Celebrity chef Vivian Howard has officially opened Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria near downtown Wilmington. The star of the popular PBS series, “A Chef’s Life,” rose to fame with her first restaurant, The Chef & Farmer, located in Kinston, N.C., and was recently named one of Food & Wine’s “20 Most innovative Women in Food and Drink.” Howard has been recognized as a James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Southeast semifinalist and was also named Best Television Personality by James Beard Foundation.

Benny's Big Time interiorThe celebrity chef and her husband, Ben Knight, opened Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria due to their love of eating (and cooking!) Italian fare. They chose Wilmington as the home for their newest culinary venture for their love of the coast, combined with their desire to be part of the city’s thriving culinary scene. Patrons at the new restaurant can expect farm and sea to fork cuisine that ranges from wood-fired pizza, homemade pastas, big salads and smaller, shareable dishes.

Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria is the perfect addition to the dining renaissance currently underway in Wilmington. Southern Living chose PinPoint Restaurant as one of the South’s Best New Restaurants in 2016, crediting chef/owner Dean Neff as “a young, talented chef expertly hitting his stride.” Scoutology.com included manna (AAA 4-Diamond) and Rx in its list of “N.C.’s Top 21 New American Restaurants.” Other notable chefs include Top Chef contestant, Chef Keith Rhodes, who serves up his signature seafood dishes and award-winning crab cakes at CATCH Modern Seafood restaurant and CATCH the Food Truck.