September 13, 2012

Fall Culinary News: Encore Restaurant Week, Food Events and Tours, Festivals & Dinner Theatre Spice Up the Season

(Press Release) Wilmington, North Carolina and its island beaches nourishes the soul with a historic riverfront town and beautiful coastline. As an emerging dining destination, it also whets the appetite and satisfies the palate with a full spectrum of dining options from Wilmington, NC’s historic river district to the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach. A dining renaissance in recent years produced outstanding restaurants and chefs, including Catch Modern Seafood Cuisine’s owner/chef Keith Rhodes, a 2012 Bravo TV “Top Chef” contestant. N.C. Department of Agriculture “N.C. Best Dish” awards go to Kornerstone Bistro, 3rd place-Casual Dining and Marc’s on Market, 3rd place-Fine Dining Wilmington’s first dedicated dinner theatre, TheatreNOW, opened in July with chef Denise Gordon overseeing the kitchen and local actors engaging audiences with weekly comedies, murder-mysteries, children’s shows, a Sunday gospel/jazz brunch, and dinner-and-a-movie nights. 

Food tours and events provide a great opportunity for visitors to experience restaurants and food traditions. Each week food writer/culinary tour guide Liz Biro leads lively Culinary Adventure tours of downtown restaurants, bars, and farmers’ markets. Visitors to Carolina Beach will enjoy Tasting History Tours featuring island eateries. Food events and cultural festivals from the river to the sea help to round out an exciting culinary scene. More than 40 area restaurants from the river to the sea participate in the bi-annual Encore Restaurant Week (now in its fourth year), held in the fall (October 17-23) and spring (March). The inaugural Taste of Wrightsville Beach showcase follows on October 27.

Here’s an appetizing roundup of Fall food happenings to spice up the season:

Sept. 8: Dash Around the Table with celebrity chef Jon Ashton. Schwartz Center, Wilmington. 910-343-2037.
Sept. 18: A Taste of the Town. Thalian Hall, Wilmington,
Sept.22: Oktoberfest. Lumina Winery & Brewery, Wilmington. Advance tickets required.
Sept. 29: Wilmington Wine & Beer Walk. Downtown Wilmington.
Oct. 13-14: Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival. Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area, Kure Beach.
Enjoy seafood & live music with headliner Gregg Allman.
Oct. 17-23: ENCORE Restaurant Week. 40+ restaurants in Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach serve delicious meals at fixed prices. Restaurants/ menus available at
Oct. 19-20: Oktoberfest. Government Center Complex, Wilmington.
Oct. 19: Airlie Oyster Roast. Airlie Gardens, Wilmington. 910-798-7700;
Oct. 20: Back Door Kitchen Tour. Downtown Wilmington.
Oct. 20: Lighthouse Beer Festival. 3400 Randall Parkway, Wilmington.
Oct. 27:Taste of Wrightsville Beach. Showcase of 30+ Wrightsville Beach eateries and beer/wine vendors.
Roberts Market parking lot, 32 N. Lumina Ave., Wrightsville Beach.
Nov. 3: St. Stan’s Polish Festival. St. Stanislaus Church, Castle Hayne.
Nov. 10: Festival Latino. Ogden Park, Wilmington. 910-264-4915.

Ongoing - Farmer’s Markets: Riverfront Farmer’s Market Downtown Wilmington (Saturdays thru mid-Dec.;; Pleasure Island Fresh Market, Carolina Beach Marina (Saturdays thru Dec. 3; 910-805-3014); Poplar Grove Farmer’s Market, 10200 US 17 N. (Weds. thru Dec. 14;
Ongoing - Culinary Tours: Culinary Adventures with Liz Biro ( & Tasting History Tours (

Ongoing - Dinner Theatre: TheatreNOW (weekly shows), 19 S. 10th St., Wilmington; & Porch Theatre Company (Sept. 14), Brooklyn Arts Center, Wilmington;

Wilmington, North Carolina and the island beaches of Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville offer a dynamic dining scene with more than 400 restaurants to suit every budget and palate. For a free official Visitors Guide, call 1-866-266-9690 or visit For specials, packages, events and experiences, visit;;; and
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