Celebrating Trolley Square

 

For the third straight year, the Trolley Square business community will join forces to present Taste of Trolley Square on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 1 to 5 p.m. Billed as a celebration of “All Things Trolley,” the event will feature small-plate food samplings at more than a dozen participating restaurants, craft beer, wine and spirits tastings, a sidewalk sale, street performers, kids’ games and a scavenger hunt. There is no admission fee but a photo ID will be required for the craft beer, wine and spirit tastings. Visit tasteoftrolley.com for more information.

Dinner in the Orchard

On Thursday, Sept. 7, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., join the Food Bank of Delaware and T.S. Smith & Sons in celebrating the beginning of the autumn harvest in Bridgeville with food provided by students from The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware. Tickets are $30 per person, covering dinner, wine and beer, and live entertainment. Proceeds will benefit The Culinary School at the Milford Branch. For more information, go to fbd.org.

A Taste of the Brandywine Valley

On Monday through Saturday, Sept. 11-16, 13 premier restaurants in Northern Delaware and Southern Chester County, Pa., will team up to present the fourth annual Brandywine Valley Restaurant Week. These owner-operated venues will serve prix-fixe menus all week, $15 for a two-course lunch and $35 for a three-course dinner. For the full list of restaurants, menus and more information, visit brandywinetaste.com.

Labor of Love

Maria Perdikis and her daughter, Petula, worked long shifts to keep the diner afloat.

She no longer puts in 18-hour shifts, but Maria Perdikis still works the grill at her restaurant, a Newport landmark for 35 years

The Original Newport Restaurant is celebrating 35 years in Delaware, but it can trace it origins to 1963 and Toronto, Canada. That’s when and where 17-year-old Maria Ricci, her mother and brother immigrated from Pisterzo, Italy. Her father had passed away 10 years prior, and Maria became the family breadwinner. She began working two jobs, as a dishwasher and a factory worker making lingerie, for a total of $7 a day.

Two years later, she married Sam Perdikis, a Greek immigrant. They soon had a daughter, Petula, and moved to the United States. Packing everything they had into their car, they moved in with Sam’s sister in Wilmington for two months. Sam eventually found work at the Hotel du Pont, while Maria stayed home to raise Petula. After a few years, she went to work at Strawbridge & Clothier at the Merchandise Mart in Wilmington, and they bought a home in Edgemoor Terrace.

Maria Perdikis says she is "blessed" to be where she is today.
Maria Perdikis says she is “blessed” to be where she is today. Photo Anthony Santoro

After 15 years in the U.S., they decided to sell the house and move back to Toronto to be with their families. But Sam struggled to find a job, they had to live in a small apartment, and within a year they moved back to the States in North Wilmington. That’s when a friend informed them about a little diner down the street from them that was for sale.

The couple sold their house and put their life savings into the restaurant, naming it The Newport Plaza Family Restaurant. Tragically, Sam passed away from a heart attack soon after, leaving Maria and her daughter, who was now in college, to run the restaurant by themselves. This meant that whenever employees backed out of working their shifts, Maria had to cover for them. She worked the grill, waited tables, and cleaned up after closing time.

“Sometimes,” Perdikis says, “Petula and I would be crying together, because we had to make it. I didn’t want to close.” Some days they both worked 16-18-hour shifts, even while Petula was taking a full course load at West Chester University. (She went on Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., for her masters in music performance.)

In 1994, when the lease came up for the diner, Perdikis decided she wanted to move down the street a quarter of a mile to 601 W. Newport Pike, where The Original Newport Restaurant stands today. The larger location enabled her to expand the restaurant and accommodate more customers, many of whom followed her from the old location. Among her customers are former Vice President Joe Biden, along with governors and other public officials. Singer Johnny Mathis has even stopped at the diner.

