Taste of the County
Here are a few restaurants that offer real down-home cookin’. Fried oysters, anyone?
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The big red neon sign beckons customers who crave chicken-fried steak, waffles, a hot turkey sandwich with gravy and homemade desserts. Others are drawn to Kirby & Holloway Family Restaurant for its delicious dinner rolls. About 6,000 are made from scratch each week.
Kirby & Holloway (656 N. Dupont Hwy., Dover, 734-7133), a fourth-generation restaurant, has sat along U.S. 13 in Dover since 1948.
It’s one of the longstanding restaurants that have drawn locals for decades and have weathered changes in consumer whims and the economy. Sambo’s Tavern in Leipsic and The Boondocks in Smyrna—both popular places to get crabs—and Hall’s Family Restaurant in Wyoming are a few of the places where you can get a taste of down-home cooking in Kent County.
“They’ve sort of proven the test of time,” Delaware Restaurant Association CEO Carrie Leishman says of these restaurants. “They don’t go with the food trends of today.”
And especially during hard times, people go back to the places they remember from their childhoods. These are places where they can get comfort food at an affordable price, Leishman says.
John Dobry, concierge at Sheraton Dover Hotel, says Sambo’s is popular among NASCAR drivers and visiting media folks. The rustic tavern sits on an inlet on the Leipsic River. It operates from late March until the end of November. During the busy months, it’s hard to get a table on Fridays and Saturdays, Dobry says.
“It’s very popular,” he says. “That’s the place to go for Delaware blue crabs.” Owners Ike and Elva Burrows buy them right off boats that tie up on the dock out back. Pabst Blue Ribbon and Budweiser signs light up the place. You’ll also find a pool table and jukebox, and large picture windows in the dining room offer expansive views of the river and marshes. Delaware Today named Sambo’s Best Pub-Tavern Downstate and Best Crab Cakes Downstate last year. If you visit on a May or September race weekend at Dover International Speedway, you might wander in to find former NASCAR drivers Kyle Petty and Richard Petty cracking open some crabs.
Boondocks (825 Lighthouse Road, 653-6962), which also closes in the winter, serves crabs, steamed shrimp, hush puppies, chicken wings, fries, corn and clams. You can wash it down with a green rum-based drink called the Swampwater. Owner Pat Keeler displays her stained-glass art on the wall. Boondocks is a great place for true local fare—and an atmosphere to match.
Owner Jim Gray has run the 5,200-square-foot Kirby & Holloway for almost 30 years. Gray says he takes pride in his home-cooked dumplings and doesn’t buy anything already breaded. The 225-seat restaurant bakes its own bread—including 150 loaves of wheat bread per week.
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