La Fia Bakery + Market + Bistro Brings Small Plates, Big Flavors to LOMA

Shere-E-Punjab opens in Concordville Towne Center, grilled cheese takes center stage and the 11th annual Celebrity Chefs’ Beach Brunch returns to Dewey Beach on Oct. 6.



Wilmington Needed This

When Bryan Sikora planted his flag on the corner of Fifth and Market in downtown Wilmington—and not on Rittenhouse Square or Fishtown or West Village or Chelsea—it felt like a major upset victory for little ol’ Delaware. Sikora, one of the Philly region’s top chefs, helped define upscale casual dining in the area for more than a decade. His talent and pedigree could’ve taken him anywhere he wanted. And he picked us. It was the culinary equivalent of Elena Delle Donne spurning UConn to join UD, the small-market franchise landing the blue-chip free agent. Score another one for the little guys. La Fia, Sikora’s breezy hybrid bistro-bakery-gourmet shop that opened in the summer, is a huge get for LOMA and Downtown Wilmington, one that instantly uplifts the city’s oft-derided dining scene. Sikora’s approach to modern cuisine—rustic, soulful, but imminently approachable—earned rave reviews as he led Philly restaurants like Django and a.kitchen, and Talula’s Table in Kennett Square. His graceful, laid-back cooking style is a perfect match for his new digs. DT dining critic Matt Amis likes it a lot. Find out why here.

Great Indian

After 26 years as a chef in Philadelphia-area restaurants, Zail Singh Shergill has learned a thing or two. One is how to blend fresh spices perfectly for Indian food, which is what makes his unique. Find out for yourself at Shere-E-Punjab restaurant in the Concordville Towne Center, the newest of the three popular Shere-E-Punjabs in southeast Pennsylvania. At last, one closer to home. Deets here.
 

We Love Cheesiness

Why hadn’t someone thought of it sooner? “There are a ton of burger places, a ton of Mexican places, a ton of pizza places, but no one was doing grilled cheese,” says Aaron Nocks of Melt Down Grilled Cheese, the specialty grilled cheese place on Main Street in Newark that is going gangbusters thanks to a full menu of novelty sandwiches. It’s a hot place. Find out why here.
 

Speaking of Great Grilled Cheese…

Cheesetoberfest, says its organizers, is “an all-out, no holds barred, grilled cheese competition” that will go down at Fordham & Dominion Brewing in Dover Oct. 5. Twenty restaurants from Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Philadelphia will battle for top honors while the brew flows and an oompah band toots on. The categories:

HandKrafted Goodness
White bread, butter and either American or cheddar cheese. Just like Mom used to make.

We Will Roquefort You
Any so-called bread and any so-called cheese. No additional ingredients.

Cheeseballs to the Wall
A sandwich that is savory more than anything else.  Internal ingredients must be at least 60 percent cheese by weight. Contestants may use any type of bread, butter, cheese and additional ingredients.

Looking for a Gouda Time
A dessert sandwich. Again, internal ingredients must be at least 60 percent cheese by weight. Contestants may use any type of bread, butter, cheese and additional ingredients

Participating restaurants include, among others, The Pickled Pig Pub in Rehoboth, 33 West Ale House and Grill in Dover, Ulysses Gastropub in Wilmington, and more. Book the date now. This one is the cheesiest. cheesetoberfest.com
 

Join the Brunch Bunch

Meals On Wheels Delaware is at it again, hosting the 11th annual Celebrity Chefs’ Beach Brunch at the Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach on Oct. 6. Local beach chefs come out each year to support the organization and raise money for Delaware’s homebound seniors. Last year, nearly 600 guests attended the event to sample the food, enjoy the wine and spirits and support a great cause. “We look forward to hosting the Beach Brunch each fall as do our generous sponsors and guests,” says MOW executive director Mari Considine. “As the elderly population grows and the need for meal delivery programs increase, it is very important to have the support of our community to help ensure all seniors throughout our state are fed a hot, nourishing meal each day.” Participating this yeat: a(Muse.), Abbott’s Grill, Baywood Clubhouse & Restaurant, Big Fish Grill Rehoboth, Blue Moon Rehoboth, Cabo Mexican Restaurant, The Cultured Pearl, Eden, Espuma, FINS Fish House & Raw Bar, Gary’s Dewey Beach Grill, Grub Grocery Pub, Henlopen City Oyster House, Hooked Seafood & Martini Bar, Ivy, Jam Bistro, Little Savannah, Nage Restaurant, The Pickled Pig Pub, The Pig & Fish Restaurant Company, Salt Air, Shore Break, and Table & Taproom. Wine and spirits will be in the mix as well, with Henlopen City Oyster House preparing a Bloody Mary Bar. 16 Mile Brewery and Dogfish Head will provide assorted craft beers while Southern Wine & Spirits of Delaware will offers samplings of its wines. Back again: the Battle at the Beach cook-off between favorite beach area chefs. The first round will take place on Sept. 19 at CAMP Rehoboth, where chefs from a(MUSE.), Abbott’s Grille, Eden, Henlopen City Oyster House, and Nage Restaurant will face off to see who moves on to the final round at the Celebrity Chefs’ Beach Brunch. It's go time. 656-3257,  mealsonwheelsde.org/bb
 

Ciao, Wilmington

It’s almost time for Vendemmia da Vinci, coming Oct. 13 to Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park 

in Wilmington. Your ticket to this celebration of the grape harvest gains you samples of great Italian wines, great Italian food and the 
Italian Beer Garden, not to mention great live entertainment. A highlight: the contest of homemade gravy. Taste the best homestyle sauce local home cooks have to offer. Delicious. Stay tuned for more as the event nears. 877-731-5790, societadavinci.com 

 

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STAFF WRITER MARK NARDONE DISHES ON THIS WEEK’S
BEST WINE EVENTS AND MORE

About This Blog

Mark Nardone
Wilmington, DE

From chocolate festivals to wine tastings to new restaurant openings, Dining Insider has the Delaware dining scene covered. Delaware Today's Mark Nardone shares the scoop each week on the food and wine events you simply can’t miss. Contact Mark at mnardone@delawaretoday.com.

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