'Seabird At Home' Introduces Fine Dining Dinner-for-two Takeout

By Scott Nunn, posted Jan 26, 2022
Chef Dean Neff and Lydia Clopton opened Seabird in spring 2021 on Front Street in downtown Wilmington. (Photo by Mallory Cash/contributed by Seabird)
The recent surge in COVID-19 cases has caused some people to shy away from sit-down restaurants again, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on great food.

One of Wilmington's top chefs, James Beard Foundation semifinalist Dean Neff, has launched Seabird at Home, a three-course menu for two created to be picked up and enjoyed at home.

With the Front Street restaurant regularly closed Tuesday-Wednesday, Neff and wife, Lydia Clopton, wanted to ensure diners could still enjoy a great meal in the middle of the week.

“This is Dean’s way of taking care of guests even when Seabird is closed, and delivering Seabird’s cuisine to the comfort of their home,” Clopton said in a news release.

It’s worth noting that those interested in having a Seabird meal at home don’t have to plan far ahead – the deadline to order is 3 p.m. Wednesdays, and the meals can be picked up between 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m.

Each three-course meal for two changes weekly, and although there are no substitutions, add-ons such as focaccia (a classic Italian bread) and soup will be available to purchase when picking up on a first-come, first-served basis. Suggested wines also can be purchased at pick-up.

The menu for Jan. 26 includes spinach Caesar salad with roasted shiitake mushrooms, croutons and green tomato slaw; smoked yellowfin tuna lasagna Bolognese with ricotta cheese and herbs; and Jim’s Olive Oil Cake with citrus and mascarpone for dessert. Price for the meal-for-two is $47, tax included.

Since opening last spring, Seabird has soared, winning praise not just for the food, but also for championing North Carolina’s sustainable fishing, aquaculture and farming practices. 

“We started Seabird at Home for a few reasons – to take care of guests who aren’t entirely comfortable dining indoors right now, to make Seabird accessible on a Wednesday – when our dining room is closed – and to give our team something new and creative to work on,” Neff said.

A once-a-week feature gives Neff and Seabird’s kitchen staff the opportunity to try new things that might not regularly appear on the menu.

“We’re creating new menus every week with food that we don’t necessarily think has a place on our ongoing menu but is really delicious and exciting to us – and travels well,” Neff said. “Each menu is created with the intention of being easily reheated for that night or the next day.”

And Seabird is not just for dinner – in a rare move for a fine-dining establishment, Seabird also is open for breakfast and lunch, open Thursday-Monday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., with savory dishes (including several oyster offerings) as well as pastries, coffee, espresso and a variety of teas. The restaurant reopens for dinner at 5 p.m.
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