Restaurant Guide: Localvores Unite
The farm-to-table movement is sweeping the state. Why? Supporting local farms builds communities—and fresh food just plain tastes better. Here are some restaurants at the fore of the movement.
Research assistance by Rebecca Kasman
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Bluecoast Seafood Grill
1111 Highway One, Bethany Beach
Not only Bluecoast, but all of Matt Haley’s SoDel Concepts restaurants—Lupo di Mare, Betty’s Pure and Simple, Fish On, Northeast Seafood Kitchen and Catch 54—take advantage of the area’s bounty. Local purveyors include Good Earth Market, Tomato Sunshine in Rehoboth, Magee Farms in Selbyville, Ocean View Farms, Parson’s Farm and Fifer Orchards. Dean Hickman of Hickman Seafood provides softshell crabs and meat from locally caught crabs, and Andrew Kieper of Sea Eagle in Bethany Beach provides local tuna, tautog and rockfish. Sound like a lot? It is, especially when SoDel menus are filled with locally inspired dishes such as softshell crabs with vine ripe tomato and asparagus, and grilled tuna with local apple salad.
102 Second St., Lewes
Milk, butter and whipped cream from nearby Lewes Dairy add a level of richness to The Buttery’s cuisine. Tim Bell’s Community Organics gives chefs Gretchen Herr and Aaron Miller impeccably clean seasonal produce, and honey from S&S Apiaries in Dover lends a touch of sweetness to dishes such as twin lobster tails with spiced honey-butter glaze. In season, stuffed local flounder gets a kick from local heirloom tomatoes and summer squash from the likes of nearby Freeman Farms and Fifer Orchards.
821 N. Market St., Wilmington
When Sean McNeice isn’t using Randall the Enamel Animal (an “organoleptic hop transducer module” invented by Dogfish Head) to infuse more hoppy flavor into beer, he and the Chelsea crew are busy pulling locals like 16 Mile, Victory, Yuengling, Evolution, Clipper City and, yup, Dogfish Head. Beer may be big at Chelsea, but McNeice also puts cheeses from Amazing Acres Goat Dairy in Elverson, Pennsylvania, to amazing use. For proof check on his duck confit pizza: blistered Belgian ale crust, sweet duck meat and wonderfully bubbly goat cheese.
2216 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington
Chef Chris D’Ambro learned quickly how big a deal Sunday brunch is to Columbus Inn patrons. That’s why he goes all-out with a full roast pig from Green Meadow Farms in Gap, Pennsylvania. The Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op visits twice weekly, delivering Amish-farmed tomatoes, parsnips, beets, celery roots and squash to the inn. The duck in D’Ambro’s handkerchief pasta and duck ragout comes from Pennsylvania farmers Joe Jurgielewicz & Son, known to many as Dr. Joe. “The product harvested nearby is fresher because it’s closer to the time it’s picked,” D’Ambro says. “Plus you’re supporting your neighbor and reducing your carbon footprint.”
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