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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Those rich mahogany-colored booths, those brick arches, those bookcases—they all make Cromwell’s Tavern (3858 Kennett Pike, Greenville, 571-0561) one of the coziest spots around. For nearly 20 years, locals have turned to Cromwell’s for generous wine pours, live music and solid pub fare. The essential tavern, Cromwell’s does great burgers, house-fried chips, French dip and crab cakes, with a hearty beer selection and a 92-inch TV that shows all the big games.
When Dead Presidents Pub & Restaurant (618 North Union St., Wilmington, 652-7737) closed its doors due to a plumbing issue last fall, fans and patrons of the Union Street hangout took to the streets (actually, the Internet) in support. That’s loyalty. Their beloved Dead Presidents opened just a month later, reloaded with all the inferno hot wings, cold beers and friendly, cozy atmosphere that they sorely missed.
George Washington, Edgar Allan Poe and George Thorogood walk into a bar—but it’s no ordinary bar. It’s the Greek Revival hotel known as the Deer Park Tavern (108 W. Main St., Newark, 369-9414). The Main Street classic is home to many factions, be they bikers, townies, UD students, alumni or professors and their families. Owner Bob Ashby credits the Deer Park’s ample space, unfussy food (nachos, chophouse salads, burgers and ribeyes) and intangible historical charm was the secrets to its success.
The patio at Del Rose Café (1707 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 656-3015) feels like a tranquil Trolley Square backyard, only this one has a fully loaded bar. Generations of regulars have made the old townhouse a neighborhood classic, on level with its legendary chopped antipasto, lobster ravioli and Italian classics such as chicken Marsala. Come nighttime, Del Rose is a relaxed counterpoint to some of the area’s rowdier spots.
Just a brushstroke of Beantown has made Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House (1131 N. Dupont Hwy., Dover, 857-3223) a Dover hit, with its dark wooden walls covered in hundreds of old-time photos. Fresh oysters are detailed on the chalkboard and shucked at the raw bar, joined by steamed P.E.I. mussels, clams on the half-shell and jumbo shrimp cocktail. Its pubby feel makes Doc’s stand on its own inside Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.
As its following glows to global proportions, our humble Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats (320 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-2739) remains a haven for comfy food and some of the best beers in the country. Submit yourself to guinea pig status and test some of the exclusive and experimental beers on tap (like the hoppy and fruity Zeno beer) and order a crispy wood-grilled pizza.
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