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WORKIN’ IT: The Workshop WB turns out killer smoothies, strong espresso and sandwiches

Shark teeth and lavender lattes? I’m in. Are you?

SIP AND SHOP: Bacon, egg, cheese, and spinach croissant with a lavendar-honey latte was a fresh edition to a chicken and goat cheese panini with Mangodon smoothie at The Workshop. Photo by Tom Dorgan

Diners who make their way over the final beach bum-bombarded bridge toward Lumina Avenue should hang a right after the light. The usual suspects await: Wings, Trolly Stop, South Beach Grill. Take a peek at what lies beneath—well, between, in this case—to find tucked away off of Waynick Boulevard is The Workshop WB. The semi-new spot focuses on fossils and frappes. With a team of local scuba divers behind the scenes, it seems natural for them to partner with (sister company) Era Jewelry and Design to make their underwater finds into something beautiful. And they continue to evolve: The specialty shop recently took a leap from simply serving high-quality espresso beverages to the world of sandwiches and smoothies, too.

The Workshop’s vibe is a loud, eclectic mix of hip retail and modern coffee (with a side of bikinis and flip flops, and P.S.: emphasis on the word “loud”; when my fiancé called, he asked if I was at a dance club). Those looking for a quiet place to concentrate might want to search elsewhere. This beach-inspired hangout is small (one big table and a few bar seats), but keep in mind it’s a lively environment meant for catching up with friends—not work.

As far as smoothie menus go around town, Workshop immediately rises to the top of my list. I often find myself wanting to combine several options to create a healthy snack that appeals to all senses. Workshop’s combinations are so impressive, I took nearly 10 minutes to narrow down my order. The barista led me through the creamy, fruity, and to her personal fave. I was pumped to see ingredients like turmeric, dates, mint, coconut, and granola scattered across the chalkboard. Coffee-lovers, surfer dudes and kale freaks unite!

I landed on the Mangodon (clever, Workshop, I see what you did there) to start while I waited on the rest of my order. The fruity concoction was a blend of mango, peach, banana, strawberry, coconut, honey, pineapple, and apple juice. That may sound like a mouthful, but I respect a place aiming to please when it comes to the perfect medley of flavors. (Shhh—I even added kale.) Each sip was sweet and slightly tart with an afterbite of coconut shavings. Super refreshing. I also can’t help myself when it comes to turmeric and ordered one of those bad boys to go. With ingredients like mango, banana, cinnamon, ginger, and coconut milk, I expected it to be overpoweringly spicy, aromatic, and not the best for a hot day. Wrong. This foamy yellow-ish beverage was light and lovely in every way. The mango and coconut milk gave it a tropical essence, while the cinnamon gave it warmth. Smoothie game completely on point here, Workshop.

I wasn’t overly impressed with the sandwich selection. My research had me hoping for artisanal and made-to-order snacks, as opposed to panini-pressed and out of a cold case. Logistically, this might be the most efficient way for them to put out food—but I wasn’t as drawn in as I had hoped. In some ways, the display reminded me of a quick-serve airport restaurant; yet, the sandwiches took some time.

I started with chicken and goat cheese, on a pressed square ciabatta-like roll. Also on deck between the bread was spinach, red onions, capers, and sundried tomatoes. The chicken tasted pre-packaged, but I don’t have confirmation on whether it was. The goat cheese was fresh and the sundried tomatoes were tangy and acidic. This made for a nice mix, but the sandwich overall was average.

I read one of Workshop’s goals was serving great food with a French flair. Although there was a Brie, turkey and caramelized onion sandwich, I think something like “a casual spin on French fare” might have put my expectations in the right place.

I got Caprese to-go and unwrapped it as soon as I returned to the car. It was surprisingly messy (overflowing with balsamic and tomatoes) and felt more like comfort food than a light dish. Between the thickness of the bread and the slippery amounts of mozzarella, I commend it for being a good vegetarian option, but that’s about it.

Suddenly … alas! The breakfast sandwich saved the day. I hoped at least one of the vehicle options for my breakfast sandwich was homemade, and Workshop says they bake almond croissants fresh in the morning. I didn’t try the bagel, but the pressed croissant melted in my mouth like butter. Although the sandwiches are stacked in the display case, I was told the eggs are made to order. Of all the food I sampled, the thin crispy bacon, melty cheese, egg, and spinach croissant was unbelievably satisfying. And FYI: I ate it last, so it wasn’t just a case of the hangries. 

Just as with the smoothie menu, Workshop’s caffeine selections are superb. The cold brew with coconut water and signature Bullet Proof (house blend, cinnamon, organic butter, coconut oil, and raw sugar) were wildly tempting—mostly because I don’t believe I’ve spotted either anywhere else. They had me, however, at “Lavender + Honey Latte.” I opted for almond milk, which gave it an extra oomph of luxuriousness, and it was flavorful and rich, which I don’t find often outside of major chains.

Although I was slightly underwhelmed by the sandwiches, the smoothies, strong espresso, and rad collection of handmade jewelry were worth the stop.

The Workshop in Wrightsville Beach
86 Waynick Blvd.
Monday-Sunday, 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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