Wilmington has a big appetite for restaurants of all sorts. The newest broaden an already diverse palate. Dig in.
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Over this past year, an overflow of restaurant openings has enriched Wilmington’s already vibrant dining scene. Many of the new places have sisters or brothers in neighboring towns. Some are newcomers who offer something deliciously different. And there’s a full range of locations and moods, from waterfront views to center city slickness to neighborhood coziness. Enjoy stone-grilled pizzas, unique sushi rolls, burritos like none you’ve ever tasted, the finest of fine food and much more. It’s an all-new dining scene, and it’s more fun than ever.
2216 Pennsylvania Ave., 571-1492
The Columbus Inn served traditional fare to the people of Wilmington for more than 50 years. Three years ago, the owners closed the establishment to make way for a proposed condominium project. When the project failed to launch, new owners took over, renovated the place and revamped the menu. The new Columbus Inn, still housed in its original historic manse, was one of the most anticipated restaurant openings in years—and for good reason.
The inn manages a thoroughly modern makeover that still retains all its historic charm. The new menu takes a seasonal approach, with locally sourced ingredients and seasonal items.
“We’re jumping on the bandwagon of seasonal American, which essentially means getting as much of your food as you can locally,” general manager Rich Snyder says.
The classics remains, such as the Caesar salad and the filet mignon. New items include a scallop crudo and a halibut fillet with an onion and rice puree. The new menu appeals to customers young and old.
Tableside service was eliminated, but the U-shaped bar remains. There’s an extensive wine list and an off-the-beaten-path liquor list with choices from small, craft distilleries. Much of the original structure also remains, complete with that “deep, dark, rich wood feel to it,” Snyder says. Seating is available at the bar, in two dining rooms and on the patio.
The Columbus Inn is open every day of the week.
821 N. Market St., 482-3333
Chelsea Tavern sits at a central location in Wilmington—across the street from the splendid Grand Opera House.
The sleek-yet-warmly designed restaurant offers a seasonal menu with items made from scratch. “Anything that can be done, we do,” says owner-manager Joe Van Horn.
The Tavern’s most popular menu items are its pizzas, which are baked in a wood-burning oven. The menu also features 20 craft brews on tap, pan-steamed mussels and fries, classic fish and chips, and unique desserts including a banana bread pudding split. Happy surprises such as the unique fried-pickle appetizer are unlike other versions you may have tried elsewhere—and all are delicious.
Almost all ingredients are purchased locally. Some ingredients are even purchased here in Wilmington, on Lancaster Avenue.
“We have a real dedication to cooking from scratch,” Van Horn says. For show goers, the Tavern offers specials that get diners out the door before the curtain rises.
New for this fall: the Chelsea Tavern will be open for brunch and dinner on Sundays.
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