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The Taste Of Wrightsville Beach Crowns This Year's Winners

By Kyle Hanlin, posted Nov 8, 2023
Contestants from Drift Coffee pose for a photo during the Taste of Wrightsville Beach. (Photo courtesy of Taste of Wrightsville Beach)
The annual Taste of Wrightsville Beach brings together the beach town’s – and across-the-bridge neighboring area’s – favorite eateries to raise funds and awareness for Weekend Meals on Wheels of New Hanover County.  
 
“We are extremely involved in the community and it’s the basis of why we do what we do, being philanthropic,” said Trish Weber, general manager of Waterman’s Brewing. 

“This (event) is Wrightsville Beach showing up, and we love knowing that we are delivering to the Wrightsville Beach crowd. Waterman’s was built around kind of being ‘Cheers,’ a central hub to the Wrightsville Beach area and providing a space where everyone feels comfortable when they walk in.” 
 
Each iteration of the event crowns champions in several categories, giving participating restaurants and breweries a feather in their caps and yearlong bragging rights. In its 10 years, The Taste of Wrightsville Beach has become a way for new establishments to make a name for themselves, as well as for mainstay local favorites to advance their reputations. 
 
Entrants can earn awards from a panel of celebrity judges, as well as The People’s Choice Awards, voted by attendees giving their allotments of poker-chip drop box votes at entrants’ tables. This year’s celebrity judges included Chef Lori Eaton, Jason Frye, Allison Ballard, Randy “Biscuit Sensei” Rose and Chef Jessica Cabo. 
 
Celebrity Judges’ Winners 
Overall Best Savory 

Winner - Blockade Runner East: Grilled crab and oyster stew with flounder baccala, sticky rice, lemon-fresno sauce purple cabbage 
Runner-up - Green House: Smoked lion’s mane with potato terrine and lomo jus
 
Overall Best Sweet 
Winner - Waterman’s Brewing: Apple tartlet with brie, bacon, butterscotch and bourbon caramel sauce
Runner-up - Drift: Buttermilk pancake with a smoked maple Biscoff pancake, house-made strawberry jam and honey comb candy
 
Best Tasting Savory 
Winner - Poe’s Tavern: Pimento cheese sliders with house-made BBQ sauce and roasted garlic bleu cheese sliders topped with grilled shrimp
 
Best Tasting Sweet 
Winner - Drift: Buttermilk pancake with a smoked maple Biscoff pancake, house-made strawberry jam and honey comb candy
 
Best Presentation Savory 
Winner - Oceanic: Seared sea scallops with pumpkin grit cake, roasted chili cream and toasted pumpkin seeds
 
Best Presentation Sweet 
Winner - Drift: Buttermilk pancake with a smoked maple Biscoff pancake, house-made strawberry jam and honey comb candy
 
Most Creative Savory 
Winner - King Neptune: Tuna poke “taco” – sushi grade yellowfin tuna with ponzu, sesame, cucumber, avocado-wasabi mousse and spicy chili sauce
 
Most Creative Sweet 
Winner - Waterman’s Brewing: Apple tartlet with brie, bacon, butterscotch and bourbon caramel sauce
 
People’s Choice Winners 
People's Choice Savory 
Winner - King Neptune: Tuna poke “taco” – sushi grade yellowfin tuna with ponzu, sesame, cucumber, avocado-wasabi mousse and spicy chili sauce
 
People's Choice Sweet 
Winner - Nothing Bundt Cake: Delicious bites of carrot cake crowned with signature butter cream cheese frosting
 
People's Choice Beer 
Winner - Waterman’s Brewing 
 
People's Choice Wine 
Winner - Windham Distributing 
 
People's Choice Spirit 
Winner - Mellow Mushroom 
 
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