It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, but just what makes a great neighborhood restaurant? Picture casual places that are often close to actual neighborhoods, places that often welcome the kids, and places where you’ll often find a burger, as well as food that approaches fine dining, but with prices that won’t break the bank. Find your new favorite here.
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Abbott’s Grill (249 N.E. Front St., Milford, 491-6736) was born with the neighborhood specifically in mind. The owners scouted the area to learn what locals love, and designed a place where they’d feel right at home. The result is a fun, homey restaurant (and bar, with adjacent Bald Jason’s Pub) that infuses the familiar with the fabulous, and dishes like grilled bison burgers and creamy lobster pot pie.
Baywood Clubhouse Restaurant (32267 Clubhouse Way, Long Neck, 947-9225), although rightly considered one of the best special-occasion destinations around, also happens to be nestled among several golf-front neighborhoods. The elegant and inviting dining room overlooks the 18th green, making it a perfect spot to grab a lite bite and a cocktail with your foursome.
BBC Tavern and Grill (4019 Kennett Pike, Greenville, 655-3785) balances upscale and casual so effortlessly, it’s almost as if it’s done this before. Ribbing aside, the reborn BBC is a hit in Greenville thanks to its relaxed atmosphere, an army of regulars and superior pub grub, like crispy fig-topped flatbread and famed soft pretzels (though more uptown dishes like pan-seared sea bass are great, too).
Fun, funky, and filled with music, the Bellefonte Café (804 Brandywine Blvd., Wilmington, 761-9175) is an oasis perfectly suited to its eclectic neighborhood. Cuban black bean soup, Thai chicken wraps, edamame—as long as it’s fresh and flavorful, it’s on Donna Rego’s menu. Regulars love to sit on the wraparound porch with a cool drink, or perhaps with something from the wine list.
In the heart of Italian country, it’s Creole that reigns supreme at Blue Parrot Bar and Grille (1934 W. Sixth St., Wilmington, 655-8990). Andouille sausage, jerk chicken and jambalaya are the order of the day, and at night, the bon temps roll on with mojitos and hurricanes from the Voodoo bar, and live music on the stage.
The something-for-everyone vibe is alive and well at Buckley’s Tavern (5812 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, 656-9776), where worldly Vietnamese shrimp salad occupies the same dinner menu as delicious burgers and ribs. An eclectic group of regulars meets for cold draft beers on the upstairs terrace, then on Sundays (pajama-clad, of course) for one of the most popular brunches around. The rooftop terrace creates one of the coolest views in town.
World Cup fervor may have died down, but that never seems to dampen the hooligan-level spirits at Catherine Rooney’s Irish Pub (1616 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 654-9700). The adaptable Rooney’s so excels at hospitality, it hosts special dinners nightly over signature Wexford broil and Guinness, then ushers in the late-night revelers with live music and karaoke.
With local artwork on the walls and local salumi on the plates, it’s no secret Chelsea Tavern (821 N. Market St., Wilmington, 482-3333) wants to be a gastropub of the people. With local pros in chef Sean McNeice and manager Joe Van Horn behind the wheel, Chelsea is all comfort, no pretension. Go for beers and burgers, or class it up with seared foie gras with pineapple-chili chutney.
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