Two of the area’s best chefs team up to give Sussex a taste of haute country cuisine.
(page 1 of 3)
Chicken and corn chowder, shrimp and lobster pot pie, cajun meatloaf
Ryan Cunningham caught some hell for messing with chicken and dumplings.
The straight-shootin’ executive chef at Milford’s newest restaurant, Abbott’s Grill, might not be welcome at the Cracker Barrel anymore for his desecration. The nerve, serving gnocchi in place of shortening and flour. Somewhere, Paula Deen is fainting into her stand mixer.
“That’s definitely been the most controversial item on the menu,” says Chrissy Sarro, one of the restaurant’s managers. “We try to tell people that it’s not like their mothers’ chicken and dumplings. Some have said, ‘Screw you. We’re never coming back.’ And then others have loved it. That’s just Milford.”
That’s just Milford, a town of dichotomies—rent in twain by the Mispillion, straddling two counties, producing seven governors while harboring a countercultural icon such as comic book artist Robert Crumb. That’s just Milford, which, while beaming small-town American splendor, has welcomed armies of new families and retirees.
But on the restaurant tip, Milford hasn’t been nearly as welcoming. Sarro, former owner of the late Library Square Café for 10 years, has seen how fickle new locals can be about restaurants. “You’re definitely appealing to a lot of demographics and a lot of new people, so it can be kind of crazy,” she says.
Enter Abbott’s Grill, which uses some of that hard-won wisdom to position itself as a place that can please the town’s many palates. The Grill certainly has the guns to do it, and if its first few months of service are any indication, it could be in for a long run.
The man with the vision was Kevin Reading, chef-owner of the wonderful Nage in Rehoboth Beach. Reading, business partner Josh Grapski and Cunningham (an ex-Nager and former chef at Bonz in the Harrington casino) form the front office, along with Ryan’s brother, manager Matt Cunningham.
Page 2: Abbott's Appeals, continues...