Bistros are remarkable in that they somehow manage to be both fancy and casual at the same time, much like a necktie with Taz on it. Feel gussied up without too much fuss with today's Groupon: for $7, you get $14 worth of sandwiches, coffee, dessert, and more at Sophie's Café-Bistro in Whiteville.
Sophie's deli artists pile fresh, local ingredients into savory sandwiches that are accompanied by a copious catalog of coffee drinks and sweets. Sandwich sculptors occupy restless hands with hot paninis, such as the chicken florentine stuffed with in-house sliced and grilled chicken, provolone, and sautéed spinach on toasty sourdough ($7.99). Nonpressed sandwiches allow strata of proteins and trimmings to stand taller and wrinklier, counting among their ranks the J.M.M., freighting a 1/4-pound bundle of roast beef, horseradish aioli, and roasted peppers into mouth inlets ($6.99). Beat post-lunch snoozing fits with coffee drinks ranging from a basic house brew of the day ($1.55–$1.85) to more exotic potions such as a toffee nut latte ($3.35–$4.35) or love-inducing mocha. For a meal-ending burst of sweetness, Sophie's trucks ice cream from nearby Wilmington, arriving in 16 summery flavors, including georgia peach and cappuccino crunch, along with several fat-free options ($2.99/scoop).
Sophie's capacious, golden-walled interior welcomes lunchers while hinting at the building's past as a pharmacy and diner with a vintage soda fountain and collection of midcentury TVs, radios, and hand-jives. The normally diurnal eatery occasionally opens its doors to the artistic denizens of the evening with open mic nights.