The Great 2017 Restaurant Roundup: What's New on Delaware's Dining Scene

It’s difficult to keep up with the state's ever-evolving eatery landscape. Here’s a list of openings—and a few closings—from the past year.


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What happens when a bunch of chain places close? More space becomes available for local places. After a spate of closings in North Wilmington—Macaroni Grill, Lone Star Steakhouse and others—there has been a renaissance of other fast-casual concepts around the state. Notable among them is El Diablo (5329A Limestone Road, Wilmington, 439-4541), which opened at The Shops of Limestone Hills. The wildly popular Cali-style burrito place now numbers four, making it a local chain of sorts.

Delaware has caught onto the poke (say poh-kay) wave. There are now two Poke Bros. (230 E. Main St., Newark, 358-7020; 4571 Kirkwood Hwy., Wilmington, 273-3480), where fans can build their own bowls of the popular Hawaiian sushi.

Gretchen and Alex Sianni, owners of Trolley Square’s De La Coeur et Pâtisserie, took over the Bon Appetit Gourmet Food Shoppe from former owner Mickey Donatello. De La Coeur Café et Boulangerie (3629 Silverside Road, Wilmington, 478-4344) offers a wide assortment of housemade goods, including baguettes, croissants and pastries, in addition to sandwiches and coffee drinks.

Related: Meet the Power Couple Behind De La Coeur Café

De La Coeur owners Gretchen and Alex Sianni//Photo by Leslie Barbaro

In spring, Wilmington said a heartfelt goodbye to Leo & Jimmy’s Delicatessen, which had served breakfast and lunch on Market Street for 87 years. A small ceremony, led by Mayor Mike Purzycki and Marty Hageman, executive director of Downtown Visions, was held in memory of co-owner James “Jimmy” Hackett.

And in October, chef David Leo Banks took over Harry’s Seafood Grill (101 S. Market St., Wilmington, 777-1500) and Harry’s Fish Market + Grill at the Wilmington Riverfront Market next door, which he had owned in partnership with Xavier Teixido since 2003. Otherwise, the restaurant remains the same. Teixido now focuses on his Harry’s Savoy Grill, which he has owned for more than 30 years, and Kid Shelleen’s.

Noteworthy openings in Wilmington included Dino’s Steaks (7A Trolley Square, Wilmington, 543-7678), which offers classic cheesesteaks and wings, and as of late January is under construction and slated to merge with a renovated Opa! Opa!; Del Pez Mexican Gastropub (400 Justison St., Wilmington, 691-7974), which serves modern Mexican in a contemporary cantina setting; Bull Bay Caribbean Cuisine (900 N. Orange St., 661-1100), the first new Jamaican restaurant to open in years; and Agile Indian Grill (209 E. Market St., Wilmington, 543-4958), where you build your own meal from traditional favorites.

Related: At Bull Bay, Flavorful Jamaican Food in an Upscale Setting

Bull Bay's oxtail//Photo by Javy Diaz

In Newark, notable openings included Metro Diner (4601 Ogletown Stanton Road, Newark, 273-0850), which was featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diner’s Drive-Ins, and Dives.” It offers comfort favorites such as meatloaf and shrimp and grits. In September, the town welcomed Èvero Spezia (1130 Capital Trail, Newark, 444-0500), a new American restaurant with some Italian flair, at the site of the former Soffritto Italian Grill. The Italian name Évero Spezia means “true spice.”

Related: At Évero Spezia, Eclectic Dishes and Astounding Bargains

Tuna tartare at Évero Spezia//Photo by Javy Diaz

Vino Vita at Fromage Culinaria (400 S. Ridge Ave., Middletown, 378-7297) is the new iteration of Fromage, a shop opened in 2011 by owner Christopher Pride. The 40-seat restaurant serves wine by the glass, craft beer and whiskey to complement its offering of small dishes and more than 100 types of cheese.

In Rehoboth Beach, new restaurants have been popping up faster than Dolle’s Candyland can wrap its signature salt water taffy. Among the most anticipated openings of the year was Bluecoast Seafood Grill & Raw Bar (30115 Veterans Way, Rehoboth Beach, 278-7395). With a massive outdoor deck stocked with fire pits, games and a pop-up stage for live entertainment, the 10th in SoDel Concepts restaurants offers something for everyone.

Related: Two Highly Anticipated Restaurants Debut in Rehoboth Beach

Bluecoast's wings

Enjoy upscale dining, then dancing to the music of live deejays at G Cask & Kitchen (234 Rehoboth Ave., 278-7677), which opened in Lula Brazil’s former location. Expect influences from around the world, such as ox tails, a Caribbean staple, and ceviche.

Loosen your belt before visiting The Blue Hen (33 Wilmington Ave., 278-7842) in The Avenue Inn. You’ll find sumptuous small plates such as chorizo-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon and lobster toast, as well as comfort-food entrées with a twist. 

