Home News Dining Weekly business: Culinary Trail courage; Say cheese, Newark; and Fisker

Weekly business: Culinary Trail courage; Say cheese, Newark; and Fisker


DougphotoOver the years, the Delaware Tourism Office was a place populated by some talented people who lived under a cloud. That cloud was the  lack of state funding for tourism, even during boom times.

Much was made of the funding problem, but to little avail.

It was generally believed  in Legislative Hall that people would go to the beach regardless of how little  was spent on marketing and advertising.


With the economic downturn, nearly all states struggled with tourism funding. Delaware, to paraphrase an old slogan got smarter, faster and more innovative.

The latest  sign of this change was the Delaware Culinary Trail. The trail (see story in this edition) features two dozen restaurants – eight each in the state’s three counties.

Grab the code  when visiting 15 of  the restaurants and you get  a free cookbook, with recipes from the restaurants.

It took some courage on the part of the developers of the trail to pick out 24 restaurants out of the 1,400  in the state. That number is based on reviews from the website TripAdvisor, which carries 19,300 reviews of those restaurants. The goal was to feature restaurants that represent the food traditions of the state.

Check out the list on page 2 and feel free to offer your observations in our comments section when this column is posted online.

The trail is another  reminder of the economic impact of the restaurant industry, something that is lost on many of us outside the industry.

To the casual observer, restaurants have a high casualty rate and take a beating when times get tough.

Both of the above are true, but the industry has many thriving survivors and an amazing ability to adapt to changing conditions. Restaurants are also bit  by the buzz factor. Some rise and quickly flame out. We pay less attention to those spots that thrive for years and even decades by taking care of their customers. In the meantime, employment continues to grow as talented people  chefs and owners apply  sound business principles to their passion for good food.

Another heartening trend is the willingness of owners to work together on joint promotions such as restaurant weeks and charitable events.

While competition is intense is also true that clusters of restaurants in Rehoboth, Newark, Wilmington  and elsewhere add to the quality of life and  help neighborhoods thrive.

The cluster also provide a great alternative to sameness of national chains.

Again, congratulations to the Tourism Division and those who made the trail a reality. Keep the good ideas coming.

Melt Down in Newark

Sadly, the landmark Post House diners did not stay around long enough to make the culinary trail, although half a century is an eternity in the restaurant business. One Post House site that was quickly snapped up was the location on Main Street in Newark.

The new occupant, is  Melt Down, a cheese sandwich shop that will open on March 1.

Fisker  bidders emerge

Finally, the sad story of  plug-in hybrid maker Fisker Automotive and its plans to open at the former General Motors Boxwood plant near Wilmington may be coming to some sort of conclusion.

Bloomberg reports companies are  looking at  Fisker, with a Chinese auto company emerging as one possibility. Fisker has not assembled any of its Karma luxury coupes in six months after the battery supplier went into bankruptcy proceedings. The battery maker A123 Systems was acquired by a Chinese company.

Fisker has been hit with setback after setback and the former GM plant remains in mothballs after a federal loan that would have led to the assembly of a mid-sized Fisker hybrid was suspended. -Doug Rainey