Cape Fear Foodie: St. Paddy’s Feast of Food

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 8:21 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Here we are a week away from St. Patrick’s Day, and it seems things are getting back to normal. Well, at least in regards to the impact of coronavirus, as there are various issues ranging from gas prices, inflation, and the conflict in Ukraine that is making life anything but normal.

But lest we forget, it was around this time two years ago that everything shut down, the world was literally turned upside down, and the the typical happy-go-lucky feeling surrounding St. Patrick’s Day was wiped away.

Now two years later and the parades have returned, St. Paddy’s Day parties are lining up and at least for the next week or so some people will forget about their troubles, don their best green clothing and enjoy some good times with friends and family.

I could dance an Irish jig thinking about my favorite drinks from Ireland, from the classic Guinness to various Irish whiskeys, I love them all the same...but what is a true St. Patrick’s Day celebration without the food?

The classic Irish beer is only part of overall food and drink experience to be found on St....
The classic Irish beer is only part of overall food and drink experience to be found on St. Patrick's Day.(WECT)

Back in September I wrote about our halfway point to St. Patrick’s Day, and highlighted the four-leaf clover that is The Harp in Wilmington. You can find that post here.

But there are plenty of other locations around the area to both wet your whistle and enjoy some fine Irish cuisine. One of them is The Joyce in Leland. Situated in The Villages in Brunswick Forest, at first glance, the Irish Pub inside a strip mall setting doesn’t seem like it could live up to it’s name. Leave your pretentions at the door and go inside, a bustling atmosphere will welcome you with plenty of bar and seating space.

I went mid-afternoon on a Saturday, and the dining area was fairly crowded with live music in the adjoining room. It was cold outside, and few things hit the spot better than a hearty bowl of Steak and Guinness Pie or Shepherd’s Pie (both of which The Joyce offers). There are a number of other classic Irish dishes as well, from Bangers and Mash to Fish & Chips, and some American creations like the Irish Mac & Cheese or the Irish Cheddar Burger.

On this visit, I quickly asked for a pint of perfectly poured Guinness, a Joyce Reuben sandwich and a Steak and Guinness Pie.

Layered with corned beef, sauerkraut, melted swiss cheese and tangy dressing, the pot of fries...
Layered with corned beef, sauerkraut, melted swiss cheese and tangy dressing, the pot of fries that come with the Joyce Reuben ensures you won't go home hungry.(WECT)

The Joyce Reuben boasts a hefty amount of house made corned beef, swiss cheese and sauerkraut between marbled rye bread. I always like to order a side of Thousand Island Dressing (no Reuben could ever have enough) but this sandwich was just right. It also comes with a mound of house cut fries (see picture) that were salted to perfection, but since you’re at an Irish Pub you might as well throw some extra salt and vinegar on them.

Rich, decadent, and packed with tender beef tips with root vegetables and topped with a puff...
Rich, decadent, and packed with tender beef tips with root vegetables and topped with a puff pastry, this Steak and Guinness Pie is charming and you'll be lucky to enjoy it.(WECT)

As for the Steak and Guinness Pie, this would have been a memorable dish no matter where I ordered it. The hearty, stew-like inside was oozing with flavor and you could tell this had the proper amount of time to really meld together. The freshly baked puff pastry on top was an eye-catching touch and helped soak up the beer-laden richness. I also ordered a side of mashed potatoes to go along with it and it only added to the overall experience.

With St. Patrick’s Day quickly approaching, I recommend giving The Joyce a try, and they are even planning a big St. Paddy’s Day celebration. Doesn’t that sound like the pot of gold at the end of whatever rainbow the last two years have been?

Don’t forget about some other prominent Irish Pubs around the area that demand your attention. Wilmington boasts The Harp, Paddy’s Hollow, Slainte and The Dubliner. Monkey Junction has Celtic Monkey (formerly Slainte) and Carolina Beach has local hangout HopLite Irish Pub & Restaurant. Sunset Beach is home to the popular Fibber McGees. I’ll put the locations below, but as you can tell, there is no shortage of places to get your St. Paddy’s Day fix, whether it’s food or drink. Also don’t forget to check out the St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade on Saturday, March 12 in Wilmington. Here are all the details you need.


The Joyce is located at 1174 Turlington Ave #101, Leland, NC 28451

The Harp is located at 1423 S 3rd St, Wilmington, NC 28401

Paddy’s Hollow is located at The Cotton Exchange, 10 Walnut St, Wilmington, NC 28401

Slainte is located at 7 N Front St, Wilmington, NC 28401

The Dubliner is located at 1756 Carolina Beach Rd, Wilmington, NC 28401

Celtic Monkey is located at 5607 Carolina Beach Rd STE 100, Wilmington, NC 28412

HopLite Irish Pub & Restaurant is located at 720 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428

Fibber McGees is located at 1780 Queen Anne # 1, Sunset Beach, NC 28468

Do you recommend a restaurant? Or know of a best kept secret that you want the rest of the Cape Fear to know about? Shoot me an email at and I would love to feature your selection. Cheers!

Copyright 2022 WECT. All rights reserved.