If you're a candidate for “The Biggest Loser,” stay away from 2 Fat Guys at all costs. If not, prepare for the Elvis Burger.
2 Fat Guys’ crunchy chicken wings come
in your choice of seven hand-crafted sauces.
Photograph by Thom Thompson
You won’t lose weight by frequenting the aptly named 2 Fat Guys American Grill in Hockessin.
Yes, the menu features salads and dishes such as The Skinny Guy—an all-white meat turkey burger. But if you experience even a tinge of temptation, you are lost. 2 Fat Guys offers dishes that sing like sirens to the American appetite.
Owners Tom Craft and Jeff Cook know their audience well. Burgers, fries, mozzarella sticks, chili and the like are all are staples on the casual-dining scene. 2 Fat Guys, however, is a step above the chains, thanks to better ingredients and subtle but distinctive twists.
Thick, hearty chili, laced with chocolate, is generously topped with sour cream and grated cheese. Despite the hint of sweetness, the chili has enough Mexican spices to lend a lingering zing.
Meaty chicken wings have a crunchy coating that stands up to a slick coating of sauce. The poached pear and molasses barbecue sauce—one of seven choices—mixes a pleasing fruitiness with the tang of a traditional barbecue sauce.
Chicken salad, made with finely diced white meat and a creamy mayonnaise, tasted remarkably fresh, as though Mom had just made it with leftover roasted chicken. Golden raisins are a clever addition.
It is the burgers, however, that get star billing. At the top of the marquee is the Elvis burger with peanut butter and bacon. The fajita burger didn’t contain enough of the promised spice, but the sautéed peppers, onions and ranch dressing are a nice touch.
The veggie burger owed its taste to tangy, thinly sliced pickles and cheddar. Otherwise, it tasted like any veggie product from the freezer.
An 8-ounce sirloin steak, which you’d expect to live up to the fat quotient, lacked marbling. But for $11.99, it had a grilled, juicy flavor and, like the burger, it was cooked to the requested temperature.
The chef-cut veggies, however, were overcooked. And paying $1 extra for a baked potato seemed stingy when the restaurant is so generous with its crisp, old-fashioned fries.
With selections including The Fat Boy—ice cream cradled in a cinnamon-dusted fried tortilla bowl with caramel, hot fudge and whipped cream—you can tell that desserts continue the well-rounded theme.
With its low-key environment, inexpensive wines-by-the-glass menu ($6 to $7) and kids’ and juniors’ menus, 2 Fat Guys is a haven for families. Kids get crayons and toys at the table. The beer list and corner televisions also appeal to guys.
But if you’re on Weight Watchers, save up those points before cracking the menu.
2 Fat Guys American Grill
701 Ace Memorial Drive Hockessin
How do you know you’re not at the
Dilworthtown Inn? Chicken nuggets
and grilled cheese are on the menu.
Photograph by Steve Legato
Side by Side
Laid-back Blue Pear Bistro complements its famous parent.
“If you own a restaurant, it would be on the edge of stupid to put one next door that would compete,” says Jim Barnes, owner of the historic and infinitely classy Dilworthtown Inn on Old Wilmington Pike in West Chester.
But Barnes is far from stupid—which is exactly why he and partner Robert Rafetto opened the Blue Pear Bistro—just 50 feet away from the Dilworthtown Inn—to complement and contrast their flagship restaurant, not compete with it.
Housed in the 18th-century Dilworthtown General Store, the Blue Pear is steeped in history. (Legend has it a British soldier who fought in the Battle of the Brandywine is buried in the bistro’s basement.) It opened its doors in early September after several years and $1.8 million of restoration.
While it shares the Inn’s storied past, the Blue Pear strives to be a more laid-back experience. The first clue toward casualness: chicken nuggets. Head chef David Fogelman’s version of the fast-food fave skewers lightly breaded chicken pieces and is served with white truffle-honey mustard dipping sauce.
Most plates are priced between $7 and $16 and involve twists on comfort-food favorites like grilled cheese and braised pork shoulder. The Dilworthtown Inn has a staggering wine list—860 selections. The Blue Pear Bistro offers close to 20. The price per bottle hovers around $30.
“It’s very clear when you want into the Blue Pear that it is not a baby Dilworthtown Inn,” Barnes says. “There’s a warm, comfortable feeling inside with lots of copper tones, espresso to muted gold tones. It’s just a different program.” —Matt Amis
Joe Gallo carries 60 types of foreign and domestic
whole grain flavoring and base malts at How Do You Brew
Just Brew It
Stop looking for the beer of your dreams. Instead, make it yourself.
It takes hours of work and even more waiting for a bubbling pot of malt, hops and yeast to become a tall, frosty beer. Most aficionados will tell you it’s worth it. Delaware home brewers know this satisfaction firsthand, and their number is growing. Local clubs and associations like First State Brewers and Delmarva United Brewers are living proof.
Delaware brewmeisters also have many options when it comes to outfitting themselves with the right gear, so getting into the craft is easier than you think.
Paul and Joanie Basile run the Wine & Beer Emporium (101 Ridge Road, No. 27, Chadds Ford, Pa., 610-558-BEER), a one-stop pop for beer gear just over the state line. They carry an array of malts, hops, extracts and yeast, plus all the hardware you need. Ingredient kits ($30) are good for beginners, Joanie Basile says, pointing out ingredients to brew an India pale ale or Russian imperial stout. An equipment kit, which includes a fermenter, hydrometer, cleanser and more, runs about $130.
For downstaters, Delmarva Brewing Craft (24612 Wiley Branch Road, Millsboro, 934-8588) offers a huge selection of ingredients and equipment. Doug and Patti Griffith have opened the place up every Saturday for the past 11 years. Buy supplies at www.delmarvabrewingcraft.com.
In Newark is Joe Gallo, a reformed wine maker who runs How Do You Brew? (203 Louviers Drive, Newark, 738-7009). Gallo’s store is an oasis for home brewers, carrying a tremendous variety of yeasts and grains. He even holds demonstrations several times a year for beginners.
“For a lot of people, it’s bewildering for what yeast actually does,” he says. “We still get panic calls if someone’s fermenter isn’t bubbling. But most people seem to hit the ground running
with this.” —Matt Amis