Travel Feature: Wilmington, NC

It’s officially March.

I don’t think that Mother Nature has received the hint that we are ALL ready for some warm weather. 

We are about three months into 2018. Mike and I already needed a breather.

Every year since the start of our relationship, we start off the spring season in Wilmington where we disconnect from work, school, our pets (we still love them) and our chores.

Downtown Wilmington just has this artistic, eclectic appeal that Raleigh hasn’t quite yet achieved. You walk down the street and there are various street performers – saxophone, guitar, singing – you name it. Wilmington is also VERY dog friendly.

In addition to all of those things – the food in Wilmington alone is worth the 2 hour drive. Downtown Wilmington is not somewhere that you would find a chain restaurant. Almost every single business downtown is local.

We drove in on Saturday morning and basically ate our way through downtown Wilmington. This area is extremely accommodating to food allergies. Don’t believe me? Check out all the places we went. ALL allergy-friendly.

Eating our way through Downtown Wilmington:

First Stop – Platypus and Gnome

This is by far our favorite restaurant in Downtown Wilmington. Their food is made to order with fresh ingredients. You walk in and it has this rustic, eclectic feel and is decorated with the beautiful work of local artists. In case you’re wondering if there’s a reason behind the name — there isn’t one. It’s quite catchy though, right?

The first time we came here was last year and for an entire year, I have craved their house-made root vegetables {pictured below}. They are dairy-free and gluten-free. I had a serving as an appetizer and then took some to-go. The bartender was the same one as our visit last year and he is just awesome. I wish I knew his name so I could mention him.

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House-made Root Vegetables at Platypus and Gnome

My lunch entree was the fig and honey salad. I added seared Ahi-tuna. It was very easy for them to accommodate my allergies – they double checked all of the ingredients and left out the cheese. Just LOOK at this beautiful dish.

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Fig and Honey Salad + Seared Tuna (- cheese)

Platypus and Gnome was so gracious and really made our experience enjoyable. It’s a very laid back, classy environment. Ps. their cocktails are AMAZING too.


 

2nd Stop: Front Street Brewery

This is a spot that Mike really likes. I enjoy it also because their bartenders make a killer Old Fashioned. Did you know that Maker’s Mark is gluten-free?

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Old Fashioned with Maker’s Mark

Front Street Brewery doesn’t have as many food options as far as I’m aware, but they do serve Tito’s vodka, Wine, hard cider and Maker’s Mark.

UPDATE straight from Front Street Brewery! 

I was excited to find out via Facebook that Front Street Brewery has a very allergy friendly food menu! They are able to make changes to most dishes to accommodate food allergies. I really wanted to put this detail in there because it really is a great place with such a fun atmosphere. It’s a very popular and well-known spot in Downtown Wilmington. Starting in May 2018, they will have a GF symbol next to the items that are Gluten-Free! I can’t wait to pop in there and eat lunch on my next trip. Thank you to Front Street Brewery for the update!

Here’s a link to their menu.


3rd Stop: Pink Baking Co.

Pink Baking Co. is seriously the cutest. They make cookies, cakes, cupcakes, WEDDING CAKES, etc. The great news, is that they have vegan options, vegan/gluten-free options and regular baked goods. They also serve wine, beer, and coffee. Mike enjoyed two mini-cupcakes and I had a vegan/gluten free muffin that had banana, zucchini, carrots, and cinnamon. I had like two bites. SO good.

 

Left: Mike’s Oreo and Reese’s Cup Mini-Cupcake (not allergy-friendly)

Right: My vegan/gluten free muffin.


4th Stop: Circa 1922

After eating all day, we still had food reservations at Circa 1922. Such an elegant restaurant. They even had a live piano player. There is extremely low lighting here, so the picture of my dish is slightly dark.

I ordered the Crispy Duck Con fit with collards ( – the cream) and roasted yams + an old fashioned with Maker’s Mark.

The waitress was very gracious and made sure that the ingredients were dairy and gluten-free. The duck was so tender it fell off the bone!

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Crispy Duck Con fit with collards ( – the cream) and roasted yams


Whew! That’s a lot of food right? It’s fine. It’s totally fine. We walked like 13,000 steps 😉

ANYWAYS. Sunday morning we hit two more local spots before we drove home from 70 degrees and sunny to 50 degree and rainy in Raleigh. It was sad. It was torturous. Here are the two places we went to on Sunday morning:


Sunday Morning 1st Stop – The Basics

This place is the epitome of southern breakfast food. Although their menu isn’t specifically designed to accommodate food allergies, they were so helpful and made sure I had some food choices. While the staff was great, the coffee was SO GOOD, and I was able to find some food – I wouldn’t recommend the Basics for anyone who has severe food allergies. This isn’t because I had a bad experience – it was quite the opposite. It’s mainly because their menu just isn’t designed for food allergies specifically.

Their brunch menu has a couple of salads that work well with allergies. I was able to have two eggs over easy, two strips of bacon and some sauteed spinach. It was just what I needed.

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Sunday Morning 2nd Stop: Wake n Bake Donuts

I know I’m not alone in this – but I really enjoy looking at pretty food. Even if it’s food that I can’t even eat….I just enjoy fawning over it. For example: a beautifully decorated donut.

Full disclosure: There are gluten-free and vegan options at Wake N Bake, HOWEVER, they do not have donuts that are both gluten and dairy free. I unfortunately couldn’t have a donut, but I wanted to share about this place because there are definitely options for others. 

Wake N Bake serves coffee, tea, and donuts. They are decorated in such unique ways. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Mike bought a dozen to take to work in the morning. They stayed fresh.

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Sunday Morning 3rd Stop: BeSpoke Coffee and Dry Goods

I saw this coffee shop last year and we didn’t get to stop in. I really wanted to try it so we walked over after the donut shop. {OMG we really treated ourselves on this trip}.

BeSpoke serves Counter Culture coffee, which is local to Durham. This coffee is unbelievable. This location has the most amazing rustic feel and you feel immediately at ease when you walk in. The smell of coffee is both relaxing yet motivating.

They carry almond milk and gluten-free oat milk for milk alternatives. 

I was craving something sweet for my last “splurge-day” and I noticed they carry baked goods by Cravings the healthy fix. I had never heard of them but I was in for a real surprise. They are a local business in Wilmington. They are definitely on my radar. The food was great quality and didn’t make me feel drowsy and fatigued the way that sweets typically do.

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Vegan, Gluten free and Soy Free Blondie with agave.


This was my longest post, but I thought it would be easier to just put all of the local Wilmington recommendations in one post. There definitely more places that I would recommend. I’ll just have to save those for another post 🙂

I tried to label each place with the food allergens that they cater to. My two allergies are dairy and gluten so these are the ones I know they work with.

If you have any questions about any of these lovely places, please don’t hesitate to email me or leave a comment below. Also, I linked each restaurant web page at the beginning of each section.

As always, thanks for reading. I hope this made you hungry!

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