Drift, Ahem, Drifting Into Raleigh’s Ridgewood Shopping Center

One of Wilmington’s most popular coffee shops is coasting into Raleigh. 

Raleigh is getting a little taste of the coast—literally—as Ocean Isle Beach-founded Drift is, ahem, drifting into Ridgewood Shopping Center this summer. Finally, you won’t have to drive ~two hours for those ’Grammable lattes or bangin’ breakfast burritos (#bless). 

The brainchild of UNCW alums and brothers Ben and Michael Powell, the buzzy coffee shop and kitchen brewed up out of burnout. After years of competing and traveling across the globe as part of the World Surf League qualifying series, Michael began to feel jaded with the sport. “I realized I wanted something else,” he recalls, asking himself at the time: “How do I find satisfaction without winning?”

Naturally, he found inspo in a cup of coffee—where lots of great ideas percolate. But beyond shored wave ambitions, the eager former surfer credits Einstein, Mozart and other historical caffeinated and impactful intellectuals as additional inspo.

“I got really interested in the product,” says Michael of his burgeoning love for java, which began during his travels—especially in Australia. “I just felt super taken care of and got inspired. There was just this awakening of life and it was attached to coffee.” 

Ultimately, Down Under is the vibe Drift echoes via its signature lean into modern wellness—physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual. “Our mission is to inspire modern wellness through coffee, food and connection,” he maintains. 

At the forefront, find that health-focused food and bev menu, which Michael says the brand is continuing to dive deeper into at an affordable price point. To wit, the upcoming Raleigh cafe will mirror the full-service menu found at Drift’s Wrightsville Beach location, with scratchmade breakfast, brunch, lunch and coffee (s/o local Black & White Coffee Roasters!) selects—plus an expanded, more decadent food menu and cocktails as well. In addition to the cult-favorite breakfast burritos, popular food ops include the fried chicken sandwich, Nutella French toast, eggs Benedict, and sweet and savory bowls. 

“Doing [the modern wellness concept] around the ritualistic nature of coffee and breakfast is providing that one-stop shop to feel comfortable, feel taken care of, and to be served products that align with that individual’s values,” emphasizes Michael.

That comfort is of course best served over beachy vibes, complete with Drift’s token laid-back, inviting atmosphere—not to mention a patio ideal for soaking up the sun on a warm day.

“We already serve a lot of people from this community,” adds Michael—“and we’re eager to be in a new market and serve people healthy, fun and delicious options.” Get ready to catch the drift. driftcoffee.kitchen 

Photo courtesy of Drift

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.