Rebellion NC: Whiskey, beer, and burgers. Join the rebellion.

After he retired from the Navy, Brian Westlye wanted to create a place that he enjoyed hanging out. Somewhere with good food and good drinks.

After he retired from the Navy, Brian Westlye wanted to create a place that he enjoyed hanging out. Somewhere with good food and good drinks.

He first opened his restaurant and bar, Rebellion in Washington DC in 2014. Then he opened Rebellion NC in Wilmington four years later because he wanted to spend more time in the Cape Fear.

Westlye named the restaurants after the Whiskey Rebellion that took place in America from 1792 to 1794.

But he hadn’t always intended for the restaurants to have that name.

“The concept was the same, we had a different name in mind, and it just didn’t work out for us,” Westlye said. “So we went back to the drawing board, sat down with a bottle of bourbon and Rebellion was born.”

Westlye’s dad is a retired Navy veteran as well. He moved to Wilmington a number of years ago and Westlye and his wife fell in love with the area as well.

“[We] thought we could have a future down here but with that, we needed to have a business,” Westlye said. “We found this property for sale, purchased it in December 2017, began construction in 2018 and opened it in April 2018.”

Westlye has been involved in the restaurant business for about 18 years. Ever since he got out of the Navy.

Rebllion NC whiskey & bourbons.
Rebllion NC whiskey & bourbons.

“Went to boot camp in 1997. Then reported to tech school down in Pensacola, Florida where I was an aviation machinist’s mate. And then I was assigned to VAQ-209 in Washington D.C. Traveled a lot with them. Was in Italy during Kosovo. Got out of the Navy in 2001 and kind of have been doing this ever since.”

Falling into the restaurant business was kind of an accident for Westlye.

“It started out as a part time job when I was in the Navy. And just kind of blossomed into a career in the restaurant industry,” Westlye said. “I worked for other people for around 15 years before I decided it was time to step out on my own.”

At around 250 different types of whiskey, Rebellion has the second largest collection of whiskey in Wilmington, and that is quickly growing. But they also love to focus on the local beers.

“Wilmington, first and foremost is a beer town,” Westlye said. “All the local beers are extremely popular, and we make sure we have a very good representation from all the breweries here in town.”

As for food, burgers and wings are most customers’ go-to.

They work with a local butcher to create their own blend of patty so it is unique to the restaurant. And the wings are smoked for three hours before they get dropped in the fryer.

Westlye splits his time between his DC location and the Wilmington location but says his favorite part about both, is the people.

“Coming in, seeing people have a good time, in a place that we built is probably the most rewarding part.”

To check out more on Rebellion NC, click their link here.

For more Veteran owned business content, click here.


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