Related: Rehoboth's Blue Hen Offers Unusually Fun Foods

SOFT-SHELL CRABS ATOP GOAT CHEESE RISOTTO AT The BLUE HEN//PHOTO BY LESLIE BARBARO

In Lewes, Gilligan’s Waterfront Restaurant (134 Market St., Lewes, 644-7230) reopened in an all-new, more efficiently designed, more contemporary building. Grab a drink, order the crab poutine, then head out to the expansive outdoor deck for a peerless view of the canal. 

The Pig and Publican (516 E. Savannah Road, Lewes, 313-4487) located in the Beacon Motel, serves Belgian-style pub fare and half a dozen beers on tap, which pair perfectly with its bitterballen (cheese-stuffed meatballs) served with crispy kale and roasted tomato-harissa aioli.

New to Bethany is the Big Chill Beach Club (27099 Coastal Hwy., 402-5300) at the pavilion of Delaware Seashore Park. Created by the owners of Fork+Flask at Nage in Rehoboth Beach and Lewes’ Crooked Hammock Brewery [LaVida Hospitality Group] with the state of Delaware, it is an outdoor scene like no other. The baja-inspired menu complements the outstanding views of the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River. (Do not attempt this until the restaurant reopens for the season.)

Related: 7 of the Best Beach Restaurants for Savoring Sunsets

Our Harvest (1106 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island, 581-0377) sources its products and ingredients daily, hearkening back to a slower, more rustic dining experience. Featuring platter-style “feasts” for two to “smalls” that are suitable for sharing, this concept is for those looking for a quality dining experience using simple, approachable flavors.

Other openings at the beaches include Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls (67 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 727-0411), a sister to the original Mason’s in Annapolis; sleek Miyagi Ramen Bar (19266 Coastal Hwy., No. 6, Rehoboth Beach, 567-2385), which boasts homemade noodles; and Mug & Spoon (15 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 212-5163), which offers fresh coffee and ice cream—sometimes together.

Related: Is Lobster the New Crab? • Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at the Beach

Mason's Famous Lobster Rolls//Photo by Leslie Barbaro

Ice cream concoctions at Mug & Spoon

The closing of Pilot Town Fish Co. at Paynter’s Mill made way for A Different Kitchen (16388 Samuel Paynter Blvd., Milton, 313-4014). Since May, the restaurant has served Asian comfort foods such as bao buns, dumplings and pho, as well as entrées such as teriyaki strip steaks.

After the Drunk’n Baker closed in Smyrna, Dover welcomed two new bakeries. Chef Ludovic Bezy, most recently of Michele’s at Dover Downs, and his wife, Anita, opened La Baguette (323 S. Governors Ave., Dover, 741-0180) early last year in the former Frankfurt Bakery space. The menu includes baguettes and other breads, French pastries, sandwiches, soups and other meals to go. Tuesday through Saturday, The Bavarian Bakery (1819 S. Dupont Hwy., Dover, 744-8598) serves German and European breads to complement its full delicatessen of Boar’s Head meats and cheeses and imported German lunch meats and sausages.

Maverick Texas BBQ and Smyrna Music Hall (19 W. Commerce St., Smyrna, 215-806-2184) serves Texas barbecue and live music four-nights per week. A short walk away is the Lemon Leaf Café (2 N. Main St., Smyrna, 389-8454) in the former Inn at Duck Creek space. It delivers hefty portions of comfort food, from signature chicken and dumplings to Sunday brunch.

Related: This New Restaurant Features Texas-Style BBQ and Live Music

Maverick Texas BBQ and Smyrna Music Hall//Courtesy of Dave Dettra

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February 2018

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Website »

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The area’s largest sale of gently used books has been scheduled by the Wilmington branch of the American Association of University Women. The 49th annual Dollars for Scholars Used Book Sale, to...

Cost: free

Where:
Concord Mall
4737 Concord Pike
North Wilmington, DE  19803
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Sponsor: American Association of University Women
Telephone: 302-428-0939

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By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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A day of tomfoolery, debauchery and great beer. Come enjoy unlimited beer tastes from the best beers each Delaware brewery has to offer and YOU decide who wins the heavyweight belt for 2018. 

Cost: $29 online, $35 door

Where:
Crooked Hammock Brewery
36707 Crooked Hammock Way
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Crooked Hammock Brewery
Telephone: 302-644-7837
Contact Name: Jon Schorah
Website »

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The Singing Sergeants is the official chorus of the United States Air Force. Stationed at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., the group is one of six musical ensembles that comprise...

Cost: Free

Where:
Loudis Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
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Notbybreadalone Ministries presents Feeding the Hungry Outreach. All are welcome to come and partake of food, fun and fellowship. Those who desire a better way of life through Jesus Christ are...

Cost: Free

Where:
2nd and 3rd Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801


Sponsor: Notbybreadalone Outreach Ministries
Telephone: 442-0440
Contact Name: Ministers Wayne and Stephanie Dumpson
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Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will host a four-session diabetes educational program, The Diabetes Connection, on February 6, 13, 20 and 27 from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. Pre-registration is required. As...

