Food & Drink – Maiale closes cafe, keeps food truck; Azteca’s birria; City Restaurant Week; Rosenfeld’s, Grain add locations

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Birria at Fiesta Azteca

Owner Billy Rawstrom and Susan Rawstrom announced via Facebook and website that the restaurant side of Maiale on Lancaster Avenue just outside Wilmington has closed.

“After 13 successful years of business, we have decided that the time has come to close the restaurant side of Maiale. The last two years have been difficult due to Covid, inflation, and lack of employees. We thought it was in our best interest to close the restaurant and focus on continuing the food truck and farmer’s market circuit,” Rawstrom wrote.

A schedule of food truck and farmers’ market stops is on the way.

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The restaurant and sausage shop owned by The Citadel and Johnson and Wales grad was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives during the Food Network Show’s lone visit to Wilmington.

Even with the closing of the brick-and-mortar side of Maiale, Billy Rawstom still has a lot on his plate, serving as a chef-instructor at the University of Delaware’s Lerner College of Business and Economics hospitality management program.

Fiesta Azteca and a nice birria

Plaza Azteca has quietly opened its location in Bear.

The former Ruby Tuesday’restaurant s comes with a spacious layout, a large bar, and contemporary decor, a far cry from the Day of the busier looks we sometimes see.

Fiesta Azteca is part of a group of dozens of restaurants stretching from Massachusetts to North Carolina. The largest concentration is in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Their nearest restaurant is in the Mexican food hotspot of Kennett Square.

The menu has the usual items. I checked out birria, tacos in a corn tortilla with shredded beef, cheese, and a  consommé/broth for dipping.

Birria, a dish from the Mexican state of Jalisco, is wildly popular out West and is gaining popularity on the East Coast.

Azteca’s version was nicely seasoned, although lovers of the spicier side of Mexican cuisine might find the accompanying red sauce a little on the mild side. Birria is available at several other taquerias and food trucks in northern Delaware.

City Restaurant Week returns

Coming late this month is the annual City Restaurant Week in Wilmington. The event, May 23-28, has 14 participating restaurants.

The event features two-course lunches for $15 and three-course dinners for $35.

Reservations are recommended with at least some restaurants in the fine dining category.

However, some big local names that have been nationally featured are not on the list, a possible reflection of soaring food expenses that put some items out of reach under the $15-$35 price point.

Click here for a listing from event sponsor Out and About, with some participants listing their offerings.

Rosenfeld, Grain openings

The growing Grain Craft Bar+Kitchen group of restaurants has opened its Trolley Square Wilmington location at the former Scratch Magoo’s. The newest Grain features dog-friendly outdoor dining as well as an all-day and weekend brunch menu. Coming next is a location at the University of Delaware STAR Campus.

Grain has half a dozen locations, including a coffee business at its location at the Lewes ferry terminal.

Rosenfeld’s opened a delicatessen on Marsh Road in north Wilmington under the name Rosenfeld’s Big Fish.

Rosenfeld’s got its start in Ocean City, MD, and added a second location near Rehoboth Beach.

Owner Warren Rosenfeld then teamed up with Big Fish Group of restaurants to open more delis, including locations in South Bethany and Wilmington – Doug Rainey

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