2021 Update: Since people are definitely wondering about outdoor dining, we updated this 20+ Restaurants In Leland, North Carolina To Try post to note if restaurants do or don’t have outdoor seating.
When people ask where we live, we always say Wilmington, NC. It’s a huge city, it’s where One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek were filmed, and people have heard of it.
The truth is, we actually live in Leland, NC, the town next to Wilmington. And last year, we went on a self-dubbed Culinary Tour Of Leland every Wednesday with the goal of checking out all the restaurants in Leland, North Carolina.
There are a lot to places to eat in Leland, NC, and a few new ones we’ve been to since we originally took our self-guided tour.
See, according to the local news station WWAY, Leland is the fastest growing town in North Carolina.
It makes sense. Leland is the town right next to Wilmington, NC, which is huge. Property taxes are lower and homes are cheaper in Leland. This growth isn’t just in population, though. It’s in amenities.
Since we’ve moved here, there’s a brand new huge town hall, there are two Starbucks shops, there are tons of apartments, new homes are popping up quickly, and there are a bunch of places to eat.
Plus, in the near(-ish) future, there are two breweries coming to Leland.
But for now, we’re just going to focus on places to eat in Leland.
20+ Restaurants In Leland, North Carolina To Try
When I make these lists, I won’t add a restaurant unless it has been open for over a year. Restaurants have a tendency to open and close quickly, so I want to make sure they would stay.
We also focusing on local restaurants only. Yes, there are a few local chains on this list, but we limited them to chains that started in Wilmington and have a restaurant in Leland. Any that started outside of the Wilmington-area and are in Leland (and there are a few), didn’t make the cut.
Also, there are no national chains because really do like to support local.
Also, as with the majority of our lists, this is in no particular order.
And finally, Drugstore Divas doesn’t have a relationship with any of these restaurants. We’ve eaten at them with our own money and aren’t biased in any way.
1. Jade Garden
Address: 1735 Reed Rd NE
Jade Garden is our go to Chinese take out restaurant. There are two closer to us, but I will drive all the way to Jade Garden because the food is that good.
There are a ton of wontons in the wonton soup, the cream cheese wontons are just that (no fake crab hidden inside), and the lo mein is so flavorful.
Plus, we’ve seen the owner’s kids grow up over the nine years we’ve been going there and I love supporting a family-run business like that.
What should you order at Jade Garden? Sweet & Sour chicken, Pork Lo Mein, and Cream Cheese Wontons
Does Jade Garden have outdoor seating? No. And actually, right now, Jade Garden is take out only. So it doesn’t even have indoor seating available.
2. Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar
Address: 1175 Turlington Ave
Don’t be fooled by the word “oyster” in the name of Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar. There are more than just oysters served.
You can get everything from a lobster roll to wings to a bean burger. And yes, of course, there are oysters and oyster shooters if you’re into that. I watched my brother do one at Shuckin’ Shack and that’s enough of that for me.
What should you order at Shuckin’ Shack? The Ahi Tuna appetizer
Does Shuckin’ Shack have outdoor seating? Yes. And a ton of it.
3. The Joyce Irish Pub
Address: 1174 Turlington Ave #101
Cuisine: Irish & Pub Food
There are a few items on The Joyce‘s menu that people are obsessed with. The first is the London Toasty, which is a grilled cheese with onions. That’s on and off the menu a lot, so definitely keep an eye out for it. The other is the BBQ Bacon Jam Glazed Meat Loaf, which is worth its weight in bacon jam.
Personally, though, the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich is my favorite ever, so that’s my go to order. Or was. Until the slimmed down #because2020 menu removed it. Sigh.
What should you order at The Joyce? Nachos (they come with pulled pork, jalapeño, tomato, green onion, beer cheese, house made BBQ sauce, and sour cream)
Does The Joyce have outdoor seating? Yes, and quite a lot of it.
4. Local’s Tavern
Address: 1107 New Pointe Blvd #9
Cuisine: Bar food
Quick backstory about this place.
There was a popular local bar in this location that closed (suddenly). Some of the locals there got together and started Local’s Tavern. Honestly, it doesn’t get more local than that.
The feel is the same as the previous bar, but the menu is a little but more playful.
What should you order at Local’s Tavern? Southwest Egg Rolls
Does Local’s Tavern have outdoor seating? Yes, there is a nice sized patio in front.
5. P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grille
Address: 1035 Grandiflora Dr
P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grille holds a special place in my heart because it was the first meal my parents and grandma had after buying a house in Leland. That just happened to be on my dad’s birthday too, so it was really special.
But we love P.T.’s for the food too. You can get a burger, turkey sandwich, bean burger, and more. With each sandwich, you get a drink and a choice of either a salad or fries. Go with the fries. I don’t know what they season the fries with, but I need to own that blend.
