In the ever-shifting landscape of Wilmington chefs, restaurants and food trucks, three Wrightsville Sound eateries have followed suit.
After nearly two years of owning Beach Bagels, Phil Santomassi decided to take a break from the bagel business. Patrons of the Wrightsville Avenue bagel shop need not worry about filling the bagel hole, however, as new owner Tony Di Norcia does not plan to make any drastic changes to operations.
“My wife and I have been working seven days a week for 22 months now so it was time for a break,” Santomassi said.
Santomassi hinted at returning to the Wilmington food scene after a break by possibly opening another bagel shop elsewhere in Wilmington.
Across Wrightsville Avenue in Lumina Commons, the former Incredible Pizza location’s transformation into Bessie and Guiseppe’s is now complete, and the burger and pizza joint opened Monday, July 21.
Owned by the King Neptune Restaurant team of Earl and Danny McPherson, Bessie and Guiseppe features signature pizzas, like roasted artichoke and spinach, and buffalo chicken with optional vegan cheese and gluten-free crust. Other offerings include calzones and Bessie Burgers, like the breakfast burger and southwest burger with patties made of certified Angus Beef ground chuck and sirloin.
While the McPhersons chose to open another brick and mortar restaurant, longtime 1900 chef Kirsten Mitchell decided to take her act on the road in the form of the Vittles food truck.
Regularly stationed behind Castle Branch’s new facility on Sir Tyler Drive for lunch Tuesday through Friday, Vittles also frequents Liberty Tavern on Wednesday nights, Fermental on Friday nights and Satellite Lounge on Sundays.
The inspiration for the food served at Vittles comes from an international palate and North Carolina ingredients, Mitchell said.
“I tried to take international inspirations and cook them with North Carolina ingredients,” Mitchell said. “For example, I am going to do a spring roll with collards, sweet potato, carrots and maybe a pepper jelly dipping sauce.”
Making the move from fine dining to food truck fare has been more difficult than Mitchell imagined.
“It is a lot more challenging than I thought it was going to be,” she said. “The awesome thing is, in a kitchen you can never really see outside and now we are outside all the time and our scenery is always changing.”
Other staples on the Vittles menu include homemade sweet potato fries, fried okra with Korean sauce, green curry BBQ sliders with kale slaw, BLTs and fried chicken sandwiches with pickles.
As for the name of her truck, Mitchell said it harkens back to a memorable childhood math teacher who would regularly announce lunchtime by proclaiming, “It’s time to eat your vittles!”