Where do locals go for seafood at Topsail Island?

Hap Alexander tells a story about a pirate who came in from the sea, settled down and started making an honest living running a trading post and a pole barge ferrying customers back and forth between what would become mainland Pender County and Topsail Island, just offshore.

In the story, the spot where the reformed thief launched his skiff became known as Sears Landing – after the pirate himself – and Alexander kept the name when he tore down an old fish house on the site and built his first sit-down restaurant there.

If it’s a fish tale, it’s one of many thousands that Alexander must have been served up in the 14 years Sears Landing Grill & Boat Docks has stood near the mainland end of the swing bridge that carries N.C. 50 across the Intracoastal Waterway.

Dozens of restaurants compete for tourists’ attention when Topsail Island’s population swells during the summer season, but locals often slip back across the bridge to Sears Landing when they crave seafood for lunch or supper or a plate of French toast for breakfast.

Find out why locals love Sears Landing Grill. And find more places in North Carolina to explore.

Topsail Island
Patrons sit in high back rocking chairs overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway at Sears Landing Grill & Boat in Surf City. // Photo by Travis Long

If you go

Sears Landing Grill & Boat Docks, 806 Roland Ave., Surf City. Open seven days a week, “from 8 a.m. until.” Breakfast served 8 to 11 a.m., lunch and dinner starting at 11 a.m. To inquire about boat slip availability, call 910-328-1312.

From the menu:

  • Coconut cream crab soup: cup $5, bowl $8
  • West Indies seafood rolls (offered as an appetizer but more than enough for a meal): $12
  • Steamed peel-and-eat shrimp: half pound, $14, pound, $24
  • Grilled yellowfin tuna: $17
  • Scallops, grilled or fried: $20
  • Fried soft-shelled crabs: $19
  • Children’s fried shrimp plate: $13


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