And no wonder. The restaurant has a solid reputation for tasty, ample and affordable (cash only, no credit cards) food. Breakfast is served all day, and includes the usual bacon and eggs and pancakes as well as a western omelet with salsa on the side. Chicken and dumplings is the diner’s most famous dish. Perdikis makes her own crab cakes with lump meat, chicken croquettes, rice pudding, and bread pudding. Cole slaw, potato salad and chili are other popular choices.

There is a family atmosphere at the restaurant, and that applies to the staff as well as the customers. Perdikis, a petite, shy woman with an Italian accent, prefers to be behind the grill, but she also loves to interact with her customers and be certain they are satisfied with the food and the service. She still has goals, including being named in the breakfast category on The Best of Delaware list, the annual awards bestowed by Delaware Today and its readers.

Reflecting on more than three decades in business and the life she has forged for herself, Maria Perdikis is grateful. She remains close to her daughter and her granddaughter, Luciana, 14, and her restaurant is thriving.

“I appreciate everything that my people did for me, my customers and my employees,” she says. “I appreciate America and what it did for me. I worked really, really hard to be where I stand, and I appreciate everything, because I didn’t have anything. I’m so blessed to be here today.”

Delaware Fun-A-Day

Join in on the sixth annual community-centric art project Delaware Fun-A-Day by simply picking a creative, available theme and registering it at DelawareFunADay.com by Wednesday, Aug. 30. Then, each day in September, create a 6”x6” or 5”x7” piece of art based on your theme. Lastly, show your creation at the Delaware Contemporary from Friday, Oct. 6, to Sunday, Oct. 8. This event is free to participate and free to attend. The Delaware Contemporary is at 200 S. Madison St., Wilmington. Hours are 5-9 p.m. on Oct. 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Oct. 7, and 12-5 p.m. on Oct. 8.

Celebrating Our Heroes

 

On Sunday, Aug. 27, the Heroes End of Watch Benefit will be held to honor all Delaware fire, EMS, law enforcement and military members who sacrificed their lives in protecting ours this past year. All proceeds go to the six families of those lost heroes. The main event is at Delaware Park and Casino picnic grove, with every fire company and police agency in Delaware displaying a piece of equipment. Members of the military will also participate. The picnic grove will include tables, tents, food truck vendors and specialty drinks. Volunteers are needed to assist with tables, raffles and parking. Questions? Email heroesmemorialrun@gmail.com or go to Facebook @HeroesEndofWatchRun.

Wilmington Downtown Brew Fest

The Wilmington Downtown Brew Fest will be held on Saturday, Aug. 12, from 12-7:30 p.m. at Chelsea Tavern. There will be more than 100 brews representing more than 40 local breweries, three live acts, two DJs, 11 restaurants and two food trucks. A designated VIP area will include “special” brews and tasty finger foods, and free Lyft incentives will be provided along with Market Street’s First Home Brew Competition. Contact Dan Beemler at Chelsea Tavern for more details: 482-3333.

National Oyster ‘Week’

Through Thursday, Aug. 10, Chesapeake & Maine Restaurant will celebrate National Oyster Day all week long at Rehoboth Beach. Enjoy $1 or $2 oysters or an oyster shooter flight consisting of three oysters with Seaquench and Citrus with Yuzu Koshu and gin, a Bloody Mary shooter with analog vodka, and a salt and pepper cup cocktail shooter with whole leaf gin. For more information, visit dogfish.com.

Where to Watch the Game

This season brings college football and intriguing NFL action back to a bar near you. Because of the multitude of options—number of TVs, choice of beers on tap, best food—we’ve come up with this directory to guide you through the selection process.

8th & Union Kitchen

801 N. Union St., Wilmington; 654-9780
Number of TVs: 5
Beers on Tap: 16, Bottled Beers: 38
Crowd Favorites: half-price burgers, tacos, appetizers, and $1.25 oysters.

BBC Tavern & Grill

4019 Kennett Pike, Greenville; 655-3785
Number of TVs: 7
Beers on Tap: 15, Bottled Beers: 60-75
Crowd Favorites: Nachos, caprese salad, house-made meatloaf, and BBC Burger.

