Restaurants On Topsail Island

Taking advantage of all the activities and attractions on Topsail Island requires energy, and for that you need food.

Beach Shop Grill

Beach Shop and Grill, in Topsail Beach is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week in the summer months. The restaurant closes after their luncheon service on January 1 and reopens in March each year, probably to allow the owners to catch up on their sleep. Beach Shop certainly enjoys a wonderful reputation for the quality of their service as well as the food.

The restaurant is casual during breakfast and lunch service. Dinner service is different however, with most people feeling more comfortable wearing island casual clothing since linens and candles are placed on the tables and soft jazz music is playing.

Menus for all three meals are extensive. Egg dishes from scrambled to benedict, with scratch-made hollandaise, buttermilk pancakes and breakfast sandwiches are among the eye-opener meals offered. Lunch features all types of salads and sandwiches, and many consider their Black Angus hamburgers the best on the beach.

Dinner consists of steaks, fresh local fish, seafood served broiled or fried and such specialties as shrimp and grits. Sauces and dressings are all made in house too. Be sure to save room for the key lime pie with mile high meringue backed on site by pastry chef and owner Cheryl Price.

Beach Shop Grill, which has been in business on Topsail since 1952, has all ABC permits, a very extensive list of wines including some superb ones at prices lower than most others for the same bottles, and a large assortment of craft beers.

After you’ve finished eating, be sure to visit the attached gift shop to see the popular Beach Dog t-shirts that are fast becoming collectibles, with new designs introduced each summer. All types of beach sundries are available there.

Gallagher’s Bar and Grill

When it’s time to watch the game, big or otherwise, head to Gallagher’s Bar and Grill on North New River Drive in Surf City. The sports bar and grill has plenty of televisions and a wide-open dining room where it’s OK to cheer for your favorite teams.
The family-owned establishment offers a fun-filled experience and great prices on food and drinks. Lots of munchies are perfect for Super Bowl or March Madness college basketball tournaments. Think wings, loaded cheese fries and Irish egg rolls filled with corned beef, cabbage and Swiss cheese. Salads are balanced by mondo sandwiches and burgers, including the Royale with Cheese, a half-pound, ground chuck burger topped with cheese, bacon and a fried egg. Fried shrimp, grilled or blackened salmon, hand-cut steaks and chicken dishes make up the entrees. A kids menu satisfies tikes.

A local baker makes desserts, one of them the Southern classic Hummingbird Cake, a banana pineapple pecan layer cake with cream cheese frosting.

Gallagher’s sports a full bar serving beer, wine and cocktails. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. or later Friday and Saturday. Gallagher’s accommodates large groups, but parties of 12 or more are encouraged to reserve tables, especially during busy summer months.

Mainsail Restaurant

Mainsail Restaurant, located on Highway 50 in Surf City, offers something for all tastes. New in 2013 is a raw bar, a treat for fans of raw or steamed oysters. The popular Calabash seafood platters with a choice of flounder, shrimp, sea scallops or oysters are available individually or as combinations. Maryland crab cakes and grilled fish with your choice of delicious sauces also are popular.

Mainsail now has steamed snow crab legs on the menu and has a Prime Rib special on Friday and Saturday nights. Pasta dishes, steaks and chicken also are offered and sandwiches for those who prefer a lighter meal are available too. Mainsail is open for dinner only. The restaurant has full ABC permits as well as craft beers and wines both moderately priced as well as a small assortment of special bottles.

Large parties can be accommodated at Mainsail and reservations for larger groups are accepted. Mainsail has a separate room downstairs that can be reserved for special parties and the Commodore Room upstairs that is available for such events as wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners or anniversary parties.

Oceanfront Dining

Daddy Mac’s Beach Grille is set on a spectacularly beautiful site: the restaurant is right on the ocean in Surf City and features an outdoor dining deck as well as large windows for a beautiful view. And the restaurant is now open for lunch as well as dinner, so that visitors can enjoy watching the waves while enjoying a midday break.

The menu has something for everyone, from fresh seafood accompanied by tasty sauces, to crab cakes done three ways to the best baby back ribs on the island. The ribs are slowly roasted as they should be and are so tender the meat practically falls off the bone.

Sandwiches are available in the evening too for those who want lighter fare. Really good fresh fish and tasty hamburgers are just two of several sandwich choices. The restaurant features a full bar, a good selection of beer and wine, and a kid’s menu too. Daddy Mac’s is open year round.