What should you order at P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grille? Grilled Chicken Sandwich (with bacon!) and fries
Does P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grille have outdoor seating? Yes, there’s seating on the outdoor patio.
6. Cape Fear Seafood Company
Address: 143 Poole Rd
When we first moved here, someone recommended we go to Cape Fear Seafood Company in Wilmington solely for the fried okra. Of course, we obliged.
A few years ago, the local restaurant opened a second location in Leland — but I’ve gotten asparagus as a side to my crab cakes. Sorry to the okra, but the asparagus pairs so well with the almost-all-crab cakes I love.
What should you order at Cape Fear Seafood Company? Saltimbocca (it’s made with white fish!) but also, everything we have had there — even chicken alfredo — has been amazing.
Does Cape Fear Seafood Company have outdoor seating? Yes, but there are only a few tables.
7. Papi’s Chicken
Address: 1108 New Pointe Blvd Ste. 140
Papi’s Chicken‘s thing is, well, chicken. But it is Pollo a la brasa style, which is a Peruvian rotisserie chicken that’s marinated and then roasted
You can order a full chicken at the restaurant, plates of chicken, or items like the Papi’s Salad and Chaufa (Peruvian style fried Jasmine rice) that you can top with the chicken.
Our honest opinion: The Chaufa was pretty bland, so go with something else.
We recommend: A full rotisserie chicken to go
What should you order at Papi’s Chicken? A full rotisserie chicken to go
Does Papi’s Chicken have outdoor seating? No.
8. Chingon Taqueria
Address: 1132 New Pointe Blvd
Suddenly, and sort of inexplicably, there are a lot of Mexican restaurants popping up in Leland. Chingon Taqueria was the second of three to debut here.
Chingon is fast casual with an exceptional toppings bar filled with salsa, tomatoes, beans, and more. So you can order what you want and then completely customize it after you get it. Side note: It’s the same owners as Papi’s Chicken.
What should you order at Chingon Taqueria? A choose two combo with a taco and tostada
Does Chingon Taqueria have outdoor seating? No.
9. San Felipe Mexican Restaurant
Address: 1114 New Pointe Blvd #140
San Felipe Mexican Restaurant is the OG of the trio of Mexican restaurants Leland has, although it’s not the original.
When we moved here, Mexico Viejo was here and was amazing, then it changed to Plaza Mariachi which was not as great (and has since closed). At that time, San Felipe opened and people flocked there for the food and not-watered-down margaritas. Since then they’ve had really good staying power in town.
What should you order at San Felipe Mexican Restaurant? The Mexican Street Corn
Does San Felipe Mexican Restaurant have outdoor seating? No.
10. Islands Fresh Mex Grill
Address: 2013 Olde Regent Way #110
I figured I would put all three of the Mexican restaurants in a row to help you pick one for your dinner.
We refer to Islands Fresh Mex Grill as “Mexican Subway” when we’re describing it to people. You choose what you want and then go down the line and tell your toppings to the worker who adds them to your meal.
The best thing about Islands is the price, though. After 5pm, you can get $1 tacos (up to 4) with the purchase of a drink.
What should you order at Islands Fresh Mex Grill? $1 tacos
Does Islands Fresh Mex Grill have outdoor seating? No.
11. Farmhouse Kitchen
Address: 1120 E Cutlar Crossing
I like the story behind this location.
Bessie Burger was a hamburger joint that was known for good fries. A car drove into it and although we heard it was supposed to reopen, the restaurant seemingly took that as a sign to close and actually never reopened. But that opened the location for Farmhouse Kitchen to arrive.
It’s only open for breakfast and lunch daily, so don’t head there looking for a dinner menu. The items are typical breakfast items, like avocado toast and omelets and Pete’s dad’s favorite: a BLT Bloody Mary.
What should you order at Farmhouse Kitchen? Eggs Benedict
Does Farmhouse Kitchen have outdoor seating? Yes, there are a bunch of tables outside.
12. Blossoms Restaurant
Address: 1800 Tommy Jacobs Dr
I’ve been to Blossoms Restaurant, which is the restaurant at Magnolia Greens Golf Course, because it’s open to the public, but only for drinks and karaoke.
When I was away once upon a time, Pete went there for brunch and said it was amazing and we have to go back. We just haven’t yet.
What should you order at Blossoms Restaurant? Brunch
Does Blossoms Restaurant have outdoor seating? Yes, and a lot of it.
13. Charlie Graingers
Address: 1110 New Pointe Blvd #120
Cuisine: Hot dogs and brisket
Charlie Graingers has an interesting story.
Back in 1939 Charlie and Anne Grainger opened Peacock Alley, Wilmington’s first drive in. It operated under them until 1980 when they retired. In 2012, Louis North bought the site, knocked down the building (because it was dilapidated), and opened Charlie Graingers.