Big Fish Grill

720 Justison St., Wilmington; 652-3474
Number of TVs: 9
Beers on Tap: 7, Bottled Beers: 26
Crowd Favorites: Fresh, chef-inspired seafood dishes, large outdoor patio and lounge on the Riverfront.

Buffalo Wild Wings

Multiple locations: Bear, Dover, Limestone Rd.,
Middletown, Newark, Rehoboth
Number of TVs: 42
Beers on Tap: 24, Bottled Beers: 18
(Features sports lottery at Bear, Dover, Limestone Road and Middletown locations)
Crowd Favorites: Boneless or traditional wings in any of 16 signature seasonings or sauces.

Chelsea Tavern

821 N. Market St., Wilmington; 482-3333
Number of TVs: 4
Beers on Tap: 31, Bottled Beers: 214
Crowd Favorites: Wood burning oven pizza, Chelsea cheeseburger, and BBQ pork nachos.

Columbus Inn

2216 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington; 571-1492
Number of TVs: 5 (and a projector screen)
Beers on Tap: 8, Bottled Beers: 28
Crowd Favorites: Lobster fried rice, filet sandwich, and CI signature crab cakes.

Deer Park Tavern

108 W. Main St., Newark; 369-9414
Number of TVs: 21
Beers on Tap: 24, Bottled Beers: 31
Crowd Favorites: Wings, mix combo, and nachos.

Delaware Park

777 Delaware Park Blvd., Wilmington; 994-6700
Number of TVs: at least 37 at each location, including many 100-inch screens and one 150-incher
Beers on Tap: 5-6, Bottled Beers: 15
Three bars – Club 3, The Cove, and the Sports Bar – all featuring plenty of pro football action plus the sports lottery
Crowd Favorites: Flame-broiled cheeseburgers, dollar hot dogs, cheese pizzas from Picciottis, wing zings, jalapeno crab fritters, crab fries, crab cakes, and lobster.

Ernest & Scott Taproom

902 N. Market St., Wilmington; 384-8113
Number of TVs: 11
Beers on Tap: 29, Bottled Beers: 30
Crowd Favorites: Blackened mahi tacos, loaded fries, and burgers.

FireStone Roasting House

110 W. St., Wilmington; 658-6626
Number of TVs: 24
Beers on Tap: 8+, Bottled Beers: 30
Crowd Favorites: Firestone original pizza, spinach tomato ricotta pizza, and Firestone burger.

Gallucio’s

1709 Lovering Ave., Wilmington; 655-3689
Number of TVs: 8
Beers on Tap: 16, Bottled Beers: 15
Crowd Favorites: Pomodoro pizza, California turkey Ruben, sautéed seafood medley, stromboli, and homemade lasagna.

Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen

Newark, Bear and Kennett Square, Pa.
Number of TVs: 12
Beers on Tap: 24, Bottled Beers: 60
Crowd Favorites: Fried pickles, street tacos, and Cubano

The Greene Turtle

250 S. Main Street, Suite 101, Newark; 454-1592
Number of TVs: 48
Beers on Tap: 24, Bottled Beers: 30+
Crowd Favorites: Crab dip, Chesapeake burger, and hog hammers.

Grotto Pizza

16 locations in Delaware
Number of TVs: 15-25
Beers on Tap: 6-14, Bottled Beers: 16-22
Crowd Favorites: Boneless wings, appetizer combo, and broccoli bites.

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

Wilmington and Newark
Number of TVs: 4
Beers on Tap: 12-20, Bottled Beers: 7-9
Crowd Favorites: Cheesesteak eggrolls, voodoo chicken pizza, crab cake sandwich, petite filet mignon, scallops, and house nachos.

