With the recent additions of Hummingbird and Lynnwood Brewing, Raleigh has seen Dock 1053 and its plaza take off in terms of activity! What used to be a concrete and gritty, industrial complex is slowly being transformed into a destination focused on beer, food, retail, and the arts. The most recent business added to the Dock 1053 plaza is Wilson’s Eatery! Spun up by the folks from Lynnwood Brewing, the need for a more permanent food offering to serve the beer-drinking masses became readily apparent. (Think Fullsteam and Parts & Labor). I’ve had the chance to drop in for a couple of meals and it looks like Wilson’s Eatery is off to a good start!
Given all the businesses in this Loading Dock 1053 plaza, there is plenty of parking. But the complex can get very busy so you may have to be patient or park in the outer areas of the lot during peak periods. Wilson’s Eatery is located right near the entrance (to the left) of Dock 1053 and its location used to be Wendell’s Siding. It’s a practical looking building with a corrugated sheet metal facing, wood factory doors and a beautiful wrap-around patio. A small connecting bridge to Lynnwood Brewing’s patio means you can carry food and beer over between the two businesses without ever hitting up the public lot. It’s a nice layout if you intend on spending some time here, drinking AND eating.
Inside Wilson’s Eatery, the industrial theme continues with its decor. Polished concrete floors, sturdy wood and metal seating, the corrugated metal is left intact for the interior. Exposed metal beams stretch out overhead along with some large ceiling fans. It’s a large, open dining space with a bar area to the right and the order counter back-center. A hostess kiosk up front carries the Wilson’s Eatery menus, grab one and order at one of the two cash registers in back.
Wilson’s Eatery is probably best classified as a casual American grill. Sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, along with a small selection of appetizers. The ingredients and sandwiches are spun up a bit with pork belly and arugula but everything is pretty much under $15. And as you can guess, there’s some great options for beer at Wilson’s Eatery along with craft, in-house sodas (cherry-cola, root beer, etc), just be aware that you don’t get refills on the in-house sodas. Once you order at the counter, you’re buzzed on your smartphone with a text so when the order-taker asks for your number, she’s not flirting with you! After you order, feel free to grab some condiments, cutlery or napkins at the self-serve area to the side.
For sandwiches, I can definitely recommend the BLT made just a bit more decadent at Wilson’s with pork belly! Served up on thick-cut white bread, shredded lettuce and tomato, there’s plenty of belly in this sandwich and it’s perfectly seared with the luscious mouthfeel you expect out of pork belly. Note that the sandwiches and Wilson’s Eatery come bare so you’ll likely want to pair it with a side (fries, slaw, beer cheese mac, broccoli salad). A big thumbs-up for the rich and creamy, mac n cheese! It’s made of orechiette shells holding creamy, cheese sauce in its tender pasta.
The nachos are served with pulled pork, jalapenos, beer cheese and crema which makes for a tasty mess. Not a bad starter but I would have preferred more of the beer cheese and less of the crema which overwhelmed the dish. Right now, I’d say stick to the sandwiches and flatbreads versus the other options. Note also that most food here at Wilson’s are served in paper containers, food truck style.
A third visit gives me an opportunity to the the flatbread at Wilson’s Eatery. But I admit that I would personally call it a pizza, as much as anything! But who cares what you call it because, Wilson’s dishes out a great flatbread-pizza. The Old School is spun up with tomato, mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni, peppers and red onions, a classic combo. Loved the crust which was light but chewy and the balance of sauce, cheese and meats was excellent. Paired with a LBC black IPA made for a great meal. I’m definitely eager to try more off the flatbread list.
It’s great to finally have a food complement to the wonderful Lynnwood Brewing. While the beer was always good, it tastes even better with the excellent eats here. Wilson’s Eatery is off to a good start with its array of gourmet sandwiches, flatbreads and plates done up in a casual warehouse setting. And I suspect that they will continue to tweak and evolve the menu over the next six months. While it’s not perfect, the great space and patio make for a wonderful addition to the Dock 1053 party! Here’s to more and better from Wilson’s Eatery in 2019.
1053 E Whitaker Mill Road
Raleigh, NC 27604
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