Breakfast at the Beach

A taste tour of morning cafés and eateries at Wrightsville Beach

BY Amanda Lisk

Adapt Kitchen and Juice Bar. Photo of bowl by Ian Tilghman
Adapt Kitchen and Juice Bar. Photo of bowl by Ian Tilghman


Ahh, summer mornings at Wrightsville Beach. By 7 a.m. the smell of breakfast is already in the air. Lines are forming outside Adapt for the health gurus, and at Tower 7’s side window for Café Del Mar breakfast burritos. At The Workshop, there’s a line for panini pressed breakfast sandwiches and coffee.

Across the Banks Channel bridge, loop walkers are stopping by Zeke’s for a breakfast bowl. Down at the South End, you can hear the car doors slamming almost in unison. It’s the surfers, many of whom will grab a bite from SUNdays before catching a wave.

These authentic, locally owned cafes, nooks, and cozy breakfast spots make coming to Wrightsville Beach quite tasty indeed. There’s a little something for everyone or, try them all! 

Breakfast Quick Bites

  • Adapt Kitchen and Juice Bar for healthy smoothies and pressed juices
  • Kohl’s Frozen Custard for weekend breakfast biscuits
  • Robert’s Grocery for breakfast biscuits, muffins and cinnamon rolls 
  • SUNdays Café for a laid-back breakfast with a view
  • The Workshop for hot pressed breakfast sandwiches
  • Tower 7 for weekend breakfast burritos
  • Zeke’s Beans and Bowls for acai bowls and coffee

Mid Morning Snacktime

  • Surfberry Café

Sit Down Casual Breakfast

  • Gulfstream Restaurant

Sit Down Waterfront/Oceanfront  Breakfast & Brunch

  • Bluewater Waterfront Grill
  • EAST Oceanfront Dining (located inside the Blockade Runner)
  • Oceanic
  • Oceans Restaurant (located inside Holiday Inn Resort)
  • Shell Island Resort Restaurant

Zeke’s Beans and Bowls

534 Causeway Drive

Photo by Allison Potter

There’s a line out the door at the cute blue and white stucco building next to Surf City. It’s Zeke’s Beans and Bowls, which draws customers from on and off the island.

“We have little kids that love our food and 70-year-olds that come every day, so that’s really cool, I like that, I want there to be something for everyone,” says the owner, Nick Cole.

Nick moved to Wrightsville Beach with his wife, Jenna, and their two sons in 2017 and opened Zeke’s just after Hurricane Florence. Its large variety of gluten- and dairy-free acai and poke bowls were an instant hit.

Zeke’s bowls are Hawaiian, Puerto Rican and Costa Rican inspired. There’s the “Brazil” acai bowl with kiwi, mango and honey. The “Madison’s Princess” acai bowl is covered in Nutella. The “beans” part of the name stands for coffee beans, of course. Cole recommends the nitro cold brew.

“It’s on another level,” he says. “It’s a 24-hour process of grinding, letting the grinds soak overnight, putting them into a keg of nitrogen and then it creates this creamy smooth, not bitter, just sooo good coffee.”

Breakfast egg bowls and pitas are served with Lizano salsa, imported from Costa Rica.

“When you go to Costa Rica, Lizano salsa is like ketchup is here in the U.S., it’s the best thing ever,” says Cole.  

Two of Cole’s friends started Zeke’s in Virginia Beach, then opened a second location in Norfolk, Virginia. The Wrightsville Beach franchise is number three. Zeke’s also serves a wide variety of smoothies, pressed juices, coffees and teas. 

“I spend a good majority of my time shopping for fresh produce to ensure the best taste and quality,” says Cole.

Adapt Kitchen and Juice Bar

32 N. Lumina Ave. (inside Robert’s Grocery)

Photo by Allison Potter

It’s OK if you don’t know what adaptogens are or what nutritionally dense means. Chris and Elie Curry, the husband-and-wife owners of Adapt Kitchen and Juice Bar, love telling their guests about the incredible benefits of the ingredients used in their recipes. 

“’How do you say that word and what does it do?’ is a question we get a lot,” laughs Chris Curry. 

Located inside Wrightsville Beach’s iconic Robert’s Grocery on Lumina Avenue, Adapt has a bright, modern, tropical style that contrasts nicely to the historic strand, blending old with new and providing an elevated level of healthy food and beverage. 

“We have people who visit from out of town, from bigger cities who seek us out,” Chris says. “They will say, ‘We’re so glad we found you, we’ll see you tomorrow.’ I love hearing that, never gets old.”

