HUNGRY IN HAMSTEAD? HERE’S YOUR HELP
For all of you guys who vacation with us on Topsail Island and come to us via I-40 to Wilmington, I have some restaurants in Hampstead suggestions that will make you very happy.
By the time you get to Wilmington and take that turn north on Highway 17, you know you are almost to your seaside piece of heaven. You roll your windows down and take a big gulp of salty sea air, turn the radio up a notch and imagine yourself sprawled out on a lounge chair draped with a beach towel, looking out over the mighty, majestic Atlantic Ocean. You can smell the coconut suntan lotion on the breeze and feel the sun’s warm rays on your face as you lift up that cold drink in your hand when all of a sudden you hear a wail that brings you back to reality… “Daddy! I said I was hungry!”
You know you have about 45 minutes of driving to Topsail before you check into your nice digs. Then, you’ll have to unpack the car, sort out who will get what bedroom and then and head to the nearest grocery store to get you “necessities.” After that, you’ll have to come back to the beach house, unload the car and then put the groceries away and then cook up something to satisfy the crowd. It sounds so hard…
And this is where my suggestion comes in. Why not stop in Hampstead, that little town that flanks both sides of Highway 17 just south of Holly Ridge? It has some top-notch restaurants that will cure everybody’s hunger and set you on your way to finishing your trip without everyone complaining about being hungry.
The first one you’ll see is on the right: The Village Cafe. I personally love this restaurant! Its outside front patio, complete with tables and red umbrellas, is charming. The moment you walk in, you will notice that the dining room is casual, clean and fresh. A pleasant wait staff is there to greet and seat you. There’s a huge chalkboard on the back wall that informs you of daily specials and wine offerings.
Honestly, I’ve eaten there many times and each and every meal has been fabulous! Oftentimes, the accomplished chef comes out to greet the patrons and ask how you enjoyed the meal. You’ll know that the meal you’re enjoying has been made with careful pride. Stop by on your way to Topsail. Having a meal at The Village Cafe is a wonderful way to begin your vacation. My dining tip is order anything you wish on the menu. It’s all good!
The next suggestion I have for you is just across the street. The Burrito Shak is Hampstead’s newest “darling.” I have to admit, I haven’t had the chance to eat there, but everyone I know is talking and raving about how good it is. I was curious to see what all the hoopla was about so I stopped by there to do a bit of investigating. I was glad to be able to meet and talk with David Longo, the manager.
David, who has also been the chef at a few of Topsail Island’s best restaurants, knows a thing or two about keeping hungry patrons satisfied. He explained that his extra- casual Mexican restaurant was set up as a burrito bar, sort of like Chipotle Mexican Grill. You stand at the bar and tell the staff what you’d like on your burrito or your meal and they customize it to your liking. I examined the bar and was blown away by all of the fresh vegetables, meats, and sauces that were offered. If a fresh, flavorful, Mexican meal is what your family likes, then the Burrito Shak is a great way to kick off your Topsail vacation.
My third suggestion is down the street a bit (north) on the left side of the road. It’s Jebby’s on 17. This restaurant is also one of my all-time favorites. (How many favorites can a person have? Several obviously.) It’s a rather small sports bar with fabulous food. I’ve never had a bad meal there! Honestly! The food is fresh and hot and the drinks are always cold. I’ve always noticed that the wait staff is friendly and very efficient. My husband loves their burgers and sweet potato fries and I’m partial to their chicken pot pie. The fish and chips are always good and you should try their soups and the shrimp and grits. Oh well….everything on the menu’s good! You won’t be disappointed.
I hope these restaurants in Hampstead suggestions are useful to you and your family. Keeping your vacation time as stress-free as possible is a challenge but can be done. A restful meal in Hampstead at one of these restaurants may become part of your Topsail Island beach tradition.