Food & Drink: Wilm. Restaurant Week, Ocean View brewpub, Booth House opens, Le Cavalier honored


Booth House opens in Old New Castle.

Opening on Tuesday was the Booth House Tavern in Old New Castle at the former David Finney Inn.

The historic building has been home to a number of restaurants, the most recent being Sonora, which recently reopened in the Brookside neighborhood south of Newark.

This time around, the Booth House will have more options, including DFI Cafe, which opened in early June. DFI will feature pastries and coffee from Newark’s popular Little Goat Coffee Roasting company.

Like Colonia taverns of the past,  Booth House has upstairs rooms for overnight stays under the David Finney Inn name.

In the works is a small brewery that will operate under the Hammergod name.

Booth House Facebook posts say the establishment  will offer a “modern twist on the colonial-tavern lifestyle” and become “the place for our town to gather, eat, drink, and be merry.”

The opening of Booth House means the colonial town will have three restaurants in close proximity on Delaware Street.  The others are Jessup’s Tavern, which has a colonial look and feel and Belgian beer,  and Nora Lee’s, a New Orleans-style restaurant.

There’s no word on the status of the New Castle Cafe further up the street, which closed during the pandemic.

Thanks to the “Biden effect” and Delaware’s national park, which includes New Castle’s old courthouse, the city is seeing more visitors.  

16th year for Restaurant Week

There’s still time to catch Wilmington’s 16th annual City Restaurant Week, which ends on Friday.

Lunches run $15 and dinners $35, with selections ranging from Italian to Japanese. 

This year marks the 16th annual City Restaurant Week, which will begin Monday, June 13, and continue through Friday, June 18.  City Restaurant Week 2021 is presented by Chase Bank.
“As I have been saying for some time now, getting vaccinated has its rewards,” said Mayor  Mike Purzycki. “And we are now reaping the benefits of increased numbers of vaccinated individuals as Wilmington’s dining scene re-opens with a vengeance. Wilmington is home to some amazing restaurants that are cherished by residents and visitors alike, and this week is an excellent opportunity get out with friends and family to support an old favorite eatery or discover a new eating spot that you can return to again and again. I look forward to seeing to seeing everyone out on the town next week as worries about COVID-19 diminish daily and life begins to return to normal.”

“City Restaurant Week enables us to create fresh menus for the spring, plus it puts emphasis on trying new things and new restaurants within our community,” says Dan Butler, owner, of Piccolina Toscana. “CRW is a reminder that this city has remarkable dining options in close proximity to one another.”   

The participating restaurants will offer two-course lunch menus for $15 and three-course dinner menus for $35. The restaurants include  Café Mezzanotte, Chelsea Tavern, Crow Bar, Dorcea, La Fia Bistro, Mikimotos, Piccalina Toscana, University and Whist Club of Wilmington and Walter’s Steakhouse.

Not on the list are Bardea, Le Cavalier (formerly the Green Room) and Tonic, all in downtown. 
Sponsors for this year’s event include the City of Wilmington, Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, WJBR, Out & About Magazine, United Explorer Card from Chase, and Cape May Brewery.

SoDel breaks ground on Ocean View brewery-restaurant

SoDel Concepts early this month broke ground on Ocean View Brewing Company, the hospitality company’s 14th restaurant, and second brewpub. The Rehoboth Beach hospitality group plans to open the new brewpub in early 2021.

 The property is near NorthEast Seafood Kitchen, another SoDel restaurant in Ocean View.

“The Ocean View-area community has always been so welcoming,” said Scott Kammerer, president of the hospitality company, which will open Matt’s Fish Camp in nearby  Fenwick Island this month. “We have so many loyal customers in Ocean View, and we are excited to bring fresh, homemade beer and delicious chef-driven food to the area.”

In 2019, SoDel Concepts opened its first brewpub, Thompson Island Brewing Company. The restaurant is just outside the entrance to Rehoboth Beach near sibling  SoDel’s Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar.

Jimmy Valm, head brewmaster at Thompson Island, will oversee both breweries. While OVBC will feature unique beers, it will also feature some of Thompson Island’s most popular brews.

Matt Patton, vice president of construction, oversees the project, which is being built from the ground up. He is working with Lighthouse Construction and Fisher Architecture in developing the 200-seat restaurant.

Brewpubs have fared well in Delaware. With the heft and expertise of SoDel behind it, Thompson Island was a hit from the start. 

If memory serves, over the past couple of decades, only one restaurant and on-site brewery in Delaware closed its doors.

One pioneer, Iron Hill has gone from one location in Newark to 20 that includes the Delaware Valley, South Carolina, and Atlanta. Stewart’s in Bear is more than two decades old.

Le Cavalier named ‘Best Historic Restaurant

Le Cavalier and  Chef-Partner Tyler Akin were honored for having the  “Best Historic Restaurant”  by Historic Hotels of America.

The restaurant is in the former Green Room at the Hotel Du Pont in Wilmington.

“The hotel,”  as it is known in Delaware, is operated by PM, a part of Buccini/Pollin Group. Hotel DuPont is a longtime member of  Historic Hotels.

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