May 31, 2008

2 Wine Guys @ The Grind Keeps Getting Better

(Side view with the Carolina Beach Lake in the background)

Shawn and Joel are now offering well over 60 varieties of wine and now have live entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings. In addition, they have continued to remodel the inside of the former all coffee house and have done a wonderful job of creating a comfortable and sophisticated wine den for the truest of wine lovers. But personally, I'm one that enjoys sitting on the breezy outside deck and watching the evening dance of water birds as they settle in to bed.

As promised earlier, here are a few recent pictures from the Grind.
(The outside front deck overlooking CB Lake and the ocean dunes)

(Fear not Grind coffee lovers, they still continue to brew the same Java as before)

(The walk-in retail area of the shop)

New Waterside Restaurant Under Construction

(View from Blue Reef Surf shop)
(View from the boat basin park)

Quick update to this earlier story. The new waterside restaurant next to the Carolina Beach boat basin is under construction. The structure, which used to be the King's Boat retail shop, has been stripped and new construction is well underway. I've not heard when the project will be completed but it appears that they are moving forward at a brisk pace.

May 29, 2008

Fairfield Inn on Hold?

Rumors are circulating that Tidewater Hotels, owners of the Courtyard Marriott in Carolina Beach, are in talks to sell some or all of their hotel holdings. In addition, Tidewater are the ones that are planning to construct a Fairfield Inn adjacent to the Courtyard Marriott. So for now, the future of the Fairfield Inn project is in question. But even if the sale does proceed, one can only hope that the new owners will see the value of constructing a branded hotel at that location.

In other hotel news, the initial phase of construction of the Hilton Garden Inn should begin next week.

May 24, 2008

2 Wine Guys @ The Grind Grand Opening

This is an older picture of the original Grind...I'll update the image soon

I received the following email from the proprietors of 2 Wine Guys at the Grind. This quaint coffee/wine house has quickly become one of my favorite places to unwind and enjoy some fresh air while sipping a cozy glass of wine (or some fresh java in the am). I'm sure if you have visited CB in the past then you have seen this shop next to the lake. It has a wonderful second floor wrap around porch that was made for relaxing and catching up with friends or making new ones.

As for the wine selection, they have over 40 different varieties and you can order by the glass, bottle or you can get a bottle to take home. The owners/staff are extremely friendly and they have tested all the wines so they are very helpful when you need a recommendation. So if you need to find a relaxing place for a little down time, there is no better place on the island.


Come find your happy place.

2 Wine Guys @ The Grind will hold their grand opening this weekend, from Thursday through Sunday, featuring 14 wines by the glass and more than 40 unique bottles to choose from - either to drink on our breezy deck or wine room, or to take home and enjoy with friends.

Joel Macon and Shawn Underwood have converted The Grind coffee house into a gourmet coffee shop and wine bar, offering an interesting selection of reds and white, from California to Australia, with a few Europeans mixed in for good measure.

Joel and Shawn won't put a wine on their shelves they haven't personally tasted, and their motto is, "If you don't drink it, we will!"

2 Wine Guys @ The Grind opens at 7am every day, and closes at 5 Monday through Wednesday. They are open until 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

So come on out and watch the fireworks from our deck, stop by before or after the Sunday movie at the lake, or just pop by any time for a glass of wine or a mimosa.

2 Wine Guys @ The Grind is located at 308 S. Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to the Carolina Beach Lake. Their phone number is (910) 458-6033.

May 19, 2008

Add One More 'Attaboy" for the Kure Beach Ocean Front Park Committee

They done it again! They are well on their way to receiving full funding for the new Kure Beach Ocean Front Park. Their continued talents at soliciting and securing funds for this project are admirable and the citizens of Pleasure Island salute their tireless efforts.

Kure Beach receives grant for an ocean front park

KURE BEACH -- A grant is helping officials at Kure Beach repay a loan for an ocean front park. The North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund recognized the value of the Kure Beach Ocean Front Park by awarding the town $500,000 for the project.

The park will feature a pavilion and direct access to the beach.

The town acquired the Rolling Surf Motel in December 2007 for $3.6 million.
With this award, the town has raised $2.3 million to repay the loan acquired to purchase the property.

