Wow. Just, wow.
It’s always a joy to write about recently opened restaurants who are doing something different, and executing their concept without a hitch. Spoonfed Kitchen and Bakeshop (SKB) is Eastwood Road’s newest eatery, run by industry veterans Kim and Matt Lennert. Their vision was to create a menu of “wholesome, delightful” eats to sustain folks heading down the street for an active day at the shore. After one meal at SKB, I’m here to say: They’ve knocked their mission out of the park.
The café’s menu plays out like an expert harmony of nourishing, delicious and fun ingredients. The Lennerts came from Illinois but obviously have adapted to (and taken on) Wilmington’s fixation with Southern fare. Well played—gotta know your audience. I started with a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit—a sandwich featuring a hand-ground patty, farm egg and aged cheddar. The biscuit wasn’t cakey or dense, but moist and feathery. Its buttery texture did cause it to crumble slightly, but I used my fork to scoop up every last morsel—and I’m more of an English muffin lover.
The sausage patty was thin with flavorful notes of pepper and sage. The fluffy egg was cooked perfectly and folded omelet-style. To wash it all down, I went for the homemade cold brew (which the cashier informed me the kitchen had been tweaking recently). Props for brewing the popular drink—something that could have been scored easily from a coffee shop in town. High-fives for the instant offer of coconut or almond milk in case half-and-half wasn’t my jam. And two very enthusiastic thumbs up for delivering a water (with or sans lemon) without my even having to ask.
As customers, when we know the food quality is high, we don’t mind shelling out a few extra bucks for the attention to detail. When the customer service meets those standards, it transforms first-timers into regulars. Successful restaurant owners know a guest’s experience is often half the battle, and I was as satisfied as could be.
I wanted to sample several other items on the tempting breakfast menu, so I went with both ends of the spectrum. My guilty pleasure: aged cheddar stone-ground grits with sautéed garlic greens, roasted tomatoes and fried eggs. I loved the nutritious addition of the greens and flavor bombs of juicy roasted tomatoes. The grits weren’t the diner-style, butter-doused version found at greasy spoons far and wide. The texture of the ground corn had a richer, more sophisticated flavor (scented with something inconspicuous like nutmeg, perhaps). They were topped with sharp, salty aged cheddar. I found it to be a fabulous, not overly heavy take on a Southern classic.
To feel better for purposefully aiming my spoon at the grit’s top layer of salty cheese, I capped off breakfast with Spoonfed’s seasonal granola. The invigorating bowl of locally drizzled honey and Carolina Farmhouse Dairy’s grass-fed yogurt was topped with fresh berries and homemade granola. Yes, SKB locally sources their yogurt. I thought that was the best part until I dug into the granola—big, chewy pieces of oats, shaved coconut, and nuts, expertly balanced with spices and salt. For a lighter option before hitting the sand, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Loophole alert: Customers who can’t decide between a morning or afternoon meal (and missed the weekend brunch) should pop in just before 11 a.m. for breakfast treats while waiting for lunch setup. I thought I ordered a porchetta sandwich, but either the cashier misheard or thought I said “pork sandwich.” I left with pulled pork on a brioche bun. I have two words, Spoonfed: “happy accident.” I was looking forward to sampling SKB’s version of porchetta (a boneless pork roast stuffed, rolled and roasted), but ended up with what I’m sure is their tak eon barbecue—something the region does not play around with. SPK, you did us quite proud.
The succulent mound of tender pork was smothered in a tangy, spicy sauce, and topped with a crunchy cabbage slaw. If there’s anything I typically knock (especially at a place where the majority of marks are an A+) it’s a lack of seasoning—but not here. Every bite of the sandwich was an eruption of flavor, and that includes the side of homemade Parmesan chips.
Crab cakes happen to be my comfort-food, death-row meal of choice, so I was elated to see them as an afternoon entrée. For $13, the dish came with two small-to-medium-sized patties over a crunchy fennel and Napa cabbage slaw. The crab cakes were a lovely mix of aromatics (onions, peppers, etc.) and charred pops of roasted corn. No-filler traditionalists—who prefer their cakes packed with jumbo lump meat and mayo, deep-fried, and served with cocktail sauce—may not be a fan. For diners wanting an elegant seafood lunch (with a legit creamy, citrusy lemon remoulade), SKB has it.
In addition to the kitchen’s adventurous, thoughtful creations, SKB boasts a small market with gourmet food and specialty items, like lavender-mint soap and artisan crackers. The pastry and takeout dinner cases are a bargain, too. Just get here before the word is out (and I eat all the pulled pork).