Dining notes: Restaurant sales jump not felt by indies; Cajun seafood boom continues

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Delawareans are consuming more restaurant fare, although independents are not feeling the love.

A study from TOP Data and Zenreach indicates that in a recent two-week period, Delaware posted a 14 percent gain, the 11th best among the 50 states. Ranking first was the state of Washington.

By contrast, neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania saw revenue losses of 24 and seven percent respectively.

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Overall restaurant spending was down only one percent nationwide.

Carrie Leishman, president of the Delaware Restaurant Association, says the added dining and takeout dollars are not going to independent establishments. She estimates that most independents saw a 50 percent drop in sales, while fast-food chains gained market share. Declines for businesses with banquet rooms is down by a larger percentage.

Crab Du Jour opens a second location

CrabDuJouropened a location near Christiana Hospital earlier this month with a location in the Fairfax Shopping Center in north Wilmington is slated to open in the coming weeks. The chain’s third location is in Dover.
The Christiana location is at the site of the former Michael’s, a restaurant that closed after a long run at the location.

CrabDuJour consists of 60 independently owned and operated locations in 12 states and offers what is described as “home-style seafood with generous portions”.

Offerings include seafood baskets, Po’Boys, and Gumbo.

The first restaurant opened in Raleigh, NC in 2019.Plans call for 130 restaurants nationwide by the end of 2021.

blankWhatever happened to Robot Crab?

While on the subject of restaurants with crab in their name, no opening ever received more media attention than Robot Crab on Capitol Trail, just outside Newark. After all, how many restaurants served your meal “Jetson’s style” with a $20,000 Chinese robot?

Even the Washington Post left the Beltway to do a story, not to mention many Delaware Valley media outlets.

But the robots were not enough and a much lower key crab spot, Crabbian House, opened in the same location last year.

Like a host of other crab spots that have opened, the menu features seafood baskets, Dungeness crab, as well as Po Boy sandwiches and gumbo.

The location has an up and down history. While Soffritto operated at the location for several years, that restaurant and operators have struggled with the large footprint that included a banquet room added a few years before the Italian dining spot closed.

Two Claws to open second location

Finally, Two Claws, which opened a while back at the Governor’s Square shopping center in Bear plans to open a second outpost in the Prices Corner shopping center, soon to be the home of a new Target store.

Two Claws features, you guessed it, a Cajun seafood boil and related fare.

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