and vegan-friendly options.
A Wilmington legend. This restaurant has been an establishment in our town and is an experience everyone should enjoy. The restaurant itself has a courtyard with gardens, streams, and many of the tables seated inside private huts. There is a backyard tiki bar and abundant decorations to behold. They serve Thai and Vietnamese food and have so many options that everyone will find something to enjoy. They offer curries, noodle dishes, classic Pad Thai, and many other dishes. I have tried every dish on the menu and always come back to one of the curries (my favorite is the jungle curry w/ tofu) or a Pad Thai. This restaurant requires a drive but it is totally worth it. Beware, the portions are large so each entrée is typically enough to feed two people- or bring back leftovers so you can enjoy the magic twice.
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Indochine Restaurant
7 Wayne Drive
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A Wilmington legend. This restaurant has been an establishment in our town and is an experience everyone should enjoy. The restaurant itself has a courtyard with gardens, streams, and many of the tables seated inside private huts. There is a backyard tiki bar and abundant decorations to behold. They serve Thai and Vietnamese food and have so many options that everyone will find something to enjoy. They offer curries, noodle dishes, classic Pad Thai, and many other dishes. I have tried every dish on the menu and always come back to one of the curries (my favorite is the jungle curry w/ tofu) or a Pad Thai. This restaurant requires a drive but it is totally worth it. Beware, the portions are large so each entrée is typically enough to feed two people- or bring back leftovers so you can enjoy the magic twice.
This is a two-for-one date night location. Upstairs, Caprice has a sofa bar (yes, you sit on sofas) that serves excellent martinis and other cocktails. Downstairs, they have a French restaurant that serves authentic cuisine- it’s approved by a friend who grew up and resides in France! For locals, this is one of the best places to plan a special evening with friends, family, and significant others.
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Caprice bistro
10 Market Street
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This is a two-for-one date night location. Upstairs, Caprice has a sofa bar (yes, you sit on sofas) that serves excellent martinis and other cocktails. Downstairs, they have a French restaurant that serves authentic cuisine- it’s approved by a friend who grew up and resides in France! For locals, this is one of the best places to plan a special evening with friends, family, and significant others.
Located four blocks up Castle St, this modern American restaurant serves a great brunch or dinner. Rx is another neighborhood favorite, and a great place to enjoy dinner with friends or with a date. They have a varied menu, with some classical dishes mixed with modern Southern cuisine. The chef focuses on using local ingredients, so you will see many dishes incorporating foods native to our state. The menu changes seasonally, but you will not be disappointed with any of the choices available. Rx offers vegan and vegetarian options.
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Rx Restaurant and Bar
421 Castle Street
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Located four blocks up Castle St, this modern American restaurant serves a great brunch or dinner. Rx is another neighborhood favorite, and a great place to enjoy dinner with friends or with a date. They have a varied menu, with some classical dishes mixed with modern Southern cuisine. The chef focuses on using local ingredients, so you will see many dishes incorporating foods native to our state. The menu changes seasonally, but you will not be disappointed with any of the choices available. Rx offers vegan and vegetarian options.
The restaurant is small and hidden in a corner of town, but the food is well worth discovering. This place serves some unqiue Latin American cuisine and has a fun atmosphere. It is a small establishment so seating is limited, but the food is delicious. This is a more casual restaurant than either Caprice or Rx (although in all Wilmington restaurants, shorts and something above a t-shirt passes for summer formalware), but the chef is just as serious. Savorez offers vegan and vegetarian options.
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Savorez
402 Chestnut St
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The restaurant is small and hidden in a corner of town, but the food is well worth discovering. This place serves some unqiue Latin American cuisine and has a fun atmosphere. It is a small establishment so seating is limited, but the food is delicious. This is a more casual restaurant than either Caprice or Rx (although in all Wilmington restaurants, shorts and something above a t-shirt passes for summer formalware), but the chef is just as serious. Savorez offers vegan and vegetarian options.
Bar scene
Waterline is located just under the Memorial Bridge. Go down Castle St from the house and head towards the river. Take a left at the boat ramp and one block away is the brewery. They are definitely the favorite in our neighborhood and have a great selection of rotating taps and usually have one of our area food trucks on premise for a snack. The staff is friendly and some nights they have live music inside. Don’t worry, there is plenty of seating outside where it is quieter.
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Waterline Brewing Co.
721 Surry St
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Waterline is located just under the Memorial Bridge. Go down Castle St from the house and head towards the river. Take a left at the boat ramp and one block away is the brewery. They are definitely the favorite in our neighborhood and have a great selection of rotating taps and usually have one of our area food trucks on premise for a snack. The staff is friendly and some nights they have live music inside. Don’t worry, there is plenty of seating outside where it is quieter.
