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Steph’s Top Picks for Lunch/Dinner/Drinks During Conference Week

Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront has a beautiful waterfront restaurant serving lunch and dinner. With a wide range of options, an incredibly convenient location, and a chic design, this is a great spot to eat during the conference. Did we mention it overlooks the Cape Fear River? Don't miss the sunsets...they are stunning.

This is a tiny locale, so make reservations if possible. Enjoy beautifully presented Latin American food in a cozy atmosphere.

Margaritas on tap with reasonably priced yummy tacos are the specialty here. The al pastor, with pork tenderloin, is my favorite.

Great southern food, plus they take reservations. Don’t miss their shrimp & grits, as well as the fried green tomatoes appetizer.

Crust has super yummy grilled cheese sandwiches, salads, and soups. I particularly love The Ghostbuster with cheddar and brie… it’s delicious! They also have a tiny bar that makes delicious drinks. Small restaurant, so make reservations.

Savory pub-style food in a saloon atmosphere. I love their sweet potato fries and the Honest Abe's Chicken Sandwich. This local's favorite can fill up fast, so get your name on the list and then grab a drink while you wait for a table.

Other Great Lunch Spots in Downtown Wilmington

The focus here is on fresh and healthy food, like turkey burgers and chickpea wraps. The menu even changes seasonally.

This large restaurant is a Wilmington classic serving pub-style food. Try the (massive) chicken nachos and their in-house beers on tap.

A Wilmington landmark, this popular joint serves southern food with an all-day breakfast menu, though “all day” means until its 3 p.m. closing time. You gotta try their grits and make sure you get a biscuit too.

Across the street from the historic courthouse, this is a favorite for comforting Italian food served relatively fast. Note this is an order-from-the-counter establishment; there’s no table service.

This tiny restaurant is known for its macaroni and cheese and huge burgers. The preparation of the mac and cheese changes daily, although there are plenty of other tasty options on the menu too.

It’s small, but they have AMAZING tacos, as well as burritos and street corn.

These restaurants are located right on the riverfront and all serve American food. Enjoy a great view with a delicious meal, weather permitting.

Just looking for a little snack with some caffeine? Any of these coffee shops / cafes will do the trick.

Dinner Spots in Downtown Wilmington

Elegant atmosphere with tapas-style dining and my favorite salad in town, The Organic Greens with Pear, Candied Walnuts, Idiazabal Cheese, Shallot Vinaigrette. Don’t miss their colossal desserts — the créme brûlée is my favorite.

A great place for an upscale meal with a southern twist. I love their fried chicken, and you absolutely must get the butterbean hummus with the most delicious bread around. It’s a-mazing!

This gourmet restaurant is considered one of Wilmington’s best. Incredibly, almost everything is sourced locally. Also a great spot for drinks! Some of the best mixologists in town work behind the bar at Manna. Pop in for a great glass of wine or a sophisticated cocktail (they even have a few they can light on fire for you!)

A cozy French bistro with all the classics you’d expect, plus a bar with a sofa lounge upstairs.

There are oysters galore, along with steamed seafood for anyone looking to enjoy coastal cuisine.

This is an upscale Italian restaurant with an extensive menu and wine list.

A sushi lounge with craft cocktails? Sign us up!

This relatively new addition to the Wilmington scene has excellent food and a super chic dining area. Grab a cocktail at their bar or grab dinner at a window seat.

Looking to go beyond Downtown Wilmington? A 10-minute Uber ride will bring you to Asian cuisine heaven and a beautiful outdoor courtyard. Their menu has something for everyone and the ambiance can't be beat. If you love Coconut Cake, make sure to get a slice of their's.

Drink Spots in Downtown Wilmington

Did you ever wish you could go to a speakeasy? Now’s your chance. Hidden down an alley, there is a great vibe here in which to enjoy creative cocktails. Even better? It’s within walking distance of the Embassy Suites!

This hidden spot can be hard to find, but it’s so worth it. Imagine a bar and an arcade mixed together. Everything from ski ball to air hockey to pool is on-site. The look and feel of this bar has made it a favorite for local film crews.

This bottle shop has themed nights, like Winedown Wednesday and Beer Tasting Thursdays. You can’t go wrong. They also often host live music and have a nice beer and wine selection. Bonus, next door is the Wilmington favorite, Boomballatti's Ice Cream.

Looking for some cheese with your wine? Enjoy one of their carefully assembled smorgasbords or create your own.

Consider walking or taking a quick Uber ride to this beautiful piano bar with upscale drinks and a cozy atmosphere.

You’re just an Uber ride away from this casual local hangout with a huge selection of beers on tap and a nice wine selection too. Connected to the bar is Block Tacos, one of my favorite spots for tacos in town. Across the street is Benny's Big Time Pizza, another personal favorite. If you aren't too full check out The Second Glass owned by Celeste Glass, home to an elegant wine list and food.


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