WECT article

May 18, 2008

Shuckin' Shack Review in the Wilmington Star

Wilmington Star News Article
By Liz Biro
One chilly winter night, Shuckin' Shack's doors are wide open, and inside the tiny Carolina Beach restaurant feels like a backyard oyster roast.

Galvanized buckets fashioned into lamps hang over the bar, its glass top sandwiching faded newspaper clippings that fuel conversations among the crowd. Hurricane Hazel's 1954 wrath. Hurricane Dennis. Hurricane Bonnie. A surfing lesson is positioned next to snapshots of sea dogs and their dudes. Remember the great white shark that washed up in the Intracoastal Waterway back in '98?

Huge photographs of docked charter boats at sunset replace windows, and nearby a sign reads, "It's always 5 o'clock in Carolina Beach." College basketball is on all four flat screens behind the bar.

This is March Madness coastal-Carolina-style, the rush to get the season's last local oysters. At Shuckin' Shack, the shellfish come from many places, but lately the most desirable are born in Onslow County's Stump Sound. The rich, briny big boys, raw or steamed, are accompanied by every sauce various oyster aficionados consider correct: vinegar, pure horseradish, hot butter, Tabasco, Texas Pete and ketchupy cocktail.

Patrons can shuck their bivalves or pay a few extra bucks to have the deft bartender do the work for them. Even on a busy Saturday evening, when he's dashing from kitchen to beer cooler to customer after customer, he voluntarily steps in on the task for some manicured ladies not sure what to do with their peck.

While they sip pinot and munch on Shuckin' Shack's fish and chips, crisp yet fragile batter coating the delicate filets, the barman sees to it that each gets her share of oysters.

When oyster season ends, the Shuckin' Shack party will continue. The restaurant also offers steamed clams; fat, sweet peel-and-eat shrimp optionally seasoned with Old Bay; and Low-Country-style boils with seafood and corn. Fried mushrooms, jumbo buffalo wings and crisp, slightly sweet hushpuppies satisfy landlubbers looking for snacks.

As the night goes on, paper towel rolls are passed down the bar, and oyster knives are exchanged for cocktails and bottled beers. The background rock 'n' roll becomes more apparent, stiff-shouldered surfers start circling, and it feels like this little community of seafood lovers releases one big contented sigh.

In this after-magic, many eyes are on an effervescent blond who barely notices the attention. After downing a half peck, she's lost in the memory of two rascally cousins who long ago forced her to eat her first "slimy" oyster. Just as she's telling how the moment unexpectedly transformed her from oyster hater to ardent fan, her eyes widen at the sound of Fleetwood Mac's I>Dreams./I> "That song was playing when they put that oyster in my mouth, " she says. "How weird is that?"

Cuisine: Seafood
Location: 6 N. Lake Park Blvd, , downtown Carolina Beach
Phone: 458-7380
Price range: $3 to $40
Payment: Visa and MasterCard
Sanitation grade: 96.5
Atmosphere: Casual and friendly. Food is served in paper-lined plastic baskets, steamers arrive in galvanized buckets and paper towel rolls provide napkins.
We say: The oysters are salty and the scene is cool at Shuckin' Shack.

Zorba's Steak and Seafood Restaurant Review in the Wilmington Star

[EDIT: They shut down in the Fall of 2008 and the bldg is now for sale/lease.]

[EDIT: 03/05/2009- Havana's has now opened.

Wilmington Star News Article

By Liz Biro
Star-News Correspondent

Anyone who knows Carolina Beach knows the old gray house among boxy buildings on the commercial strip. The 1916 Craftsman-style bungalow is a historic landmark, and for a while it gained acclaim as a fine-dining destination, thanks to The Cottage Wine Bar and Grill, which Fodor's considered one of the North Carolina coast's best places to eat.

Last year, The Cottage closed and Zorba's Steak and Seafood Restaurant moved in, replacing gourmet dishes such as blue cheese bread pudding and rosemary fire-roasted chicken with assorted Greek specialities and casual fare like ribs, steaks, fried seafood and standard pastas.

