On reader request, The PubScout revisits the new and improved 59 Causeway Grill on Ocean Isle Beach.

There I was, going about my daily business, prepping the Harley and planning where to visit for my next story, when an email from my publisher comes in. He shared an email he was sent regarding a request for a review of a local OIB business that the author felt was worthy of attention.

To the author’s credit, she had already read and enjoyed my first review of 59 Causeway in OIB back in November of 2022, but she was anxious to see the place revisited, as improvements had been made. I am certainly not averse to second visits, especially to cover local businesses I think deserve solid publicity. So when my publisher asked if I was interested, I assented.

Hey, at Carolina Marketing Company, they listen to their readers.

The only problem was when I could do it, as a scheduled hip surgery would prevent my visiting for a time. But thanks to the wonders of robotic surgery and light-year advances in the medical field, I was able to schedule a visit just 10 days post-op with the three principals — Larry Alderson, his son, Davis Alderson, and Berkeley Tate.

59 Causeway Grill Ocean Isle Beach

Larry, a resident of Wilmington but with a home on the island, and with years of experience in the bar and food business (owning six Buffalo Wild Wings will provide that), learned that a local gentleman was selling the building next to another OIB staple — Sharky’s. The necessary arrangements were made, and 59 Causeway was born (kind of) in late 2019. 2020 saw the actual opening, and the business took off — literally.

That it is still blooming and gaining adherents today is a testimony to the business plans made by Larry, Davis and Berkeley. Their tenacity served them well through COVID, too. My previous story on the place was entitled “To Tell Or Not To Tell” because while the place was phenomenal and served incredible bagels and food, I was loathe to trumpet its existence, knowing that (A) Locals love their “secret” places being kept secret, and (B) I don’t like long lines when I’m going out for breakfast. And the principals liked the idea of keeping their new Bay Gull Bar a local secret.

But the story went live, and to hear Davis tell it — viral.

“We had people coming in for six months after the article was published who told us they read about us online,” he says.

The off-season breakfast rush is manageable (though weekends can get a bit hectic), but during the season — and especially on weekends — the breakfast lines run from the counter, out the back door and down the steps around the side of the building. The business has seen even its lunch business increase two-fold in the past year. Their lunches do double duty as offerings in the evening as well.

59 Causeway not only has a devoted following among the OIB locals, but also has become one of those places that seasonal visitors “have to get back to” when they come for vacation. And when they come back this season, they will find a brand-new Bay Gull Bar with a special ambience and a new look. The whole bar’s been moved back to eliminate what Larry called a “pinch point” that restricted easy ingress and egress from the back dining area to the front.

59 Causeway Grill OIB

The front itself has been remodeled to eliminate the heat-generating atrium that often sent kitchen temps into triple digits. It has also allowed for more efficient storage, which is critical to the business.

But just as critical is that bar. It’s bigger, it’s got a cleaner look and it’s more comfortable, more inviting to sidle up to. There are no taps, but Larry gets some pretty good beers to put in the cooler.

One of them is the Wilmington Brewing staple Tropical Lightning (which is supposedly not easily found in southeastern Brunswick County) and which smiling bar gal Kim Weatherington offered to me as we sat and chatted.

Of course, those things that made 59 Causeway popular are still there — a superb location, a clean, comfortable interior, exceptional service and a bagel maker who still arrives at 3:30 am every business day to work his magic. And everyone is so darned nice. The place, quite simply, exudes love. Love for the business, love for their customers and a very palpable love for each other.

Beer at 59 Causeway Grill

That Bay Gull Bar also offers a different, quieter type of drinking experience, as there is no entertainment the likes of which you find at so many SEBC places these days. It’s just a quiet place to go and have a quiet drink and still be home shortly after 8 pm, which is closing time. That allows geezers like me to tell my friends and kids that I “closed down the bar last night.” And still was home in time to watch The Curse of Oak Island.

As we sat at the new bar, I asked the three principals, Larry, Davis and Berkeley (a fine arts major who also painted the huge mural on the back wall), where they saw the business within two or three years.

The consensus seemed to be that, unable to do any expansion on the site, they envisioned a place that would better serve their customers and their staff, which can be as large as 20 in season. In fact, one fear all three shared early on was “getting too big, too fast.” But “We think we have that managed,” Davis says.

59 Causeway Grill OIB NC

And then I posed the same question to Cheryl Wilson, the manager, who was sitting with us. Cheryl was introduced to me as “the woman who knows everything about everything OIB and everyone on the island. And there’s nothing she can’t find out.” Sounds like a good gal to have on your side. Turns out it was Cheryl who contacted my publisher to suggest another story on 59 Causeway.

But her answer to my question about where she saw 59 Causeway in three years was different, selfless and beautiful in its simplicity.

“In three years, I’m hoping this place is everything they ever wanted,” she says.

Her comment spoke volumes, and it came from the kind of people you want in your corner.
Even after The Corner has undergone renovations.

Want to go?
59 Causeway Grill & Bay Gull Bar
59 Causeway Drive, Ocean Isle Beach
59causewaygrill.com
(910) 933-8802