Kelly’s Logan House

1701 Delaware Ave., Wilmington; 652-9493
Number of TVs: 18 TVs including a big screen
Beers on Tap: 22, Bottled Beers: 18
Crowd Favorites: Buffalo wings, chili nachos, and dirty bird grilled cheese. 

Kid Shelleen’s

14th & Scott, Wilmington; 658-4600
Number of TVs: 6
Beers on Tap: 13, Bottled Beers: 55-60
Crowd Favorites: Shelleen’s nachos, buffalo wings, and chicken quesadilla.

McGlynn’s Pub

Three locations: Polly Drummond, People’s Plaza, Dover
Number of TVs: 22 with NFL Package, all games all week
Beers on Tap: 32, Bottled Beers: 40+
Crowd Favorites: Wings, nachos, burgers, and prime rib.

Mexican Post

3100 Naaman’s Rd., Wilmington; 478-3939
Number of TVs: 5
Beers on Tap: 5, Bottled Beers: 24
Crowd Favorites: Fajitas, chimichangas, and nachos.

Pike Creek Pub

4809 Limestone Rd., Wilmington; 235-8368
Number of TVs: 12
Beers on Tap: 8, Bottled Beers: 18
Crowd Favorites: All draft beers $3, Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coronas are $3.

Route 2 Tavern

4305 Kirkwood Hwy, Wilmington; 256-0803 
Number of TVs: 15
Beers on Tap: 12, Bottled Beers: 15
Crowd Favorites: All draft beers are $3, Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coronas are $3.

Stanley’s Tavern

2038 Foulk Rd., Wilmington; 475-1887
Number of TVs: 40
Beers on Tap: 25, Bottled Beers: 66
Crowd Favorites: Award-winning baby back ribs, wings, and tavern nachos. (Also features sports lottery.)

Stone Balloon Ale House

115 E. Main St., Newark; 266-8111
Number of TVs: 4
Beers on Tap: 16, Bottled Beers: 50
Crowd Favorites: Beef & bacon lollipops, keg fries, and short rib pot roast.

Tonic Bar & Grille

111 W. 11th Street, Wilmington
777-2040
Number of TVs: 15
Beers on Tap: 16, Bottled Beers: 24
Crowd Favorites: Crab cakes, fried calamari, and lobster tail.

Trolley Square Oyster House

1707 Delaware Ave, Wilmington;
384-7310
Number of TVs: 6
Beers on Tap: 16, Bottled Beers: 30
Crowd Favorites: Live music, open until 1am daily, Best of Delaware winner for lobster roll, and large raw bar.

Two Stones Pub

Three locations: Newark (294-1890),
Wilmington; (439-3231)
& Kennett Square (610-444-3940),
Number of TVs: 6-10
Beers on Tap: 20-25, Bottled Beers: 40-90 at each location
Crowd Favorites: Fry piles, hog wings, and chicken wings.

Washington Street Ale House

1206 Washington St., Wilmington
658-2537
Number of TVs: 9
Beers on Tap: 24, Bottled Beers: 20
Crowd Favorites: Draft beer selection and Sunday brunch with a build-your-own bloody mary bar.

Summer Seafood Nights

Summer and seafood go together, and that means more seafood options are popping up around town. Trolley Square Oyster House in Wilmington has rolled out an early Happy Hour on Fridays starting at noon with specials ending at 6 p.m. and then starting again at 10 p.m. Specials include a Bloody Mary bar, buck-a-shuck oysters, and a late night bites menu complete with lobster-crab guacamole. Wilmington’s Columbus Inn has a BBQ and Crab Feast on the last Thursday of every month throughout the summer. The feast is $50 per person and includes all you can eat crab and a variety of barbecue options. Harry’s Savoy Grill on Naamans Road is offering a Tuesday night summer special through Labor Day featuring a 1½-pound whole Maine lobster. For more information and full menu options, check Trolleysquareoysterhouse.com, columbusinn.net, and harryshospitalitygroup.com/harrys-savoy-grill.