Food notes: Capriotti’s, Sterling Grill, Pachamama, Sonora, LongHorn

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A Wilmington tradition for breakfast and lunch is back in business after being closed for 51 weeks.

The Sterling Grille quietly reopened last month at its Orange Street location downtown.

It has been several years since I stopped by, but there is no better place to get a stack of pancakes. The burgers are also first-rate.

The Sterling Grille is open from Tuesday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Breakfast is served all day.

Sorona headed to old Two Stones site

Sonora is heading to the former Two Stones restaurant site in Chesmar Plaza in the Brookside area south of Newark.

The restaurant had been at the David Finney Inn site in old New Castle. A major makeover for that restaurant is in the works.

The name is the same as a state in northern Mexico. However, Sonora’s menu is a mix of north of the border classics, including steak and chicken and waffles.

Two Stones vacated the location after moving to a new building off Route 273 in Ogletown at the former site of a Holiday Inn.

Two Stones started out at the Brookside location and has since added several locations.

Prior to Two Stones, a Piece of Ireland had a good run at the location.

Click here for an earlier story on Sonora.

Pachamama opens

Pachamama has opened on the Wilmington Riverfront. The Peruvian chicken spot had been in a building on Newark’s Main Street that has struggled to hold on to restaurants.

The Newark restaurant was also a short drive from The Chicken House, a long-running dining spot that features the well-seasoned rotisserie chicken and other examples of the wide-ranging cuisine from the South American nation.

Capriotti’s wingin’ it with expansion

Capriotti’s, now armed with a newly acquired chain, announced plans to open 30 new Capriotti’s shops and 30 Wing Zone locations.

No Wing Zone franchise deals were announced in Capriotti’s original Delaware territory. Wing Zone’s closest location is in Bowie, MD.

Capriotti’s got its start on Union Street in Wilmington but has long been based in Las Vegas, the home of co-founder the late Lois Margolet. Delaware and Vegas remain the largest markets in a nationwide footprint.

The company is now owned by Las Vegas resident Ashley Morris, who has brought in restaurant veterans to help build out its franchise system.

A southern Delaware Capriotti’s location is in the works. No word on the location, but coastal Sussex has several fast-growing areas

Capriotti’s would like its franchise owners to open Wing Zone locations and vice versa. In addition to its namesake, Wing Zone offers burgers.

Capriotti’s has more than 100 locations, while Wing Zone has 30 stores in the U.S. and an equal number of international franchises. The international focus of Wing Zone will give Capriotti’s insights into expanding overseas and in the Americas.

Thanks to a big carryout business, Capriotti’s weathered the pandemic. Its top sandwich remains the Delaware-developed Bobbie, a Thanksgiving meal on a sub roll. The company still plans to have 500 stores eventually.

A challenge for Capriotti’s is getting the right roll for its offerings. Picky Delaware residents have noticed differences in out-of-town Bobbie’s, steaks, and other specialties.

Additionally, Capriotti’s staff can’t simply lay on the cold cus. Turkeys for Bobbies have to be roasted daily.

LongHorn SteakHouse has signed in the ground.

A sign is in the ground for a new LongHorn Steakhouse on Concord Pike in north Wilmington at the site of Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

That means construction should get underway soon on the restaurant that had the typical Covid-19 delays. The Romano’s building, while not that old by Concord Pike standards, was razed.

LongHorn, like other chains, has been tweaking its layout to take into account to-go orders.

The mid-priced chain is part of the Darden restaurant empire that includes Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Cheddars, and higher-end steak establishment Capital Grille.

After standing pat for more than a decade with its one location in Bear, LongHorn is in an expansion mode, with a new restaurant in the chain mecca of Dover and now north Wilmington.

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