The Leland location is one of eight in the south to sell the hot dogs, brisket, and BBQ.
What should you order at Charlie Graingers? A Number 9 hot dog (with brisket baked beans and onions)
Does Charlie Graingers have outdoor seating? Yes, there are a few tables outside.
14. Pizzetta’s Pizzeria
Address: 1144 East Cutlar Crossing #105
There’s a lot of chain pizza in this area, but there’s also a lot of local pizzerias too. Not as many as when I lived in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. That place has something like five pizza places for every resident (just kidding, but it’s close).
Leland has three local pizzerias, and our favorite of the three is Pizzetta’s. You can grab a pie or order some Italian favorites, like eggplant parm.
What should you order at Pizzetta’s Pizzeria? Pizza
Does Pizzetta’s Pizzeria have outdoor seating? Yes, for now. It’s changing locations (but still in Brunswick Forest in Leland), and I don’t know if the new location will have outdoor seating or not.
15. Six Happiness
Address: 1114 New Pointe Blvd
We used to have two Asian restaurants in town, and my choice was always at the other restaurant. So we went to Six Happiness to try it, but I always picked the other place to dine at.
That place is gone, though, so I just eat Japanese food in my own kitchen. Our friends who don’t cook Japanese at home love the fact that they can easily get non-grocery store sushi in Leland.
What should you order at Six Happiness? Sushi
Does Six Happiness have outdoor seating? No. Right now, it’s doing just carry out, so there’s no indoor seating either.
16. The Fuzzy Peach
Address: 4134, 1109 New Pointe Blvd # 4
Cuisine: Frozen yogurt
I love The Fuzzy Peach. It reminds me of moving here so much. The frozen yogurt chain was started in Wilmington and has a ton of locations. It has also outlived all the other frozen yogurt joints that have opened (and closed) since we moved here.
I love The Fuzzy Peach so much that we actually had it bring a full yogurt bar with 18 toppings, four syrups, and a huge spinning yogurt to our wedding rehearsal dinner.
What should you order at The Fuzzy Peach? Frozen yogurt and all the toppings
Does The Fuzzy Peach have outdoor seating? There are a couple seats outside.
17. Bridgewater Wines
Address: 1132 New Pointe Blvd #5
Cuisine: Upscale pub food
Bridgewater Wines is a wine store. Mostly. It also serves really good pub food.
The flat breads are good and the charcuterie boards are fantastic. And the menu is really extensive, so you’ll definitely find something to pair with your favorite wine (which you can have by the glass or bottle while you eat).
If we’re being honest, though, we’ll steer you away from the nachos. They looked good, but we didn’t love them. Everything else, though, has been wonderful.
What should you order at Bridgewater Wines? Bavarian Pretzel
Does Bridgewater Wines have outdoor seating? No.
18. New Day Café
Address: 497 Olde Waterford Way STE 100
New Day Café opened where my favorite pad thai was, so I’m still a little heartbroken.
New Day Café originally was only open for breakfast and lunch, but it finally started serving dinner. Although we haven’t been there for dinner yet. Just for brunch.
What should you order at New Day Café? The Monte Cristo French Toast
Does New Day Café have outdoor seating? Yes, there are a few tables outside.
19. Leland Smoke House
Address: 503 Olde Waterford Way Ste 100
Cuisine: Smoked BBQ
We finally got the chance to order take out from Leland Smoke House, and let me tell you, it was worth the wait.
It’s the second location for the brand, which has its original location in Southport (known, mostly, for being the backdrop for numerous Nicholas Sparks books and movies).
The restaurant serves smoked BBQ, which means it’s gonna have those pretty smoke rings and pink insides. If you’re not used to that, you may be alarmed and think your food is raw, which is what happened to numerous patrons who posted on Nextdoor.
The food is delicious, the sides are plentiful, and online ordering is so incredibly easy.
What should you order at Leland Smoke House? Ribs
Does Leland Smoke House have outdoor seating? There’s a section for outdoor seating, which the restaurant before it used, but Leland Smoke House doesn’t use it.
20: Brodee Dogs
Address: 103 A Village Rd NE
Cuisine: Hot dogs
So, we haven’t been to Brodee Dogs. But, our local Nextdoor page always showers them with praise.
I’ve heard that they’re authentic Chicago dogs, filled with toppings. A quick look at the Brodee Dogs Facebook page shows they have burgers (now? I don’t remember hearing about burgers when they opened, but maybe burgers have always been served). If we make it there on our Culinary Tour of Leland, I’ll update this.
What should you order at Brodee Dogs? Hot dogs
Does Brodee Dogs have outdoor seating? There are a couple tables outside.
Which of these restaurants in Leland, North Carolina would you like to try first? Be sure to let us know in the comments.