At the Bistro our menus change daily, 

allowing us to take advantage of the freshest, local and seasonal ingredients. 

Our menu features contemporary takes on Southern and Coastal classics, 

house charcuterie, prime steaks and local seafood.

Our menu is subject to last minute changes based on daily availability.

If you have your heart set on a certain selection, give us a call to check and come early.





Some of our Farmers & Fisherman:
Cottle Organics, Rose Hill, NC
Davis Seafood, Sneads Ferry, NC
Black River Organics, Sampson County, NC
Joyce Farms, Winston Salem, NC
Powell Organics, Ivanhoe, NC
Cheshire Pork, Seven Springs, NC
Britt Farm, Mount Olive, NC
Shelton Farms, Leland, NC
Southern Dairy, Asheville, NC
Mills Family Farm, Morrisville NC
Surf City Crab, Surf City, NC
Sunny Creek Farms, Tryon, NC
Goodnight Brothers, Asheville, NC

Hickory Nut Gap Farms, Fairview NC

our story

Great Chefs of the Cape Fear: Bud Taylor, The Bistro at Topsail

By Jason Frye

“Being from the South, the kitchen was always a big part of my childhood,” says Bud Taylor, chef-owner of The Bistro at Topsail.

If you’re not familiar with this Surf City eatery, don’t blame yourself, as Taylor says, “Topsail [Island] has never been known as a dining destination, unless you wanted greasy fried seafood.” That’s changed in the last decade, but only slightly. Steam pots have begun to replace the Calabash-style fried platters on many tables, and a handful of restaurants have introduced a fine-dining approach to coastal and Southern cuisine.

The Bistro at Topsail is one of the restaurants helping swing the drawbridge open to give Topsail’s food culture the room, inspiration and success it needs to take root. And they’re getting recognized for it.

“We learned a few months ago that we were going to receive the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the second time, but we had to keep quiet about it,” says Taylor. “It’s been a long couple of months.”

The Wine Spectator Award of Excellence is based not only on a restaurant’s wine list, but on how that list relates to the food and how it demonstrates a breadth of styles, regions and vintages. Or, as Wine Spectator puts it, “the list must offer a well-chosen selection of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style.”

In other words, the list just fits.

This is quite the accomplishment for Taylor. In the nine years The Bistro at Topsail has been serving guests, the wine list has grown exponentially.

“Our first list was only seven bottles. Seven bottles! I knew very little about wine, but one thing I did know was that if I wanted to take the restaurant to the place I envisioned, I needed to educate myself on wine.”

He found a tutor in Jena Schmidt, a sommelier with one of the restaurant’s distributors.

“I told her in one of our first meetings, ‘I don’t know much about wine, but I’m willing to learn, and that’s where you come in.’”

They worked together, tasted hundreds of wines, attended wine expos and dinners and seminars, and, slowly, built a list that complemented Taylor’s food and matched guest expectations.

“We were always careful to keep the guests in mind and designed a list that’s approachable to the wine novice while being enjoyable for the wine enthusiast.” He says this was no mean feat.

This same idea guides Taylor’s food. Growing up Southern — “just across the water in a place called Turkey Creek,” he says — the kitchen was a focal point, but unlike so many chefs who learned to cook from some matriarch, it was Taylor’s granddad who taught him to cook. “He taught me how to fry eggs and bacon when I was so young I had to stand on an old lard bucket to reach the stove.”

Those early lessons caught in his mind and caused him to continue cooking, but always on his own and never with any formal training (Taylor went to school for graphic design and marketing). Then one foggy Christmas Eve, he cooked up a mess of collards for the big family dinner. “I was nervous. Cooking collard greens is a point of pride in the family. At that dinner, everyone was raving about those collards but no one knew who cooked them. When I finally told them it was me, the look of surprise on all those faces told me I was really onto something.”

From those fried eggs to collards to a seven-bottle wine list to a Wine Spectator awards. And all while Taylor stayed true to the Southern flavors he knew from childhood.

“Southern cuisine inspired me, but until recently it wasn’t en vogue to cook an authentic Southern dish with authentic Southern ingredients. I grew up eating simple, amazing dishes cooked with the things we grew, raised or caught right here. I want more people to experience that kind of eating.” ~Welcome to the Bistro

press & awards

Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2016

~ Wine Spectator Magazine

Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2015

~ Wine Spectator Magazine

"One of the Best Bourbon Bars in America"

~ American Bourbon Association

Open Table Diners Choice Winner 2011-2017

Trip Advisor Award of Excellence 2010-2016

Charleston Wine + Food Festival Guest Chef 2017

Southern Classics Paired with Wine at The Bistro at Topsail

~Swig Magazine 2017

Topsail Top Bites

~Taste Nutrition

"If you haven't been to The Bistro at Topsail, you need to put it on your list"

~Nourish & Nestle

The Bistro at Topsail Displays a commitment to excellence"

~Wilmington Star News, October 2015

"Six Dishes We Loved in 2015"

"Six Dishes We Loved in 2015"

~Wilmington Star News, December 2015

Private Dining

We offer private dining for groups of 10-75

Chefs Table Tasting Menu for 10

$85 per person for 7 course tasting menu. $125 per person with Wine Pairing

Entire party must participate / 2 weeks notice required for tasting dinner

For larger groups please contact our management team to review options