No doubt, though, that this is a Greek place. White and azure trim the porch where bright yellow used to be, illustrated Ionic columns decorate the restaurant's banner, and owner Ioannis Gonalakis', who also runs Gyros No. 1 in Kure Beach and Gyros No. 2 in Carolina Beach, might be hanging around front-lawn tables ribbing local teenagers in his thick Greek accent.

Inside, the old house still feels like someone's home, and friendly servers come off familiar as family. White-walled dining rooms offer little in decor, but no matter; most patrons prefer the wide porch or large, screened side deck furnished with low-slung metal patio chairs.

Much of the Greek cuisine shows up among typical appetizers such as chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks and fried calamari.

Thick tzatziki has a nice garlic bite and cucumber crunch, and mild hummus allows the flavor of garbanzo beans to shine atop toasty pita wedges. Lemony dolmades, however, were recently mushy, and grilled spanakopita triangles had a dull flavor despite promising char marks.

Greek dishes don't always toe the traditional line. Layers of thickly sliced potatoes, thinly sliced tender zucchini, and a ground beef tomato sauce akin to bolognese make up a satisfying entree that the menu calls "moussaka" but that seems more like lasagna in which potatoes are substituted for noodles. Saganaki is not the usual kasseri cheese flambeed tableside but a bowl of bland melted cheese.

Chicken shish kabobs' breast meat chunks and crisp-tender bell peppers are fine, but eight baby lamb chops arrived one night in various states of doneness, some tender and medium-well, others dry, crusty and overcooked. Dry rice and a soggy carrot-broccoli-cauliflower melange accompanied the entree.

Most desserts are not housemade, including crisp Greek butter cookies (kourabiedes) dotted with pecans and rolled in powdered sugar. The kitchen does produce a dense, moist coconut layer cake with plenty of sugary white icing that begged a cup of Zorba's reliable coffee and a little more time on the front porch.

Dining review: Zorba's Steak and Seafood
Cuisine: Greek, American and Italian, with traditional American breakfasts and lunch sandwiches.
Location: 1 N. Lake Park Blvd., Carolina Beach
Phone: (910) 458-3335
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Price range: $3 to $30
Payment: Cash, Visa and Mastercard
Sanitation grade: 93.5
Atmosphere: Beach casual and super friendly.
We say: Some of Zorba's Greek dishes can be disappointing, but the service is friendly and the outdoor dining options are fabulous.

Sunrise at the Carolina Beach Pier

This mornings view at the CB Pier. Here is some general info on the pier:

Carolina Beach Fishing Pier
1800 Carolina Beach Ave. N.
Carolina Beach, NC
(910) 458-5518

Owned and operated by the Phelps family, this 700-foot pier features a snack bar, a game area, a grill with indoor/outdoor seating and an upstairs lounge with ABC permits. The tackle shop offers new equipment for sale as well as rentals and bait. There is a fish-cleaning sink on the pier. The charge for general fishing with one or two rods is $8. King mackerel three-rod fishing costs $13. There is no charge to walk on the pier, and free parking is available for fishing. The pier is open 24 hours a day from April 1 through December 1 and is closed from December through March.

May 16, 2008

Hilton Garden Inn to Break Ground June 1st.

Hilton Garden Inn Carolina Beach During the May 13th, 2008 CB Town Council meeting it was learned from the attorney, Tom Jones, representing the Hilton Garden Inn project that they will break ground on June 1st. The fist seven to eight weeks will be for infrastructure and site work. They plan on having an official ground breaking ceremony in mid July 2008 and anticipate the entire project will take 18 to 21 months to complete.

May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

To all the moms out there, CB Today wishes you a very happy Mother's Day!

"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie." ~Tenneva Jordan

May 10, 2008


alligator crossing

Run for your life, there are gators on the loose. Well not really, but once again another alligator story shows up in one of our local papers. This time, a six foot alligator temporarily closed Carolina Beach Rd near Greenfield Park in Wilmington as the police ensured he had a safe path to wherever alligators eventually go. In this case, the little fellow headed to the Cape Fear River for a mid day cool down...or to devour some unsuspecting birds. But either way, it made for quite a show (with pictures and video) and the local paper was there to catch the events 'as they unfolded.'

