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Downtown eateries getting national attention

READ MORE: Downtown eateries getting national attention

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Hollywood East is not only a town for movies, but foodies. Food Network has expressed interest in several local restaurants.

It hasn't taken very long for the Front Street cupcakery Hot Pink Cake Stand to get national attention. Jody Carmichael and her staff have auditioned for "Cupcake Wars," a relatively new show on Food Network. Producers approached Carmichael about being on the show about one month after the store opened.

"I'm really hopeful we're going to get on," Carmichael said. "They've contacted us twice, and we haven't contacted them at all, so I hope that's a good sign."

Meanwhile across the street from Hot Pink Cake Stand, Caffé Phoenix will be featured in a Food Network Magazine article about where celebrities eat. Deluxe on Market Street will also be in the story. Caffé Phoenix owner Roy Clifton says everyone from the "One Tree Hill" gang to Danny Glover and the late Paul Newman have dined at his restaurant. The late Screengems Studio head Frank Capra Jr. even has his own chair at the bar, on which Clifton plans to put a plaque with his Capra's name on it.

"He always came in around one o'clock in the afternoon, sat down to read his New York Times and we became really good friends," Clifton said. "I treasure his memory as well as regret his loss."

Just around the corner to Grace Street, Sweet T's cakes has just finished taping an episode of "Food Network Challenge" in Colorado. Cake artist Taylor Ross was approached by a producer multiple times before agreeing to do the show. While Ross can't say if her shop took home the $10,000 top prize, she will say the exposure is great for business.

"The fact that they just called, I mean, every stage of the game, it was pretty nice to tell my clients that," Ross said. "It's good advertising. It lets people know that I'm here and what I do."

It's no secret to us locals that Wilmington has some great places to grub, but now with Food Network's interest, our secret is soon to be out.

We contacted a network representative about the publishing date, but we didn't get a response by news time. "Food Network Challenge" featuring Ross airs September 26.

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