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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There is no definitive crowd at Kid Shelleen’s Charcoal House and Saloon (1801 W. 14th St., Wilmington, 658-4600), and that’s a very good thing. The business crowd packs in for burgers and giant Cobb salads at lunch. The patio is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious grilled filet or strip steak. Wednesdays mean half-price sandwiches, and Thursday nights see everyone from 20-somethings on up dancing to live DJs. The room-dominating bar pleases seemingly everyone with good beers and one of the town’s best late-night menus.
Gaelic shenanigans and boxties aside, Kildare’s Irish Pub (45 E. Main St., Newark, 224-9330) added sophisticated comfort to Main Street, and fits the mold of both a family restaurant and a college hangout. The beer selection is what you’d expect from an Irish pub, only more so, and the pub grub—especially the simply made flatbreads and house-made potato chips—matches the Irish fare.
Klondike Kate’s (158 E. Main St., Newark, 737-6100) is more than a bar for college kids. Locals prefer to stake out a spot on the patio of this Victorian classic come summertime to sip cool drinks and partake of Kate’s famous cilantro-marinated chicken Sanchez sandwich or crab cakes. Heartier entrées include barbecued ribs, fajitas and good pasta dishes. Most weekends, Kate’s is the spot for half-priced nacho nights.
Says owner Bob Ashby of his popular McGlynn’s Pubs (800 N. State St., Dover, 674-0144; 108 Peoples Plaza, Newark, 834-6661; 8 Polly Drummond Shopping Center, Newark, 738-7814), “If we can keep the people within five miles happy, they’ll come back. That’s a neighborhood business.” McGlynn’s thrives on community engagement, from its popular happy hours to its attendance at charity dinners and auctions. Juicy, half-pound specialty burgers don’t hurt, either, nor do drunken clams, grilled steaks and good jambalaya.
Fun, casual and packed with locals, Pickled Pig Pub (18756 Coastal Hwy., No. 3, Rehoboth Beach, 645-5444) is a gastro pub that never takes itself too seriously. (Just look at the name.) But beer, cheese and pub grub are all treated reverently. There’s a rotating roster of microbrews like Caldera, Allagash and Evolution complementing the well-wrought cheese board. Perhaps the best part about PPP is the prices—dishes rarely crack the $10 mark.
Lee and Amy Stewart’s Po’ Boys Creole & Fresh Catch (900 Palmer St., Milton, 684-0890) gets the nod for its bright, cheerful decor and bargain-priced New Orleans food. You’ll find all the classics—jambalaya, étouffée, shrimp creole and crawfish. Did we mention the delicious crab cakes?
The spaciousness of the Federally styled Public House (902 N. Market St., Wilmington, 661-7920) belies the intimacy of a good meal in one of its cozy booths. A full menu of seafood, chicken and beef offers sandwiches, salads and entrées. Sated? Wander over to the bar for a nightcap. It’s always just lively enough.
With stuffed rockfish, crab cakes and chicken Chesapeake at its disposal, Quail Restaurant and Pub (1 Sunshine Lane, Fenwick Island, 537-4101) has the goods to keep its many regulars happy. That home cookin’, with the addition of roast turkey and meatloaf dinners, helps set a casual pub-like atmosphere that makes customers feel comfortable. The bar sees regular action during happy hour, when scintillating wings and shrimp go on special.
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