Dining Review: Bob Ashby’s Cantwell’s Tavern in Odessa, Delaware
The Rest is History: A refined country menu makes Cantwell’s in Odessa worth the visit.
(page 4 of 4)
Judging by the rapt crowds in the dead of January, Ashby and the historical society are well on their way toward reigniting Odessa. Cantwell’s is indeed an easy place to root for, a daring intersection of good intentions and a great idea. And if it succeeds, it will help the town flourish and continue its work as a vibrant, living link to the community’s past. It’s a big-time risk, too. With full respect to Lorenzo’s Pizza, Cantwell’s becomes the only game in town, so it’s fair to wonder whether there’s enough of an audience among the proud M.O.T.ers to keep packing the old hotel.
“We needed to look for consistent revenue instead of waiting for the next tour bus,” Buckson said. “We’ve talked about it for so long, and everybody realized how important it was. It’s a major milestone for Odessa.”
With its refined country menu and a dedicated team at the helm, Cantwell’s has all the ingredients to usher in another heyday in this sleepy enclave. There’s something almost hypnotizing about the place. The gentle creaking of the hardwood floors, the ancient, hand-sketched renderings, the fireplaces and hidden side-cabinets flung in every corner—the elements all combine to create an incomparable atmosphere, one that evokes the weight of history and the vitality of today.
Before long you find yourself looking up from your plate of oysters and staring off into a faded map of the Appoquinimink waterways, wondering whether everyone cured their own bacon back in 1822.