Go up Castle St a few blocks (6th and Castle) and you will find our neighborhood wine bar. John and Beth, the owners, are super nice people and can always find the right wine for guests. On Friday they have a free wine tasting. Feel free to bring your own snacks as they don’t sell food and don’t mind if people eat in the bar. I’ve spent many a weekend night at this bar, enjoying great conversation and fine wines. Be sure to grab wine glasses from my kitchen so we can help reduce plastic waste- they don’t always have enough glasses for the tasting
Wilmington Wine
605 Castle St
Go up Castle St a few blocks (6th and Castle) and you will find our neighborhood wine bar. John and Beth, the owners, are super nice people and can always find the right wine for guests. On Friday they have a free wine tasting. Feel free to bring your own snacks as they don’t sell food and don’t mind if people eat in the bar. I’ve spent many a weekend night at this bar, enjoying great conversation and fine wines. Be sure to grab wine glasses from my kitchen so we can help reduce plastic waste- they don’t always have enough glasses for the tasting
KGB is a hidden gem in Wilmington. The bartenders are top notch, especially Derrick, so if you like custom cocktails this is the place to go. The patio is great when the weather is nice, and usually the bar is not too crowded. If you like a Manhattan or Old Fashioned, KGB serves the best in town.
KGB ILM
16 Princess St
KGB is a hidden gem in Wilmington. The bartenders are top notch, especially Derrick, so if you like custom cocktails this is the place to go. The patio is great when the weather is nice, and usually the bar is not too crowded. If you like a Manhattan or Old Fashioned, KGB serves the best in town.
Crafted in the style of early 20th Century speakeasies, this bar is the place to go for whisky cocktails. Located down the alley next to Front St brewery, the entrance is marked by a set of stairs and a nearly-hidden sign above with an elephant logo. The selection of whisky is best in the city and the rotating specials are always a delight.
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The Blind Elephant
21 North Front Street
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Crafted in the style of early 20th Century speakeasies, this bar is the place to go for whisky cocktails. Located down the alley next to Front St brewery, the entrance is marked by a set of stairs and a nearly-hidden sign above with an elephant logo. The selection of whisky is best in the city and the rotating specials are always a delight.
This is my bottle shop of choice. Bombers sells a huge variety of beer and wine both in bottles and cans but also on tap. Of course, you can enjoy your purchase in the shop too! They are located just off Front St next to the Marriott.
Bombers Bev Co.
108 Grace St
This is my bottle shop of choice. Bombers sells a huge variety of beer and wine both in bottles and cans but also on tap. Of course, you can enjoy your purchase in the shop too! They are located just off Front St next to the Marriott.
This is where you end your evening. Located in the basement underneath the Little Dipper (entrance is around the side/back), this is the closest late-night bar to my house. The bar staff is friendly and the surroundings are cozy.
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Lula's
138 South Front Street
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This is where you end your evening. Located in the basement underneath the Little Dipper (entrance is around the side/back), this is the closest late-night bar to my house. The bar staff is friendly and the surroundings are cozy.
Sightseeing
This is a longer drive down Carolina Beach Road, but is my preference when I go to the beach. Parking is still a bit challenging, but if you are willing to walk can be found off the oceanfront. Plus, this is the home of Britt’s Donuts which make for a delicious snack. There are also several dive bars in Carolina Beach and a tiki bar, The Ocean Grill and Bar, in Kure Beach that offers some tropical cocktails and an unbeatable view of the Atlantic Ocean.
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Carolina Beach
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This is a longer drive down Carolina Beach Road, but is my preference when I go to the beach. Parking is still a bit challenging, but if you are willing to walk can be found off the oceanfront. Plus, this is the home of Britt’s Donuts which make for a delicious snack. There are also several dive bars in Carolina Beach and a tiki bar, The Ocean Grill and Bar, in Kure Beach that offers some tropical cocktails and an unbeatable view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Neighborhoods
There are several companies that run tours around downtown Wilmington. The city is over 200 years old, so there is plenty of history to be told. Or, simply walk around and enjoy the architecture that many of my neighbors have worked hard to preserve. Walking either Front St or 2nd St from my home will offer some great sights. If you are interested in seeing inside the grandest home in the city, I recommend a tour of the Bellamy Mansion, located on 5th and Market St. There is a lot to see inside and outside and the funding from ticket sales helps the staff keep the building maintained.
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Wilmington Downtown Riverwalk
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There are several companies that run tours around downtown Wilmington. The city is over 200 years old, so there is plenty of history to be told. Or, simply walk around and enjoy the architecture that many of my neighbors have worked hard to preserve. Walking either Front St or 2nd St from my home will offer some great sights. If you are interested in seeing inside the grandest home in the city, I recommend a tour of the Bellamy Mansion, located on 5th and Market St. There is a lot to see inside and outside and the funding from ticket sales helps the staff keep the building maintained.