South Beach Grill, a fixture on the Wrightsville Beach dining scene for 22 years, celebrated a soft reopening earlier this week and is expected to reopen to the public officially this weekend, following several months of repairs in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
Owners John and Elaine Andrews experienced significant damage as a result of Florence’s heavy rains, and worked with FEMA-certified contractor John Buechele to ensure that the restaurant was 100 percent mold free prior to reopening.
The restaurant's business interruption insurance allowed the owners to pay their managers throughout the closure, and their general contractor was willing to allow their staff to participate in the remodel.
“The biggest hardship of all this was putting some of our best people out of work and losing them to our competition,” John Andrews said.
Customers will notice several changes in the dining room, from fresh paint and a raised, exposed ceiling lined with belt fans and vintage lighting, to a custom built bar made from a 300-year old oak that fell into Greenfield Lake and has been drying in a nearby barn for the past seven years. Upon entering, customers will be greeted by a four by six foot portrait of the Airlie Oak that was taken just after Hurricane Florence. Andrews said he was drawn to it because it is a symbol of resilience.
Andrews said he and chef Dwayne Hickman are in the final stages of tweaking the menu and preparing to open to the public. Hickman is new to South Beach Grill, having spent much of his career working in fine dining restaurants in Washington, DC.
“We’re taking our time with the hope that we’ll come out of the gates flawlessly,” John Andrews said.
Andrews described Hickman’s cuisine as having a southern flair with metropolitan polish.
“Reopening is a dream after a nightmare,” Andrews said. “And we’ve made it into an opportunity to better serve our customers. We hope to serve the community for another 22 years.”
South Beach Grill is located at 100 S. Lumina Avenue in Wrightsville Beach and will be open for dinner starting this weekend and through next week. Lunch and dinner service will follow, Tuesday through Sunday.
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