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 Best-Kept Dining Secret in Delaware—Really
“Haute cuisine is alive and well in Delaware,” says chef John Gangloff—just not in a place you’d expect.
A visit to Stonegates Retirement Community in Greenville, where Gangloff is the executive chef, reveals that it is quite possibly the best-kept culinary secret around.
High-end dining is being marginalized in even the fanciest establishments, but not at Stonegates. Gangloff, along with his family and a sizable army of kitchen staff, hosts an array of gourmet dinners, harvest lunches and holiday parties throughout the year. All are luxurious, but it’s the gourmet dinners—held only two or three times yearly—that exhibit truly breathless grandeur.
From a gorgeously appointed private dining room—resplendent in peach-colored fanned napkins, chandeliers and creamsicle damask-print wallpaper—white-gloved waiters circulate with pâté de foie gras speckled with black truffles, with filet mignon and butter-poached lobster, with duck confit in phyllo dough coronets and 30-year-old balsamic vinegar.
“The residents here, they’re educated, their palates are refined, they’re world travelers,” Gangloff says. “I try to give them what they want.”
A 23-year fixture at the gated community, Gangloff was previously stationed at the historic Lord Baltimore Hotel, catering to the stars who performed at adjoining Morris Mechanic Theatre. Tales of Sir Lawrence Olivier’s 2 a.m. cravings for grilled sanddab and Vincent Price’s culinary prowess are the norm during a chat with the chef.
Stonegates hosts another gourmet dinner this month, but unless you’re a resident, or the guest of a resident, your invite’s gone the way of the tallow sculpture—so make a friend there quickly. The meal will be unforgettable. —Matt Amis