Bardea Food & Drink to open on Friday

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Scott Stein, left and Chef Antimo DiMeo.
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Former Philadelphia restauranteur Scott Stein and Chef Antimo DiMeo will open Bardea Food & Drink on Friday, Sept. at 11 a.m. The restaurant had long been in the works for downtown as part of the effort to bring more dining options.

The restaurant will be located at 620 N. Market Street in downtown Wilmington. Proceeds from the opening day’s sales will benefit Wilmington’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

Bardea, pronounced: bar-DAY-ah, is the Italian term for the “goddess of food and drink.” The 5,000 square foot, 120-seat restaurant, which will also feature a rectangular bar with 20 stools and outdoor seating, will utilize ingredients from local Delaware Valley farms and purveyors. Bardea will featureoffers with both Italian and American origins.

For the restaurant’s beverage program, Stein and DiMeo tapped national spirits, wine, food and travel journalist Brian Freedman, who focused on consistency, taste and presentation when assembling the seasonally-changing beverage selections, a release stated.

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Every wine in the restaurant has Italian heritage — though not all are from Italy. Some are crafted from Italian grape varieties grown around the world, and Freedman helped to create a cocktail list of “remastered classics, including 10 popular cocktails with the restaurant’s own spin,” the release noted.

Bardea will also feature a rotating selection of regional craft beers,as well as drinks specifically conceived to pair with any number of dishes on the menu.

Stein and DiMeo are currently developing what they call “an aggressive weekday happy hour,” which they will unveil after the restaurant opens.

Stein and DiMeo say that while their new restaurant will showcase a number of classic Italian dishes, they will be anything but “old school, red gravy Italian classics.” The pair are calling the menu “interpretive Italian,” saying they are remastering classic Italian dishes with locally-sourced products, but with their own spin on each menu item.

Bardea will also be utilizing various breads and other grain products from Lost Bread Co., a popular Philadelphia bakery, in house.

“I’m from Southern Italy, where fish and seafood play a vital role in our cuisine, and our menu embraces ingredients and preparations from Italy’s coastline as well as other regions,” said DiMeo, who worked under Chef Gennaro Esposito at La Torre Del Saracino — a two-time Michelin Star winning restaurant located on the Amalfi Coast, just south of Naples. “Scott and I always try to set ourselves apart from everyone else, and while the perception of Italian food may generally be pasta with red sauce, we are going to purvey a much different type of Italian dining experience with our inspired interpretations of classic Italian dishes.”

Prices range from $6 to $10 for Snacks; $7 to $9 for Vegetables; $10 to $15 for Pizzas; $9 to $16 for Small Plates; $15 to $17 for Pastas; and $15 to $29 for Large Plates.

“We love food and the process of creating innovative, delicious cuisine which our guests can share,” said Stein. “We encourage sharing pastas and dishes for the table so that our guests can try many of our menu items and experience a multitude of flavors and preparations. Antimo developed all of our dishes, but we have an incredible working relationship for collaboration. He dreams up the ideas, and presents them beautifully, then we go to work to figure out how to make them work operationally and how to make everything look gorgeous.”

Stein, who grew up in Lafayette Hill, created and operated Philadelphia restaurants Red Sky and Pearl, and most recently built and sold Ardé Osteria with DiMeo.

“The decision to open a restaurant in Wilmington came after witnessing Wilmington’s recent downtown resurgence, which has seen the area become much more of a dining destination than it was just a few years ago,” said Stein. “We had the lease five years ago, and we’ve been waiting to open this concept until the market was ready for us.”

Bardea will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight., and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. The restaurant will serve lunch every day until 3 p.m., with weeknight happy hour and dinner beginning at 5 p.m. Between lunch and dinner service, Bardea will serve a mid-day snack menu featuring raw bar and pizza selections.

To learn more about Bardea Food & Drink by visiting http://BardeaWilmington.com.

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