Cape Fear Foodie: Cheers with a Second Glass

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The holiday season, a time to be with friends and family and those you love. It also offers the opportunity for a fresh start, as the fading year ends and gives way to another calendar of infinite possibilities. The figurative chance at new beginnings had a more literal meaning this year, as many of my friends and neighbors will soon be moving on. So we wanted a place to eat where we could celebrate while enjoying quality food and drinks.

Of course there is no shortage of such locales around Wilmington, but one place that’s always provided a top quality experience is The Second Glass in South Front.

Given its name, The Second Glass is known for it’s far-reaching wine selection, and each menu item comes with a wine pairing suggestion. It’s a central part to owner Celeste Glass’ mission and if you’re a wine lover, this is the spot for you. There are also carefully chosen local craft beers or international brews and an inventive list of cocktails to match any taste.

Though given the time of year, give the Aged Eggnog a try. Made with rum, bourbon, and cognac, this housemade concoction is a specialty of Chef Ryan O’Janpa. It’s topped with a touch of nutmeg and candied orange garnish to make it extra Instagram-worthy. Not as heavy as store-bought eggnogs, it’s a great drink to bring on those warm fuzzies of Christmas and a non-traditional appertif before your meal.

As for the food, most of it is locally sourced and the menu is frequently evolving and innovative but also includes several classics that you must try.

Duck fat fingerling potatoes with duck fat mayo for dipping. Each potato is perfectly crispy and salty and is offset by the rich creaminess of the mayo.

The housemade pimento cheese and savory flatbread crackers is a vintage Southern appetizer and is about as good as you’re going to get in town.

Don’t pass over the chicken liver mouse pate with mostarda, house pickles, tapenades and crostinis. The pate is so airy and rich that I could simply order this and be content.

And that doesn’t even cover a variety of other appetizers and small plates ranging from beef tartare to ceviche made with black sea bass grown at UNCW.

The dinner options at The Second Glass are typically outstanding and our recent visit held up to the standard of old.

An order of Joyce Farms Duck Confit with black rice and white cheddar risotto, seared greens and a cherry demi glace was excellent. The duck was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, just the way it should be. The risotto may have been the best thing I ate all evening, it was that tantalizing. Kudos to Chef O’Janpa for this dish.

The Brasstown Beef Filet Mignon should not be overlooked either. Served with pommes aligot (fancy cheesy mashed potatoes), broccolini, mushrooms, lardon and shallot jam...the filet was cooked to perfection with a lovely mustard demi glace. The beef is melt-in-your-mouth good and those who ordered it were protecting their plates from potential poachers (for good reason).

If you’re looking to share a plate, go for the Humble Roots Farm Fried Half Chicken. It’s a mound of fried chicken placed on top a heap of mac and cheese and braised greens. It’s more than two people can eat and clocks in at a very reasonable $35.

The Second Glass also boasts various soups, salads, fresh seafood and vegetarian options. There really is something for everyone with any appetite. Maybe that’s why it’s a good place to meet up with friends young and old, just as my neighbors and I have done for years. Here’s to 2022, the promise of new experiences to come and the hope for a return visit to The Second Glass in the near future.


The Second Glass is located at 1540 S 2nd St #110, Wilmington, NC 28401

Do you recommend a restaurant? Or know of a best kept secret that you want the rest of the Cape Fear to know about? Shoot me an email at and I would love to feature your selection. Cheers!

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