Read the story here at the Wilmington Star

Last August, another alligator (maybe it was the same one, I'm not known for tagging gators) roamed the streets here at Carolina Beach. And again, the prehistoric beast was kind enough to stop for a picture.

Read the story here at the Island Gazette

May 9, 2008

Calling all Volunteer Projects...

I received this inspiring email from a gentleman who represents a volunteer group,, and they are looking to offer their volunteer services for the weekend of May 31st. If you or anyone you know could use their services, please contact Matthew directly.

And how fantastic is it that people from outside the area are willing to come down and lend a hand. My hat goes off to all of them!

With his permission, here is his email:

Hello Sir or Madam:

Hopefully you will be able to assist the group I represent. We are currently looking for a cause and place to volunteer a couple days at the end of this month (May 31st & June 1st) and were curious if you had the need and opportunity to put us to work?

A group of friends and I have a strong passion and love for both the beaches and mountains of North Carolina. In an effort to help preserve North Carolina's natural beauty, we are establishing an environmental charity appropriately named (our website will be up and running in the next couple weeks). As a fledgling charity we are trying to do as much as we possibly can to make contacts throughout the state and get our name out there.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could provide us with a couple hours of tasks to do or at least point us in the direction of someone who could. We see no task as too small or unworthy, every little bit helps. If there is anything you might need us to do please let me know.

Truly yours,
Matthew B. Franchi

May 8, 2008

"Kure Beach is actually Kur-ee…"

Here are some blog posts written by people who have visited Pleasure Island, NC.

Town Council Approves Open Air Restaurant

(This is the original drawing that was submitted to the Planning & Zoning Commission last year for the proposed restaurant at 101 Carolina Beach Ave South. There have been some minor modifications to the final plan that was just approved by the Town Council)

On 8 April 2008, the Carolina Beach Town Council approved this open air restaurant. The restaurant is the newest project being pursued by the owners of the Black Horn Bar & Kitchen. The venue will have live music, outside entertainment and an upscale restaurant with 288 seats. The facility is located on the south end of the boardwalk in front of the Courtyard Marriott.

The Marriott is currently trying to stop construction of the facility as they feel it will possibly create a noise issue with some of their guests. And one can also assume they are concerned because the 50' facility will partially obstruct ocean views from some of their guest rooms. But as Councilman Wilcox stated in the meeting, this is the commercial boardwalk area and the Marriott should have anticipated that the property may be used for entertainment purposes.

So for now we wait to see what becomes of the Marriott's current legal action...

May 2, 2008

Carolina beach music...What is it?

Have you ever heard the term "Carolina beach music?" Do you know what it means? If you don't, well join the club. I've seen various articles in the past talking about Carolina beach music but I never bothered to read up on it. Well today, I finally took the time to figure out exactly what it was all about. I came across this blog entry that explained it quite well.
"To anyone who did not grow up in the U.S. states of North or South Carolina, or perhaps Virginia or Georgia, Carolina beach music takes some explaining....

Carolina beach music isn’t about surfing or drag racing. It’s about dancing at the pavilion in Myrtle Beach, shagging on the sand with your best girl, holding hands and watching the moon rise over Atlantic breakers as the harmonies of The Drifters, the Embers or the Tams drift over the dunes...."

The Boardwalk Makeover Celebration Schedule for May 3rd

PARADE: 11:00
OPENING CEREMONY: 11:45 – 12:30
CBES CHOIR:12:45 – 1:15
MOTORCYCLE SHOW: 2:45 – 3:00
TWO CHORD CRACKA: 3:00 – 4:15
TOM RHODES: 4:30 – 5:45
DEAD NOTES: 6:00 – 7:15
ORGANIX: 7:30 – 8:30
ACTIVITIES (Various Locations)

KID ARTS (Welcome Center): 1:00 – 7:00
GIRAFFE INFLATABLE (Welcome Center): 1:00 – 7:00
SLIDE/BOUNCER (Gazebo Area): 1:00 – 7:00
DUNKING BOOTH (Mural Lot): 3:00
AQUARIUM/MAD SCIENCE (Mural lot): 4:00 – 7:00
PUPPET SHOWS (Puppet Lot): 4:30 & 7:30 (2 shows)
MAGICIAN (Puppet Lot): 6:00 – 7:00
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