The Chicago Dog, a delicious loaded hot dog, from The Scoop, at the Cotton Exchange in Wilmington, North Carolina

The Scoop at the Cotton Exchange, Wilmington, North Carolina

Sometimes you just really want a great big ole hot dawg. And an ice cream cone. If you’re in Wilmington, [amazon_textlink asin=’0760325928′ text=’North Carolina’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’951eb375-55dd-11e7-a3f1-8d8f92427c21′] when that urge strikes, head on downtown to the Cotton Exchange. There you will find The Scoop, and it’s got the perfect answer to your cravings dream.

Location: The Scoop is located at 365 N Front St, Wilmington, NC, in the Wood Seed Building at the Cotton Exchange. The Exchange is a shopping complex housed in a group of renovated industrial buildings that date back to the late 19th-early 20th century. One of those buildings once housed the largest Cotton Exchange in the country, thus the name. There are more than 20 shops and restaurants in the maze of lovingly restored brick buildings. The Wood Seed Building, where The Scoop is found, once housed a Chinese laundry and a seed company.

Menu: Those hot dogs I mentioned? If you’re beyond ice-cream-hungry, that’s what you’ll most likely want to be looking for at The Scoop. And they are good ones. They use Nathan’s Famous dogs and dress them up in some interesting ways.

The list of their specialty hot dogs is long and inventive. A sample includes:

* The Atomic Dog, with chili, jalapeños, pepper, and [amazon_textlink asin=’B00CAT7TGM’ text=’Tabasco’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’567d91ec-55de-11e7-89f7-9f575d96dba1′]
* The Steakhouse Dog, wrapped in bacon then topped with grilled onions and [amazon_textlink asin=’B00CJ8HXMO’ text=’steak sauce’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’6af6f6f2-55de-11e7-8ddf-83b4a53e4d8a’]
* The Luau Dog, with pineapple sauce, [amazon_textlink asin=’B00MJW2L0O’ text=’habanero spice’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9bd69010-55de-11e7-a241-99b2a5264a98′], roasted bell pepper, and grilled onions
* The San Diego Dog, bacon wrapped, lined with cream cheese, topped with [amazon_textlink asin=’B007HTBTOS’ text=’BBQ sauce’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a99ae29c-55de-11e7-8cf5-5fb56dc48737′] and jalapeños
* The Peanut Butter and Jelly Dog (yes really! A PB&J hot dog!)

There are other combinations as well, including the best-selling Pizza Dog, topped with [amazon_textlink asin=’B008RRQDCW’ text=’marinara sauce’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b947a383-55de-11e7-808f-711c1b1b7745′], [amazon_textlink asin=’B00RPSO0RE’ text=’mozzarella cheese’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c70a4913-55de-11e7-b931-933bd3665619′] and [amazon_textlink asin=’B00JH4U7US’ text=’sliced pepperoni’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d2be5927-55de-11e7-900c-697161a7d1d6′] on top then put in the oven till the cheese is all melty. And then there’s that much beloved southern staple, [amazon_textlink asin=’B00478RT7I’ text=’pimento cheese’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’de5802ec-55de-11e7-9e08-9962955f982e’] with [amazon_textlink asin=’B0027EL85S’ text=’bacon bits’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e98c5c28-55de-11e7-8fc7-1d46253ee9c3′].

You also have the option to design your own hot dog from all the options available. Go wild!

I tried the Chicago Dog, and it was a great choice, a well-dressed old-fashioned hot dog with relish, chopped tomato and onions, a pickle spear and [amazon_textlink asin=’B007V8594Q’ text=’spicy brown mustard’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’fc2fc8ab-55de-11e7-b49f-350f636db59a’], just what a hot dog should be. I liked the fact that the buns had the outside edges sliced off flat, then were brushed with butter and grilled. Extra tasty!

If it’s ice cream you’re wanting instead (or also), you’ve still come to the right spot. The Scoop serves up super-smooth giant scoops, 16% butterfat, making for the creamiest ice cream around. There’s a range of flavors, all your favorite basics plus a few unusual ones, like pumpkin, caramel apple, and cake batter. It is served up in enormous scoops plopped into house-made waffle cones.

The menu is rounded out with sandwiches; baked-to-order giant pretzels–salted, sprinkled with cinnamon, or with melted cheese; salted caramel cookies; and popcorn. They carry Port City Popcorn in several flavors, including bacon cheddar and cinnamon kettle corn.

Thoughts: The Scoop has been a popular staple at the Exchange since 1990, but the current owners, Michael and Terrie Wallace only bought it in October 2016. They’ve made a few changes to the menu and the quality. And they are always open to suggestions. For instance, when I asked him about my Chicago Dog, he said it was a fairly new item. “A guy came in and asked if we had a Chicago Dog. I didn’t even know what that was so I asked him what was in it, and then I made him one. It seemed pretty good so I decided to add it to the menu. I didn’t know if anyone would want it, but it took off. It’s one of our most popular now.”

The Scoop is small, just a couple of tables inside, but there is also a nice patio for eating on warm days, which are many in Wilmington. Inside, the exposed brick walls and tin ceiling will remind you of the building’s age and history.

And speaking of that history, there is another aspect to that at The Cotton Exchange. It is said to be the most haunted historic building in Wilmington. There is even a Haunted Cotton Exchange Tour, with the guides introducing you to all the resident ghosts and showing you where they like to hang out. The Scoop is one its stops. Their particular ghost is a little girl, and she is a delightful part of the place.

“She was very active when we first bought the business,” says Terrie Wallace. “She used to shove things off the counters and turn off the ice cream freezer cases after hours.” That’s not a good thing for an ice cream store. “She seems to have settled down a bit now,” Terrie adds. “Maybe she likes us. I bought her a [amazon_textlink asin=’B002APDYV0′ text=’baby doll’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’99a1e069-55df-11e7-9c6e-cd0f6cc6cc5d’], thinking maybe she was lonely, but she doesn’t seem to react to it.” Terrie points out the modern, cartoonish doll perched on an electric box near the door. “Maybe she wants a period doll.”

The Scoop is open Monday-Friday, 10 am-6 pm, Saturday, 10 am-7 pm, and Sunday 11 am-5 pm.

If you’re looking for information and recommendations about hotels in Wilmington, you’ll find it here.

Price: All the specialty hot dogs are $4.00 each. A combo with a drink and one side is $6.95. A “Two Dawg Combo” is $8.00. Giant pretzels are $4.00. The weekly soup special is $4.00 for a cup, $5.00 for a bowl. The home-made cookies are 3 for $2.00. A very large single scoop ice cream cone or cup is about $4.00.

Pin it For Later. You Don’t Want to Forget These Dawgs!
Sometimes you just really want a great big ole hot dawg. And an ice cream cone. If you’re in Wilmington, North Carolina when that urge strikes, head on downtown to the Cotton Exchange.

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Donna Meyer
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