Husband and wife duo James and Cristy Bain have taken their love of food, education and healthy eating to new heights by creating Epic Food Co., a beach themed café that offers express-style dining with a nutritious flair. Located in The Forum shopping and dining plaza, Epic Food Co. not only serves patrons unique meals made from locally produced foods and meats, but also strives to inform the community that they too can eat healthy, fresh foods without the organic price tag.
By Naari Honor
“Everybody is busy, and eating out every night is expensive,” says Chef James Bain. “So we are making these healthy and affordable meals to grab and take home to eat—meals that are healthy and fit for you.”
Epic’s lunch and dinner menu includes all-natural, no-sugar-added smoothies, roasted certified organic coffee from Counter Culture of Durham, inventive wraps with names like “Brussels with Hustle,” grass-fed beef burgers and a children’s menu that includes entrees made with organic eggs, tofu or gluten-free chicken nuggets. But the goodness doesn’t stop there. Epic also offers Epic Catering and Epic at Home, which features chef-made, family-size entrees that go from the oven to the table in minutes with no prep-work required.
“Our new focus is take home foods, and I’m excited. We’re creating affordable things you can take home and feed your family that are good for them.”
Through the Epic at Home meal service, the restaurant offers over 50 deliciously nutritious family meal options that can also be ordered online via the restaurant’s website 24 hours in advance.
The Epic at Home menu includes entrees such as gluten-free fried chicken, pulled pork and chicken fajita kits, jambalaya, organic rotisserie chicken and sweet potato shepherd’s pie. The menu features a myriad of wholesome foods that can fuel the most active lifestyles, and with three young boys, the Bains are more than just a little active.
“We start early,” says Cristy Bain. “ I get up two days a week, and James gets two days a week. Either he’s waking up at 5:30 a.m. or I am.”
On any given day, you can find the Bains heading to the beach before daybreak.
“We get down there as much as we can,” says Cristy. “I think that’s the one place we can say we are all going as a family.”
The Bains believe in sitting down for dinner and eating healthily as a family—something they hope their food offerings will encourage others to do throughout the community. “Yeah it’s a business, and you’re trying to make money,” says James. “But at the end of the day, it’s healthy eating and important values that keeps me coming back here every day”
Another unique offering from Epic Food Co. is a free casserole program. This service allows customers to take a casserole dish to a family member or friend in need who may be ill or down on their luck. “We call them feel-good meals,” says Cristy.
The program actually came about as a result of Hurricane Florence. Like many Wilmington residents and businesses, Epic found itself without power after the storm. Instead of throwing food away, they invited family, friends and community members to take food home with them. Going a step further, the Bains served meals to disaster relief workers who were helping put Wilmington back together following the storm’s devastation. Now, a healthy meal for those in need is one of the restaurant’s everyday offerings.
Epic Food Co. is also a part of the Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly program, Plastic Ocean Project, Inc. Their commitment to the program involves only offering straws when requested and striving to use as little plastic as possible in the restaurant.
The Bains strive to be there for their staff as well, and they’re viewed by many of their college-aged employees as surrogate parents.
“A lot of these kids come from out of town, or they didn’t have a family growing up,” Chef James explains. “Cristy becomes a mother figure to some degree to a lot of them, and they appreciate that.”
The restaurant business is not the easiest to take on. Many people spend their lives trying to make their culinary dreams come true. Even Chef James admits that the life of a restaurateur is “nomadic and lonely at times.”
However, the Bains have found the balance and a way to make it work.
They make it work for the good of their community and most importantly their family.
Come on in for a nice sit-down meal or grab it to go!
OPEN SUNDAYS 11AM-2PM (EGGS ALL DAY)
(LUNCH all day, DINNER 5-8pm)
1113 Military Cutoff Rd. Suite F
Wilmington, NC 28405
Kids eat free Monday and Friday nights 5pm-8pm!
(One free kid’s meal for every adult purchase, dine-in only)