ABOUT OUR PROGRESSIVE AMERICAN CUISINE RESTAURANT
The name Port Land Grille comes from a cherished vacation (and scouting trip) to Portland, Oregon where the predominant mentality of the chefs we met there was to create their menus focusing on the wealth of premium ingredients found just miles away in the Willamette Valley.
While we could’ve moved there in a heartbeat, we truly love the North Carolina coast where Wilmington is known as the “Port City.” The name “Port-Land” is a play on that as well, illustrating our own commitment to using the entire country’s bounty from the sea and the land.
In this day and age a chef can get ingredients from anywhere at any time (everything’s in season somewhere!) and our chef does of course stock the kitchen this way. But by searching out local sources and in buying certain foods only when in season, our chef gets the best of the best and supports those local farmers and fisherfolk that make their livelihood off the land and sea right here in North Carolina.
WHAT’S IT LIKE INSIDE?
Port Land Grille boasts an entirely nonsmoking environment (including the bar). The main dining room seats 85-100 with large windows overlooking a beautifully landscaped patio area, complete with a fountain and live oak trees.
Private dining rooms accommodate parties from 12-65. Settled comfortably in the restaurant’s wicker and wrought iron chairs around oversized white clothed tables, guests are made to feel equally comfortable wearing golf casual attire or a tuxedo.
The casual yet elegant décor, pale green walls accented with black and white framed historical photos of Wilmington and Wrightsville beach, evokes the feeling of dining in a classic old-style supper club, complete with a staff dressed in crisp white cotton jackets (armed with lots of knowledge and southern charm) waiting on you hand and foot.
Born in Miami in 1961, Anne Steketee graduated from Guilford College (Greensboro, NC) with a B.S. in psychology in 1982. She gained extensive catering and restaurant experience in the Greensboro area for 20 years, culminating with 13 years at Southern Lights Bistro and Bar as general manager and wine buyer.
After the birth of her son Logan in 1997, Anne began work as pastry chef at Greensboro’s Lo Spiedo. In 1998, Anne moved to Wilmington and opened Port Land Grille in November 2000.
CHEF SHAWN R. WELLERSDICK
Shawn Wellersdick, executive chef and owner of Port Land Grille, earned his degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. He served his culinary internship at Rihga Royal Hotel’s Halcyon Restaurant in New York before moving to North Carolina in 1993.
Shawn joined Noble’s Restaurant Group as executive chef in 1994. During his tenure, Noble’s won praise from National Restaurant News and Food Network. In 1998, Shawn became part-owner and executive chef of the acclaimed Under Currant in Wilmington, NC. Shawn continues his unique culinary explorations today at his Port Land Grille.
Shawn is a member of the American Culinary Association and La Chaine des Rotisseurs, and serves on the Chefs Advisory Board of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission and the NC Seafood Commission and he has just joined the Chefs Advisory Board for the NC Pork Council. He has won a silver medal from the American Culinary Federation and was a finalist in the La Chaine des Rotisseurs National Hot Food Competition at the Culinary Institute of America.
Since Port Land Grille has been open, Shawn has been instrumental in the restaurant’s reputation and garnering both regional and national attention and recognition…the restaurant won the prestigious DiRoNA award in 2005 and continues to earn recognition for excellence in areas of both food and wine. The restaurant consistently earns recognition with the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence (2000-2006 and counting); Sante Award – for Best Fine Dining in the Southeast (2004,2005…) Wine Enthusiast Award of Unique Distinction (2004, 2005) and remains on the top of many regional “best of” lists.
Shawn and Anne participate in many local fundraisers for the community (most recently Empty Bowls 2006) as well as the “fun”draisers such as the Beaufort Wine and Food Festival (which raised lots of money for the Beaufort, NC Maritime Museum and the “tall ships” exhibition 2006).