A Hit at Hagley
Dan Butler makes history at Hagley. Plus, Luca banks on classic Italian in Millsboro, and discover the best-kept dining secret in Delaware.
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The owners of Luca Ristorante and Enoteca are taking traditional, regional Italian cuisine, homemade pastas and bread, and organic small-batch wines—and putting them in the vault. Luca, which opened in the fall in downtown Millsboro, is housed in a former Delaware Trust Bank building, circa 1916. The 6-by-10-foot steel vault in the center of the room is just a taste of the Old World charm.
Owners Davide and Christine Jones, along with general manager Paul Cullen, turned the old bank into an intimate, Tuscan-tinged retreat with pressed tin ceilings and hardwood floors. The vault houses a single table, the setting for chef’s tasting dinners. “It looks like you walked into a place in Italy,” Cullen says. “There’s nothing like this place around.”
Chef Joe Churchman, who last plied his trade in Philly, gives rise to rustic, regional Italian cuisine. “Each dish is from a different region,” Cullen says. “There might be a truffle-mushroom dish from Piedmont, an Abruzzi dish, a Tuscan dish and so on.” Luca also serves family-style Sunday suppers.
Cullen, who’s worked for Italian wine importers PortoVino, helps source certified and organic Italian wines and craft Italian beers. Traditional leaning aside, Luca (303 Main St., Millsboro, 934-5822, lucaristorante.com) employs some modern technology during its regular wine tastings. Videoconferencing via Skype and a projection screen allow diners to interact with wine producers in Italy. —Matt Amis
Page 3: The Best-Kept Dining Secret in Delaware–Really