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Real Estate - Commercial

In Midtown Wilmington, New Cafe Opens As National Retailer Prepares To Welcome Shoppers

By Cece Nunn, posted Sep 15, 2023
The Drift Cafe at Hanover Center includes a full menu of breakfast and lunch options, along with Drift's signature coffee and other drinks. (Photos courtesy of Drift)

The latest cafe from the owners of Drift Coffee + Kitchen is open at Hanover Center in Wilmington, serving breakfast and lunch and Drift’s signature coffee drinks.

At the same time, national retailer Homesense is preparing to open at the center, 3501 Oleander Drive, this month.

The Drift Cafe (pictured below) occupies the former Antonio’s Pizza & Pasta space at the center, which includes among its anchor tenants a Harris Teeter grocery store, Hobby Lobby, Office Depot and Books-A-Million.

Michael Powell, who owns Drift with his brother, Ben, said the Hanover Center Drift is their establishment’s sixth location but second full-service cafe plus coffee shop. 

“We’ve long wanted to be in that area of town. We feel like the guests we serve come from that area often to visit our Autumn Hall and Mayfaire locations,” Michael Powell said.

The first full-service Drift Cafe opened last year at Wrightsville Beach in the former Gulfstream Restaurant building at 114 Causeway Drive. 

The Hanover Center cafe’s menu is mostly identical to that of Wrightsville Beach, with fried chicken sandwiches, smash burgers and shrimp avocado bowls among its lunch offerings along with breakfast dishes such as Biscoff pancakes and the grain and eggs bowl – poached eggs, marinated kale, grilled halloumi, seasoned avocado, broccolini, herbed quinoa and watermelon radish.

“We don’t have cocktails yet but that will be in the next two or three weeks,” Michael Powell said Thursday.

The Hanover Center location has 25 seats outside and 65 inside. Michael Powell said the reception so far in its first couple of weeks of opening has been good.

He said, “I think when Homesense, our neighbor, opens up we’ll see a bit more walk-up traffic from that.”

Homesense, a discount apparel and home decor store from the same company as TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, is set to host a grand opening from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 28, according to the chain’s website. The store is occupying 24,000 square feet in the former SteinMart space at Hanover Center.

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