Adapt’s most popular items include their “So Fresh n’ So Green” superfood smoothie made with spinach, fruit, moringa and MCT oil. “The Alkalizer” pressed juice has rainbow chard and spirulina. The “Majik Mylk” elixir is named after its key ingredient, E3Live’s blue majik, good for the joints. Sourdough is used for the avocado smash toasts because it’s good for the gut.

“Nutrition is where to start, it’s what feeds your body and your cells and your microbiome gut health. Once you get those things in check, your body starts to respond and you feel better,” says Elie.

Chris and Elie Curry are surfers, have fathers who surfed competitively, and both grew up traveling to tropical locations, tasting the foods of the islands and learning about nutrients and how they work for the body along the way. The Currys brought Adapt to their home island of Wrightsville Beach in 2018. 

The Workshop

86 Waynick Blvd.

Photo by Allison Potter

From the fresh panini sandwiches on display behind a glass case, to the French accent of the owner, Audrey Longtin of Montreal, The Workshop is like a little escape to a European bistro. Sandwiched (no pun intended) between Kohl’s Frozen Custard, the Trolly Stop and Wings, The Workshop has early morning coffee, roasted on site, and hot-off-the-panini-press breakfast sandwiches.

“The sandwiches are amazing; you just have to try them once. It’s just so simple, so fresh, and so, so, so good. The press blends the flavors together perfectly,” Longtin says. 

The most popular pressed sandwiches are the bacon or ham egg and cheese croissant and lox on an everything bagel.

“We are busy from the moment we open, in the mornings it’s nonstop. We just celebrated five years in business, I can’t believe it,” Longtin says.

Longtin is a SCUBA diver, which explains the shark’s teeth necklaces also for sale. She finds the teeth at Wrightsville Beach, about 40 feet offshore and 80-120 feet down. Who knew a dive trip to Wrightsville Beach five years ago would turn into a permanent venture?

“I came for the beach and stayed for the people and great friends,” says Longtin.

Longtin renovated a space once used to store tools.

“That’s why I call it The Workshop,” says Longtin. “This spot didn’t even exist, there was no door, no address. A lot of people wouldn’t have started a business there. It definitely took some imagination. I just followed my heart.”

SUNdays Café 

708 S. Lumina Ave. B (atop South End Surf Shop)

Photo by Allison Potter

More than a coffee shop, SUNdays Café is a beloved hang out spot, the only coffee place at the South End where locals, tourists, college students, and even dogs enjoy relaxing every day of the week.

SUNdays sits atop South End Surf Shop across from Crystal Pier and has an incredible view of the ocean and the surf. The lights come on early in the morning, when coffee, smoothies, bowls and baked treats from local venders are served.

“A lot of surfers go out here at Crystal Pier, so we definitely have the surfers coming in for their pre-surf or post-surf coffee,” says SUNdays manager, Mary Kittleman.

The coffee is from local roaster Java State. Food items come from Spoonfed Kitchen and The Veggie Wagon. The most popular smoothies are “SESSions”, which stands for South End Surf Shop, and “The Webb,” named after the owner’s son. For the doggy customers, there are “Puppaccinos”.

“You’ll see dogs sprinting up the stairs. Sometimes we don’t know the people, but we know their dog,” laughs Kittleman.

SUNdays and South End Surf Shop, both owned by Wrightsville Beach native Jeff DeGroote, host community events and pop-up markets throughout the year.

“Just another way to bring everybody together,” says Kittleman.

The devoted customers are what make it special. Like the morning she opened the café after a rare snowstorm.

“The door was frozen shut, so I had all these regulars with their lighters trying to help me unlock the door,” she says. “We stayed open all day. It ended up being one of the best days. Stuff like that happens all the time, we’re so thankful for everyone.”

Tower 7

4 N. Lumina Ave.

Photo by Allison Potter

The Café Del Mar breakfast burritos are back by popular demand at Tower 7.

Yes, these are the same famed burritos of Tower 7’s morning café, Café Del Mar, that had to close due to COVID-19. 

“We had Café Del Mar here forever. People were constantly saying, ‘We are so sorry the café closed, we really miss the burritos, do you think you will bring the burritos back?’” says Tower 7 manager Valerie Safrit.

In response, Tower 7 has brought back six Café Del Mar breakfast burritos: rancheros, chicken, chorizo, sausage, bacon and veggie. Each are made with the same Baja-fresh, authentic Mexican street grill ingredients of Tower 7’s lunch and dinner menu and come with homemade picante and salsa.

“We all agreed this would be something we could easily provide for those who support us,” Safrit says.

Tower 7 launched the breakfast burritos over spring break, and they are now available for purchase at the restaurant’s side window on Saturday and Sunday mornings. 

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