Wilmington ranked among Top 50 cities to open a restaurant

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Wilmington ranks in the Top 50 cities in the country to open a restaurant. (Photo: Matt Bennett/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington has been ranked among the top 50 cities in the country to start a restaurant, according to a new study. So what is it that makes the Port City so desirable?

“It has all the charm of Savannah or Charleston, I think people are kind of discovering that now and it’s growing accordingly,” said Dean Neff, former owner of PinPoint Restaurant in Wilmington.

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It’s no secret Wilmington has a wide selection of restaurants to choose from.

“You’ve got Platypus & Gnome, Copper Penny, which has been an absolute staple here, you’ve got Beer Barrio,” said Wilmington resident Brian Zinkham.

“Dram and Morsel right here, Yosake, there’s a lot of wonderful places here to eat,” said resident Pam Greenleaf.



A new report by BidOnEquipment.com ranks Wilmington in the top 50 cities in the country to start a restaurant.

“I travel quite a bit, I fly all the time, and I have people sitting on airplanes next to me that are coming here to start a restaurant,” said Wilmington resident George Greenleaf.

Based on restaurant sales per capita, restaurants per capita, industry workers per capita, and median income, the Port City lands at number 29 on the list.

“As more restaurants open, it’s a good thing. There’s more cooks looking to come and work in great restaurants,” said Neff.

“The George, The Pilot House, Elijah’s, you want some great seafood right on the water? There it is,” said Zinkham.

And it seems in downtown Wilmington, there is a certain comradery among restaurant owners that isn’t the case everywhere.

“Moving to town, a new town and opening a restaurant, people were really nice to us. Restaurant owners would come in and be like, ‘if you need anything let us know,’ and everyone kind of stuck by that,” said Neff.

“There’s a community down here with the restaurant owners, a lot of us know each other and we found ourselves welcome to it. There wasn’t competition or anything like that,” said Rebellion owner John Bradley.

Ranked number one on that list is Arlington, Virginia, and ranked last is Providence, Rhode Island.

The top fifty cities were narrowed down from a list of 236.