by Donna Byrd
If you haven’t yet had the chance to dine at Hap and Susanne Alexander’s restaurant, Sears Landing Grill and Boat Dock, get in your car and head over there now or put it on your list of “things to do.” Better yet, if you’re out boating, take a breakfast, lunch or dinner break from your water adventures! They have a beautiful boat dock with plenty of room.
Located on the mainland side in Surf City, right before you cross over the swing bridge, Sears Landing Grill and Boat Docks offers not only some of the best (as Hap would put it) “Southern Coastal Casual” cuisine in Surf City or the Topsail Island area, but also some of the most spectacular views of the docks and marshes on the Intracoastal Waterway.
As a matter of fact, Sears Landing has a bit of Topsail Island legend attached to it. According to Hap, a very long time ago, an ambitious pirate, by the name of Sears, left his ship and came over to the mainland to open a trading post right on the very site the restaurant is today. He also operated a pole barge to ferry people across the narrow, shallow bit of water to the island known as Topsail Island. Eventually, his business spot became known as “Sears Landing” and is still called that today. Hap says his restaurant’s name is born from tradition and history.
Sears Landing Grill and Boat Docks boasts two dining areas: the enclosed dining room, with a bank of windows that flank the dock side for fabulous water views, and the deck-dining area, my favorite, that is open year round. In the summer, it’s windows are opened wide and the air is cooled by big ceiling fans and hopefully a gentle sea breeze. In the winter, it offers the same vibe but has clear, plastic window coverings so that you won’t miss the great view. A long porch with rocking chairs runs the length of the back so that you can relax and enjoy the view while sipping on a drink made at the well stocked bar on the deck.
Wednesday, Bill, had the day off and we decided to drive down the beach to have lunch at Sears Landing. I was in the mood for the tuna salad melt, which is grilled sashimi grade, Yellowfin Tuna, made into a tasty tuna salad. It was served on grilled sourdough bread with lettuce tomato, cheese and onion. I always order fried plantains on the side. It never disappoints me! Bill ordered a big, mouth watering cheeseburger and fries.
We forgot about our problems, time and space as we chowed down on great food while oohing and aahing over the views. It happens every time we eat there: we get transported to heaven!
I asked Trey, a long time server, what was their best selling sea food dish. He told me that it was the “catch of the day,” which is usually mahi, red snapper or wahoo. Popular southern side dishes are cheese grits, collards, fried green tomatoes and plantains (I can vouch for them all!)
I took a picture of the great bar area for you. Trey said the most popular drink asked for is the Sears Landing Mojito. The restaurant has its own mint patch so the drinks have the freshest mint available. I’ve never had one of those but I’ll have to try one next time I go! They have premium brand liquors, craft beers and nice wines too.
Fresh, local seafood and produce are used as much as possible and I love to watch the waitstaff as they hurry by my table, taking heavy trays laden with scallops, shrimp, tuna, oysters, soft shell crab and whatever else the sea has to offer, out to hungry guests. If you’re there for breakfast, try the country ham and grits or the shrimp and grits, made especially to satisfy your southern taste buds.
Since I discovered that a pirate legend is attached to Sears Landing, it made me wonder whether or not Sears, the pirate, could have been the cook on the pirate ship on which he sailed. Maybe he brought his cooking magic to that little spot by The Intracoastal Waterway in the 1700’s and left it there for the cooks today. There’s something magical about everything served up at his old hangout, Sears Landing!
Sears Landing Grill and Boat Docks is located at:
806 Roland Ave., Surf City, NC 28445
Open 7 days a week
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.