WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– A Wilmington restaurant is getting some national attention. In October, Salt Works II was picked by the Food Network for its show “Restaurant: Impossible,” which airs tonight at 10 p.m.
It all started when Salt Works II owner, Mike Thyberg responded to a newspaper ad looking for struggling restaurants.
Several restaurants in North Carolina responded to the ad, but the Food Network decided on the long-time Wilmington eatery. Thyberg had only owned the restaurant for a few months when chef Robert Irvine and his crew came in with a budget of $10,000 and 36 hours to renovate and reinvent the Port City icon.
The front of the building was repainted, and a new wood bar was installed along with updated light fixtures and ceiling fans.
“The biggest change is fresh food,” says Thyberg. “It’s all fresh food. You know, getting rid of all the canned food. Cans were killing us. It was money just sitting on the shelf that we couldn’t use.”
Now, vegetables are cut daily, soups and desserts are made in house, and new items were added to the menu. Thyberg says initially some of the regulars were skeptical of the transformation, but in the long run, it has paid off. Several new faces are coming into Salt Works II.
“This was a tryout,” says Salt Works II first timer, Sieny Vanvoorst. “It’s a good place to have lunch or dinner.”
Though the restaurant has been updated and tweaked, those who know and love it say some things will always stay the same.