The Purple Onion Café, a Brunswick County favorite

Terry Bland and her husband Andrew opened one of Brunswick County’s favorite restaurants almost 17 years ago after moving to the area from Boone.

FEEDING THE FEARLESS: Every Wednesday for the next four weeks, we will be highlighting a different local restaurant in the Cape Fear Region for a segment called Feeding the Fearless. Corning Credit Union will then buy a $100 gift card from that restaurant and donate it to a different team of medical professionals each week. This week’s gift card will be going to the brave men and women of Brunswick County’s Emergency Medical Services department.


Terry Bland and her husband Andrew opened one of Brunswick County’s favorite restaurants almost 17 years ago after moving to the area from Boone.

The couple opened The Purple Onion Café on Main Street in Shallotte in 2004 and they have been happily serving locals and visitors alike ever since.

The Purple Onion is a breakfast and lunch café with a delicious menu of pastries, traditional breakfast items, sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts.

Before moving to the coast, Andrew had been the Executive Chef at Appalachian State University and Terry was the manager and operator of The Ham Shoppe in Valle Crucis.

“We had always been in the food business and we had started catering while we were in Boone,” Bland said. “We said, ‘Let’s move this way, we’ll open up a small café, we’ll cater weddings and just have a great business in this area.’ And it’s been 17 years now and it’s going great.”

Blueberry biscuits, cinnamon rolls, Purple Onion Club sandwich, Cantaloupe Chicken Salad, Crab Cakes Benedict and more are just a few of the most popular items on their menu.

But why the name ‘Purple Onion’? Terry says that’s the million-dollar question.

“We had looked at many different names like Lake Café, and Watercolor café, and fancy names and we kept coming back to Purple Onion, that is in our signature dressing,” Bland said. “We wanted a café where anyone would feel comfortable coming in.  In the mornings when you come into our parking lot, you’re going to see mostly trucks and guys here. If it was named Watercolor café, they would not come in. So we just wanted people to come in that would feel comfortable and have good food and enjoy.”

Due to COVID-19, the restaurant closed for dine in services on March 18, but Terry says their customers have been extremely loyal ever since.

“They’re coming in every day. They’re so ready for us to open back up,” Bland said. “I’m so thankful for all of them. It’s very heartwarming actually to see the customers that come in and are just glad we’re still here. And we’ve had people tell us, just ‘I’m so thankful you’re open right now,’ and we are too. We’re ready to get back to serving but only when it’s safe and when it’s right and Governor says we can.”

Right now, The Purple Onion is open for takeout, delivery, and curbside delivery. For more information, visit their Facebook page here.

For more Feeding the Fearless content, click here.

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