A Welcome Return
The long-awaited rebirth of the venerable Columbus Inn has finally happened, leading a scene full of changes in the restaurant world. Here’s a taste.
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A market that’s hungry for good, upscale burritos could mean good news for Santa Fe Wilmington (2006 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington, 425-5200), whose take on the short-rib burrito appears on the lunch menu with cilantro-lime rice and cumin-flavored black beans. The beautifully appointed Santa Fe has a hip bar for happy hour and a menu that features upscale twists on Latin cuisine. Try the skirt steak molcajete served sizzling in a stone bowl with guajillo pepper sauce.
From restaurateur Dave Magrogan (Kildare’s Pub, Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House) and partner Dana Farrell comes Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar (573 Wilmington-West Chester Pike, Suite D33, Glen Mills, Pa., 610-358-1005), which opened this spring in Glen Eagle Square. Harvest stresses seasonal, locally grown cuisine, with many entrées landing under 500 calories. Chef Brian Duffy’s menu includes steak and mushroom flatbread, free-range rotisserie chicken with barbecued zucchini and squash, and more.
Mixing it up along Rehoboth’s vibrant Baltimore Avenue is Mixx (26 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-8700), owned by Ginger Breneman and Pete Borsari. Inside the spot formerly filled by Dish!, Mixx does new-American cuisine such as horseradish-braised “deviled” short ribs and macadamia nut-crusted rockfish. Entrées can be ordered in full portions or as small-plate tapas. Chef Dave Sauers previously plied his trade at Fusion in Rehoboth Beach and Ponos Hawaiian Fine Dining in Dewey. Mixx draws big crowds on Wednesday nights for $8 burgers and half-priced martinis.
Timothy’s, a Wilmington neighborhood pub known for its comfy, local vibe, sprouted a location at the beach. Timothy’s at the Beach (19598 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, 227-3435) adds ample seafood to Timothy’s pub-grub menu, plus an array of craft brews, including locally made Dogfish Head, Evolution and 16 Mile.
Eden, meanwhile, is already a beach-area legend. Known for its romantic atmosphere and artful presentations, it’s about as refined as Rehoboth gets. But it isn’t always the least expensive dining option. That’s one reason why Eden owners opened Jam Bistro (20 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-5266), a more casual, less expensive alternative. The bistro is decorated with local artwork and features a 985-bottle wine rack, an outdoor patio and TV-filled bar. Former Eden sous chef Gary Johnson runs the kitchen, which produces casual yet delicious fare like mussels with Belgian ale, smoked bacon and mustard cream. The bar cranks out housemade cocktails such as the Beach Grass, flavored with lemongrass and homemade sour mix.
A bit west of the beaches, the former Steakhouse 26 underwent a conceptual overhaul. Owner Jerry Richard brought on chef Nino Mancari of Rehoboth’s Salt Air as a consultant and turned Steakhouse 26 into Twenty-Six, a coastal American pub and raw bar. Richard revamped the look of the restaurant from steakhouse to fish house, tearing up some carpet and lightening some of the darker interior elements.
Twenty-Six (238 Atlantic Ave., Millville, 539-0626) subscribes to Mancari’s philosophy of using fresh, sustainable ingredients. He penned a new menu along with chef Brian Carson (a Salt Air alum who takes over as head chef) that’s inspired by coasts up and down the Atlantic and a bit of Louisiana. New menu highlights include oysters from the newly installed 25-foot raw bar and seafood fare like fennel-crusted tuna with jicama slaw and tomato jam.
Even when the number remains the same, change is inevitable.