Good Eats - Hampstead, Topsail, Surf City
We have the beach. We have the forests. We have the Intracoastal.
And we have the food.
For 3 small towns, we have an incredible variety of restaurants. 99% of these restaurants are locally owned and operated, although not all were noted as such. To be clear, this is NOT an exhaustive list. There are still more great restaurants in this community! But I asked 20 locals to tell me their top 3 restaurants here, and these are the results.
The results have been sectioned into lunch and dinner, coffee shops, and treats. I made just a few quick but good to know notes about each place, along with an item you must try there.
LUNCH & DINNER
Burrito Shak 15489 U.S, Highway 17 North, Hampstead, NC
Burrito Shak is a local favorite and was listed as #1 by 90% of the locals surveyed. Great for healthy eating and picky eaters, it's sort of like a more delicious and creative Chipotle. Owners are local and very involved.
Must try: Shak Tacos
The Bistro 602 Roland Ave, Surf City, NC
Gorgeous views, featured in a list of top restaurants with great views that appears in Forbes magazine. Must try the crab dip. Upscale dining.
Must try: Crab dip
Chug & Grub
13500 NC Highway 50 suite 107, Surf City, NC
An American Gastro Pub. The name says greasy bar food, but the menu is actually quite varied and has fun surprises, like lamb chops. Draft beers and cool cocktails.
Must try: Totchos
107 North Shore Drive, Surf City, NC
I mean, it's tacos. Need I say more? Food stand - no inside dining. Take your delicious tacos home or the beach or enjoy on the patio.
Must try: Whatever the (super unique) taco special is
17230 US Hwy 17N Suite 124
Only local sushi restaurant with at least 1.2 billion sushi roll options. Very popular with the locals and with good reason. Great for large groups.
Must try: Judy Roll
602 Roland Ave, Surf City, NC
Not only delicious pizza, they are really involved in the community, often hosting fundraisers for various nonprofits and local's affected by tragedy. Big fan!
Must try: Cheese Pizza
Hibachi to Go
15248 US-17, Hampstead, NC
Quick, delicious, and lots of healthy options. Budget friendly and only available via drive through.
Must try: Sweet & Spicy Chicken
Surf City BBQ
13500 NC-50 #111, Surf City, NC
Vinegar based BBQ and traditional southern cuisine. Owners are local and awesome. They cater and have some of the friendliest staff EVER.
Must try: Redneck Nachos
Jebby's on 17
15831 US Highway 17 N, Hampstead, NC
Delicious bar food, plus a few more unique plates. The onion rings are everything. Local seafood. Small space and very loud, so it's fun for a night out or energetic dining.
Must try: Onion Rings
Beach Shop and Grill
701 S Anderson Blvd, Topsail Beach, NC
Fresh seafood, great wine list, and yummy food. Upscale dining on the island.
Must Try: Lobster Mac-n-Cheese
7 South Hampstead Village Drive, Hampstead, NC
Casual, delicious. Mostly typical diner food. Excellent specialty meals for special events and holidays (Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, etc.). Local owners. Good for large groups and birthday meal gatherings. Local owners & serves Sugar Island desserts (to die for).
Must Try: Grilled Balsamic Chicken
Hopsail Food Truck
2660 NC Highway 210 E, Ste 105, Surf City, Nc
It's a food truck just off a full service bottle company with loads of beers on tap. It's unique and it's awesome. The truck stays parked by Hopsail. Perfect place to bike to if you live on the island.
Must try: Philly Chz Steak
17230 US-17 #102, Hampstead, NC
Highway 55 is chain and burger joint, but they need a mention just because they do so much for the community. Budget, family, and large group friendly. They hold pancake breakfasts and fundraiser lunches all the time, always willing to do what they can to help nonprofits and locals who have experienced tragedy.
Must Try: Frozen Custard
The Daily Grind 208 N New River Dr Ste F, Surf City, NC
Their drink list is colossal, and the drinks are delicious. The owner has a knack for remembering customers and really cares about their satisfaction with their beverages. Local owners. Second location called The Daily Grind 2. Interesting note - the owner just became a councilman in Surf City.
Must try: Milk Way
Port City Java
14280 US, Highway 17, Hampstead, NC
Great coffee selections and a drive through window. This is where all the work-from-home-but-prefer-to-be-with-others people spend their days, so the atmosphere is always bustling and fun. Locally owned. The young staff is awesome.
Must try: Turkey Apple Bacon Wrap
206 N Topsail Dr, Surf City, NC
Heaven on your lips. I'm not kidding. Every single thing here is beyond delicious. Locally owned & operated. Along with all the sweets, there is beer, coffee, used & new books, a train table, and loads of locally crafted goodies, carefully curated and displayed in fun new ways every time you visit. The sweet woman who mans the counter has the cheer of an angel and the patience of a saint (she just laughs when kids ding the bell & pound the piano).
Must try: Cinnamon rolls, macaroons, coffee cake.... EVERYTHING
Burney's Sweets & More
14542 US Hwy 17, Hampstead, NC
Croissants + glaze + flavored fillings = yum. So many flavors. You will be obsessed and no, you can't eat just one. It's impossible. Also has delicious cakes, cupcakes, bread pudding, and lunch items too. Locally owned & operated.
Must try: Chocolate croissant
303 S Topsail Dr, Surf City, NC 28445
Hot donuts. Pick your topping. Combinations are endless. Sit on the picnic table out back while you eat and enjoy the water view. Locally owned and operated.
Must try: Maple bacon