Porches Cafe

Porches Cafe in Wilmington NC

No doubt that a week at the beach is good for body, mind and soul. The salt air, the calming sunset and now Porches Cafe. Tucked inside Castle Hayne’s River Bluffs community, Porches is a feel-good escape open to the public.

Fresh fare is prepared with ingredients plucked from River Bluffs’ own 10-acre organic farm. Chef Erin Wiley uses the bounty to create irresistible salads and sandwiches. Wiley has earned big respect from top Wilmington chefs. She’s been instrumental in the success of some of the city’s best restaurants, including Rx and Pembroke’s.

The southern California native tasted her way through parts of Europe and attended the prestigious San Francisco Culinary Academy, where she concentrated on classical French cuisine. From there, she was off to Chile, where she helmed stoves at Portillo, one of the world’s top ski resorts. She returned to San Francisco for a while and then made her way to the Carolina coast. You’ll be glad she did when you taste how even the simplest dishes wow thanks to Wiley’s expert skills.

Take her Mr. Mitchell vegetarian sandwich for instance. Roasted eggplant, portabello mushroom, red peppers, onion, romaine, pepperoncini aioli and feta cheese meld on a Cuban roll. You will not miss the meat.

You’ll want a whole tub of the rich pimento cheese Wiley makes for the Southern Staple, also stacked with smoked ham, okra pickles and, get this, bacon jam on sourdough bread. Specialty and build-your-own salads come with from-scratch dressings including Thousand Island and roasted tomato vinaigrette, either of which would be delightful on the shaved kale salad with carrots, golden raisins, avocado, almonds and feta.

Comfy rocking chairs furnish the big porch at Porches Cafe. Sit and sip beer, wine, coffee or a healthful smoothie there or by the fireplace. No matter where you choose, you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous nature and friendly folks. Porches is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

For more information visit http://porchescafe.com/