Port City Small Bites: Cugino Forno Pizza Moves Next to Hi-Wire, Closed Lunchbox, and More


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Cugino Forno Pizza should enter the suite facing Princess Street, connected to the Princess Hi-Wire building and 11 streets. (Port City Daily / Shea Carver)

SOUTH-EAST NC – There is a lot of movement around the Port City regarding new restaurant, foodtrucks, bars and bottle shops openings and closings, as well as the launch of organizational and food festivals and events and festivals. non-profit. While Port City Daily already covers the majority of this news, changes and smaller changes sometimes go under the radar.

READ MORE: Follow the other culinary news of the week

“Small Bites” offers another way to inform readers of what’s happening in the local culinary scene: what to expect when it comes to expansions of existing establishments or menu changes, closings. and temporary renovations, overtime or openings, pop-up events and other news of interest.

Cugino Forno Pizza gets comfortable up to Hi-Wire

The Soda Pop District will get its first pizzeria when Cugino Forno Pizzeria opens in the adjacent Hi-Wire Brewing building.

In 2019, Paramount Development Group purchased the 1950s car dealership that operated as Carolina Carburetor Specialists. Built in 1946, nearly 8,000 square feet has become dedicated to Hi-Wire. The Asheville-based brewery opened in December 2020 at the corner of 11th and Princess streets, but the Princess side of the property, Suite A, has been left empty.

According to permits issued by the City of Wilmington, the 3,500 square foot suite is expected to become another location for Cugino. The operation began in Greensboro in 2017 and has launched several pizzerias in the Piedmont and Triad areas of the state, the most recent ahead of Hi-Wire Brewing in Durham in November.

Three Turkish cousins, Joseph Ozbey, Yilmaz Guver and Adam Adksoy, founded the restaurant after studying the art and craft of making Neapolitan pizza in Italy. (Cugino means “cousin” in Italian and forno means “oven”.) [and] found the importance of quality ingredients, ”they explain on the website.

80% of the ingredients in Cugino wood-fired pizzas come from Italy, including San Marzano tomatoes and Caputo flour. Buffalo mozzarella covers each 16 inch pie (except marinara) and pizzas are baked at 900 degrees stone ovens, which come directly from Naples. Cugino’s menu consists of 11 specialty pies, priced at $ 15.95 and up, a handful of salads ($ 8.95 and up), as well as macaroons, cannoli, cakes and ice cream (2, $ 95 and over). The restaurant also serves beer and wine.

It offers pizza-making classes and will soon be offering frozen pizzas to bake at home.

Andy Hewitt, president of Paramount, and the founders of Cugino Forno did not respond to requests for comment; There has been no official announcement or disclosed opening date for the Wilmington location. MW Willard Architect is also listed on the permits.

Bagels on Pointe opened in downtown Wilmington in early December, in the former location of Tony’s Tugboat. It operates daily from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Port City Daily / Shea Carver)

Bagels on Pointe opens a second store in downtown

After taking over the Mr. Bagel Meister store in the Pointe at Barclay shopping complex in April, Bagels on Pointe has now expanded downtown to 106 Water Street. The store moved to the old Tugboat Tony’s space – near the River Place condos – at the start. of December.

Owned and operated by Bronx native John Monaco, the bagel shop serves twenty flavors of bagels and a dozen sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. The downtown location currently offers half the flavors, but will add more as it assesses customer needs.

Bagels on Pointe in Barclay also hosts an auto show, Cars and Coffee, on the first Saturday of the month. Hours of operation are 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily (but only until noon on New Years Day).

Closed lunch box

After operating for seven years, Lunchbox on Shipyard owner Yvonne Inman announced on Boxing Day that the cafe’s last day would be December 30.

“We were actually getting ready to renovate our space,” Inman wrote to Port City Daily. She and her husband, Jeff, were scheduled to start the project the last week of the year, but found the costs to be higher than expected.

A new opportunity also presented itself. Inman had obtained certification three years ago to work with mastectomy prostheses and planned to follow the new career path while continuing to operate Lunchbox. The idea was to put someone else in the managerial position to manage their day-to-day operations.

“This factor, along with the growing challenges facing all restaurants and the fact that our rental agreement has expired, made the decision [to close] easier, ”Inman explained.

Inman will be working at the Pink Hope Mastectomy Shop as part of Atlantic Prosthetic Services in the New Year.

The Inmans said they have received several offers from other people interested in buying the company since the announcement of its closure.

“We can still do a food truck in the future, but for now we’re taking a break from the food industry,” said Inman, who had been a waitress at the Lunchbox before taking over ownership. She said her former owner’s offer was one she couldn’t pass up.

“We decided to take the plunge into the restaurant industry at a time when restaurant management was a bit easier and there was a lot less competition,” said Inman. “We have learned that being patient and consistent is the key to success in everything. We are proud to have made it through the past two years and thank our staff, past and present, and our fantastic clientele. “

Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar closed until February

Carolina Beach’s oceanfront restaurant and tiki bar announced on social media that they would go into a brief winter hibernation as the offseason officially begins. The restaurant has traditionally closed every January and reopens in February ahead of the rise in spring tourism on the island.

Ocean Grill management noted on social media that the annual shutdown allows the property “to take care of certain tasks and give employees a well-deserved break.” Like others in the restaurant industry, he also pointed to the many challenges faced in 2021, listing countless shortages of “labor, alcohol, aluminum, even umbrellas”.

“We thank you for your patience and understanding,” the message continued. “We wouldn’t have had such a good year without our customers, friends and crew.”

The restaurant will announce its reopening in February on its Facebook page, available here.

Local beer and food come together again in April

After a one-year hiatus, due to Covid-19, the Cape Fear Craft Beer Alliance will re-launch the annual Cape Fear Craft and Cuisine event on April 2, 2022 as part of Craft Beer Week 2022, which will take place from March 25 to April. 3. The week features special outings, pairing dinners, the Ultimate Brewing Championship and ends with the Craft and Food Event, the region’s premier beer and food pairing event in the South East. from North Carolina.

Taking place rain or shine at the Fort Fisher NC Aquarium (900 Loggerhead Rd.), Tickets for the event are $ 75, available for ages 21 and over, and are expected to go on sale this month. -this. Local chefs will prepare unique and fresh dishes to pair with the best sips from local breweries. Chefs and brewers will come together to discuss the insight and flavor profiles that also drove them to the pairings.

More information can be found here.

Cafe in Le Cargo District

On January 1, the coffee and roasting container next to Alcove Beer Garden changes its name. Blue Cup Coffee will change its name to New Town Roastery, according to developer Leslie Smith, who launched the neighborhood in 2017. The same staff will dispense the same beer at the drive-thru or walk-in service.

One block behind Queen Street Barbershop, Drinx will celebrate its grand opening on January 4th. The cafe serves energy drinks made from Lotus plants, also caffeinated from the green coffee bean before it is processed.

“It’s like 21st century coffee but refreshing,” April Walker told Port City Daily. “You still get the caffeine, the energy and the kick without the jitters and the crash.”

Cold drinks come in a variety of “shades” (flavors): red is sour cherry (“it’s the closest flavor to Red Bull,” Walker said), blue is blueberry and blue. Acai, pink corresponds to tart cherry and raspberry, purple corresponds to elderberry and blackberry. , and the purest form, white, has no nuance or flavor while still providing the same benefits.

Lotus concentrate – poured over ice, your choice of Torani syrup and soda or plain water – provides antioxidants and B vitamins for a healthier boost.

Drinks will be $ 5 and over. Drinx is located at 1605 Queen Street, Suite 10. Read the full story here.


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