Cape Fear Foodie: Elijah’s
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Since moving to Wilmington three years ago, it’s odd to me that I haven’t had many visitors. Granted the pandemic, inflation, and wallet-busting gas prices have all played a part in the reluctance to travel. That’s why when my sister and her friends came in town for her birthday (Happy Birthday Cassidy), I knew I had to pull out all the stops. Luckily, she’s a big fan of Wilmington-based television shows One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek, so my work was already cut out for me.
One of her requests was to eat at “Pacey’s Icehouse.” Pacey as in Pacey Witter from Dawson’s Creek, but what was his “Icehouse.” A quick Google search later, and bingo, the “Icehouse” is Elijah’s along the waterfront, a place I have eaten at several times, though strangely never wrote about. Needless to say, I rectified that when our group visited the Port City mainstay.
That area of the waterfront is steeped in history, and even the Pilot House and Elijah’s are some of the oldest continuously operating restaurants in Wilmington. Opened in 1984, it both offers a traditional southern seafood restaurant feel, while giving you a glimpse of what life was like in the once-sleepy river town. I will say there is no better time to come here than right around sunset, where the pink, purple, and orange hues fill the sky as boats roll by with the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge in the background...it’s simply enchanting.
Once we soaked in the scenery, my sister and her friends were eager to dig into seafood, and we opened our account with an order of the crab dip and some fried calamari. Rich, creamy, and full of crab meat, the dip is served with crostinis and is meant to share...though I would have rather been greedy and kept it to myself. The calamari is your typical fare, though satisfying nonetheless. There are loads of seafood-oriented appetizers on the menu, from “Oysters Rockefeller”, to “Steamed Mussels with Chorizo” and even “Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche.”
There are also plenty of salads, sandwiches and entrees to choose from too. I always recommend the “Cape Fear Stuffed Shrimp,” which consists of jumbo shrimp, stuffed with crab meat, herbs, and a rice and quinoa mixture, served with a side of vegetables. It’s an Elijah’s staple and Instagram-worthy.
The “Blackened Mahi Over Linguine” is another eye-catching dish, with a large fish filet, sautéed shrimp, and a luscious homemade parmesan alfredo sauce.
However, no introductory trip to Wilmington is complete without a sampling of “Shrimp and Grits.” The unofficial dish of Southern coastal towns, this version is a little different from others you will find. The plate comes with a white herb sauce that boasts mushrooms, peppers, lemon and garlic as opposed to the typical red, tomato-based sauce.
The food didn’t disappoint, then again sharing a meal with family and friends alongside a beautiful setting always helps. If you’re looking for a seafood-forward restaurant in downtown Wilmington, swing by Pacey’s Icehouse...err Elijah’s and snag an outdoor table along the Riverwalk. There’s a reason why this place has been a staple for nearly four decades, and likely will be for years to come.
IF YOU GO:
Elijah’s is located at 2 Ann St, Wilmington, NC 28401
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 email@example.com and I would love to feature your selection. Cheers!
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