Cost: Call for cost.

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-629-6611 x2288
Contact Name: Nanticoke's Diabetes Education Department
Website »

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Soprano Alissa Rose is a native of Billings, Montana whose multi-faceted career has taken her around the United States and abroad.  She completed her Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of...

Cost: $15 adults; $10 UD faculty/staff/alumni & seniors; $5 students

Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

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This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

FREE COMMUNITY EVENT: MID-WEEK WORD REFRESHER Come join us at the Mid-Week Word Refresher every Wednesday at Faith Victory Christian Center from 11:00am - 12:00pm. Refreshments will be...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Faith Victory Christian Center
301 Commonwealth Avenue
Claymont, DE  19703
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Sponsor: Faith Victory Christian Center
Telephone: 302.354.6726
Contact Name: Alvin Walker
Website »

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Clearing the mind and learning to think not thinking is Zen awareness. Taking the appropriate action in this moment is Zen. Once you know this in your body, walking, standing, sitting down,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark
420 Willa Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: UUFN
Telephone: 302.368.2984
Contact Name: Richard Field
Website »

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An ensemble of five dynamic and brilliant players in their own right, Christiana Winds explores the exciting and unique tradition of wind chamber music from the 18th century to the present. In...

Cost: $15 adults; $10 UD faculty/staff/alumni & seniors; $5 students

Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

More information

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This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Francesca Russello Ammon will explore the decades following World War II when rapid growth and construction in the United States coincided with a time of large-scale destruction. This author talk...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hagley Museum Soda House
298 Buck Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum and Library
Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Carol Lockman
Website »

More information

Francesca Russello Ammon will explore the decades following World War II when rapid growth and construction in the United States coincided with a time of large-scale destruction. This author talk...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hagley Museum Soda House
298 Buck Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Carol Lockman
Website »

More information

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Cokesbury Village White Elephant Sale March 2nd & 3rd, 2018 Furniture, clothing, jewelry, china, kitchenware, tools, appliances, pictures and picture frames, luggage, lamps, and books.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cokesbury Village
726 Loveville Rd
Hockessin, DE  19707
View map »


Sponsor: Cokesbury Village Residents Association
Telephone: 302-235-8578
Contact Name: John Prince

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Glory of Stories introduces young visitors to art and the Museum through a story reading followed by an interactive tour of relevant works of art and a studio art project. This program encourages...

Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

This noontime lunch series on the first Friday of every month pairs an engaging 30-minute discussion about a work of art with a delicious lunch in the Thronson Café. Café lunch voucher included...

Cost: $12 Members, $14 Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

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Join us for the Art Loop Opening of Terence Roberts' photography exhibit - Inner Light. This show features light-paintings, photographs made at night of gardens, landscapes, and trees. The...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Delaware Center for Horticulture
1810 N. Dupont Street
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Sponsor: Art Loop Wilmington
Telephone: (302) 658-6262
Contact Name: Marcia Stephenson
Website »

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Based on the Dreamworks animated film, the adventures and antics of NYC zoo animals who escape and end up in Madagascar. Enjoy this rollicking youth musical.  Friday March 2nd at 7:00 p.m.,...

Cost: Free. Voluntary donations.

Where:
Aldersgate United Methodist Church
2301 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE  19803
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Sponsor: Aldersgate Youth Players
Telephone: 302-478-2575
Contact Name: Church office staff
Website »

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Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
Website »

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The Ruby Stanley One-Act Festival is a Drama League tradition.  Join us for a fun evening of one-act plays, and vote for your favorite to represent us at the regional festival.  Performances are...

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-1172
Website »

More information

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Cokesbury Village White Elephant Sale March 2nd & 3rd, 2018 Furniture, clothing, jewelry, china, kitchenware, tools, appliances, pictures and picture frames, luggage, lamps, and books.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cokesbury Village
726 Loveville Rd
Hockessin, DE  19707
View map »


Sponsor: Cokesbury Village Residents Association
Telephone: 302-235-8578
Contact Name: John Prince

More information

Build a model ship at home and enter it into our home-build contest! Build your ship at the Copelane Maritime Center using our STEM-based design plans! Free-play area for all ages, plus many...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
1124 E. 7th Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Based on the Dreamworks animated film, the adventures and antics of NYC zoo animals who escape and end up in Madagascar. Enjoy this rollicking youth musical.  Friday March 2nd at 7:00 p.m.,...

Cost: Free. Voluntary donations.

Where:
Aldersgate United Methodist Church
2301 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE  19803
View map »


Sponsor: Aldersgate Youth Players
Telephone: 302-478-2575
Contact Name: Church office staff
Website »

More information

The Ruby Stanley One-Act Festival is a Drama League tradition.  Join us for a fun evening of one-act plays, and vote for your favorite to represent us at the regional festival.  Performances are...

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-1172
Website »

More information

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