Chef James Smith has uncorked news of his latest restaurant venture, announcing specifics of his second Fork n Cork location. The eatery, which Smith says could open in about a year, will be at 102 Cape Fear Blvd. in Carolina Beach.
“It’s between the Hampton Inn and the [Courtyard by] Marriott,” Smith said Friday, adding that the restaurant will occupy the ground floor of a new building that will be developed by Town Place Islander LLC.
Smith said he believes that Carolina Beach is the right place to replicate his successful American food concept at 122 Market St. in downtown Wilmington.
“Carolina Beach has grown quite a bit in the last few years. It’s coming up; people are moving down there,” he said. “We just want to be part of it. And this gives me the opportunity to do something different.”
A little different, anyway. Smith explained that, while the second Fork n Cork will offer the same menu as the original, he plans to add a few new entrées.
In addition to Fork n Cork, Smith owns and operates Smoke on the Water restaurant in RiverLights and Texas-style barbecue restaurant Bone & Bean on Carolina Beach Road.
Above Fork n Cork at 102 Cape Fear Blvd. will be three floors of condos, totaling 12 units, said developer Matt Murphy. Murphy, who owns the land, is an owner of both Town Place Islander LLC and SECOF Construction, which will build the structure.
Murphy said he has already met with local officials and will pursue the necessary permits in the next 30 days. Since his project is a permitted use in that location, he does not anticipate difficulties.
“We’re looking at a six-month construction period,” he said. Allowing Smith a couple of months to upfit the 2,500 square feet of restaurant space after construction is finished, and time to staff up and settle in, Murphy believes that an early spring 2019 opening of Fork n Cork is very realistic.