Welcome to the Club
Delaware’s two dining clubs may have a reputation for stuffiness, but, having kept up with the times magnificently, that rep is undeserved. Peek inside the new University & Whist Club and the kind-of-new Wilmington Club. Wine, anyone?
(page 5 of 5)
That kind of longevity is “a testament to the membership and governance of the club,” says manager Adam Pletcher. He took over in August as only the third manger in 75 years. “I feel very fortunate to be here,” Pletcher says. His charge: “To protect the long-standing traditions of the club.”
Both clubs have more than 400 members, and both are trying to attract younger ones. U&W is more aggressive in its efforts. In addition to offering the younger set dramatically reduced dues, the club is installing a pub-style bar downstairs, complete with tap beer and cheesesteaks and a general sports theme, including a pool table and antique shuffleboard.
U&W recently went through a transition in the kitchen as it hired executive chef Robert Lhulier from Union City Grille. As Smith points out, head chef is one of the most important positions at the club.
“In the end,” he says, “it’s what we’ve got to fall back on. Our members are here because this is a fine-dining club.”
The same goes, of course, for The Wilmington Club. Fine cigars, snifters of brandy, and rubbing elbows with a du Pont are heady enticements, but it’s the smoked eel and terrapin stew that keeps them coming back.