It was a joy to discover the gems of quaint Wilton Manors

It was great to visit Wilton Manors, lovingly known as “The Island City” after many years of being away. I wasn’t entirely familiar with the area except for a few visits several years ago.

The day-long tour was a memorable one filled with stops at eateries, bars, a health food spot, coffee shop and artists village and boat ride along one of the lovely waterways. Meeting the passionate and friendly business owners made the experience that much more enchanting.

Here’s a rundown of the adventure:

Manhattan Grilled Mac+Cheese with tomato basil bisque.

First Stop: NY Grilled Cheese where we were treated to three of the 10 decadent “waffled” grilled cheese sandwiches they serve. There was the Manhattan Grilled Mac+Cheese filled with the comfort food fave, the Wall Street Grinder Award stuffed with American cheese, waffle fries, applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions, a scrambled egg and garlic aioli and the Meat Packing District grilled cheese with slow roasted premium beef, horseradish white cheddar cheese, American cheese, caramelized onions and honey aioli. The creamy tomato basil bisque was the perfect accompaniment. I can’t even pick a favorite. They’ll soon be opening another location in Boca and later franchising. Manager Magic Mike took excellent care of us. 2207 Wilton Dr. 954.564.8667

To the Moon Marketplace


Candy at To The Moon

Second stop: To The Moon Marketplace is a feast for the eyes, I had no idea where to look first! With over 90 types of dark chocolate and floor to ceiling candy and merchandise (there are over 13,000 different items for sale) you could spend the whole day here. I loved the caramel-filled dark chocolate pieces topped with sea salt. Owner Antonio Dumas was so friendly and welcoming, his kitschy shop is pure fun. 2205 Wilton Dr. 954.564.2987

Wine and flatbread at Naked Grape


Wines at Naked Grape

Third stop: Naked Grape Wine Bar, what a cool name and adorable place. Owner Michael Driver was waiting for us with delicious margherita flatbread samples for nibbling and Cabernet and Chardonnay for us to sample. Driver knows his wines and in the kitchen they’re lovingly preparing charcuterie, cheeses, flatbreads and tapas to complement their wine selection. 2163 Wilton Dr. 954.563.5631

Bubbles & Pearls


Sandwich from Bubbles & Pearls

Fourth stop: Bubbles & Pearls where I loved the vibe and immediately wanted to ask for an autograph from Chef/Co-Owner Josie Smith-Walawe famous for her stints on “Top Chef” whose running a great place with partner Marcy Miller. I loved the decor and Chef Josie’s raw and honest personality (so refreshing) and the sandwich she sent us off to our next stop with was fantastic. She’s cranking out an amazing menu out of a very small kitchen. Major cooking skills she’s got. 2037 Wilton Dr. 954.533.9553

Americana bowl at Sarava


Smoothie samples in a rainbow of colors at Sarava

Fifth stop: Sarava Acai Cafe is a colorful place where you can grab a number of healthy eats and drinks. Owner Kurt Ulmer was a great host bringing out five smoothie samples and three different acai bowls. They always say the more color in your food, the more health benefits. Well…we got our fill of color with bright smoothies like Cherry Kombucha, Carrot Spice and PB&J. The bowls we sampled including the Tradicional, Americana and Falsa Baiana were just as deep in color and delicious. Go online and check out the amazing ingredients of each. 2213 N. Dixie Hwy. 954.530.4001

Sixth stop: It was so refreshing to get out on the water and take a boat tour of the scenic waterways of Wilton Manors. We departed from the Colohatchee Boat Ramp and took a relaxing 45-minute tour filled with incredible views and loads of historic information about the area. We have land developer Edward John “Ned’ Willingham from Georgia to thank for laying out Wilton Manors, which was incorporated as a city in 1953.

Lush grounds of The Alchemist


Coffee grinders at The Alchemist

Final stop: The YARD/Alchemist, a place I can’t wait to return to because it’s just so cool. Murals everywhere, a cool coffee shop and rustic and artsy vibe everywhere makes this a place you wanna come and hang for a while. They’re serious about their coffee, openly displaying their old style coffee grinders that give off the most amazing aroma (and I’m not a coffee lover). Their open-faced sandwiches or “slicers” as they call them, salads, focaccias and pizzettas make up their menu. Art and coffee lovers, this place is a must see. 2430 NE 13 Ave., #1 954.673.4614

After taking this fun tour of Wilton Manors, there’s no doubt I’ll be back and with the family this time. It’s a place I know they’ll love visiting.

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