Ready, Set, Sweat!

The New Year offers some trendy options to spice up your health and wellness regimen, but you still have to put in the work

The New Yorker recently published an article about a pill that seemingly eliminates the need for a workout: Just swallow it and get the same results as if you had exercised. One problem: At the end of the article, it’s revealed that none of the inventors had tried the pill—an ominous commentary on a supposedly miracle drug.

So, as we enter 2018, it seems there still is nothing that will take the place of sweat equity. But the good news is there are plenty of new and trendy health and wellness offerings to take your mind off the monotony of the typical gym—or home—workout. There are online challenges, innovative classes, “social” sports, fitness apps and clean eating.

Take the Plank/Squat Challenge

Planks and squats are two simple, basic exercises that have become the focus of online “challenges.”

The plank is a push-up like exercise with the body’s weight borne on forearms, elbows and toes. Its popularity has increased over the last decade or so, perhaps because it’s a total body workout, perfect for a toned core, requiring no equipment and only enough floor space to accommodate your body.

The squat has been around forever and is considered the king of lower-body exercises. The standard squat is done with a barbell resting on the person’s shoulders, but it can be done without weights.

Plank and squat challenges usually last 30 days, with participants tasked with gradually increasing the time in the pose every day or two. A plank challenge might start with holding the pose for 30 seconds and end a month later at three minutes. Like the plank, the squat challenge uses no weights, instead focusing its poses on the glutes, thighs and core. One online 30-day challenge starts at 50 squats and ends with 250.

Research suggests it takes an average of two months to make something a habit, so start now and you’ll be doing this on a regular basis by March.

Variety is the Spice of Life

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the hottest exercises on the health and fitness scene—for good reason.

Classes, typically 30 minutes or less, toggle between high and low intensity for increased fat burning. Instead of relying on steady-state cardio exercises (where your heart rate stays at a certain threshold), HIIT’s on-again, off-again intensity can lead to rapid results.

Scott McCarthy, owner and personal trainer at Balance Strength & Fitness Center, recommends HIIT.

Scott McCarthy, owner and personal trainer at Balance Strength & Fitness Center near Fourth Street and Greenhill Avenue, added HIIT classes a year-and-a-half ago. “It’s become one of the fastest growing parts of our business,” he says. “It makes up 15 percent of our membership base.”

In addition to HIIT, small group training has become increasingly popular. The reason? “Clients want to show up, work out (efficiently) in a social setting, and get good results,” says McCarthy.

Trainers cap sessions at 10 participants, so they can actively monitor everyone’s technique.

Bodies in Motion

Another trend is “functional fitness”—classes dedicated to making everyday movements easier. Think walking up and down stairs, playing football with the kids, and picking up bags of groceries.

Says McCarthy: “It’s the antithesis of the CrossFit image, which sometimes teaches improper technique and could lead to injuries. Clients are now hyperfocused on (proper) movement, which can improve balance, strength, flexibility and coordination.”

Located off Kentmere Parkway and Rockford Road, FIT Delaware provides a full range of fitness opportunities, including personal and group training. Trainer Todd Brown says he has noticed a big shift in the industry from last year’s focus on “traditional exercises by body part” to functional training. Brown likes to change the angles of exercise every couple of days. By altering the angles, his clients work a different portion of the same muscle. He sees the most success by working different muscle groups multiple times a week.

“This summer,” Brown says, “I worked with a couple of college athletes to get them in shape for the fall season using this methodology. At the end of our time together, they all thought they were much stronger at the beginning of the season than in years past.”

Body-Weight Training

Body-weight training or working without weights has become another in-demand alternative to using cumbersome, sweat-stained exercise equipment.

Body-weight training allows you to work out at home, in the park or even at the gym without any equipment. Getting started is easy and can consist of a couple of different exercises like push-ups, planks, burpees, jump squats, lunges, box jumps and more.

Social Sports

As we age, being and staying active becomes an important aspect of our lives. We often build our activities around our most important relationships—family and friends. And that’s how social sports started.

Locally, the movement led to the creation of two organizations geared to adults of all ages: Delaware Sports League and Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance (PADA)—Delaware satellite league.

“People are starting to discover that health and wellness are vitally important within our daily lives,” says Bob Downing, co-founder and owner of Delaware Sports League, headquartered in Wilmington.

“There has been a renaissance of thinking, specifically with young professionals, who realize that how we spend our time with ourselves and others is extremely important to our well-being.”

The league creates a less intensive exercise environment for people that’s accessible to every person, not just athletes. Says Downing: “We’ve evolved quite a bit over the years. In 2018, we are refocusing our mission on pairing physical and mental wellness together.” 

For those looking for a new challenge (or sport), there’s also PADA. Founded in 1985, PADA provides “opportunities to learn, teach and play Ultimate (frisbee) while fostering community, character and competition within the greater Philadelphia region.”

In Delaware, PADA provides opportunities for nearly 300 players per year and—since a key feature is its inclusiveness—it always welcomes new players. The league attempts to ensure that teams are “fair and balanced to create a fun and competitive environment,” says Andrew Wisor, PADA Delaware council member of the Philadelphia-based association.

If you’re interested in joining, Wisor suggests the spring league. “It tends to be the most beginner-friendly league because it’s when we get the most new players joining. There’s always a lot of teaching going on, both on and off the fields, from captains and players alike.”

Fitness at Your Fingertips

Too busy for the gym?  Maybe fitness apps are for you. They allow you to view videos anywhere—phone, smart TV or computer—making working out easy, fast and convenient for those always on the go.

Fitness Blender, for instance, provides “workout videos for every fitness level—absolutely free.” It’s an ideal solution for the workout beginner or those who may be intimidated by the meatheads at their local gym.

There’s also Daily Burn, a free, 30-day trial app that reverts to an affordable monthly paid plan for those eager for a more tailored plan led by professional trainers.

Clean Eating

In addition to exercise, clean eating is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Clean eating follows a simple list of tenets: eat less refined foods (no donuts and bagels!), eat more whole foods (produce, grains, etc.), eat less meat and limit sugar and salt intake. BBC’s Good Food predicts that this year veganism and plant-based proteins will be the trendy options at your local restaurant or grocer.

Karen Igou, owner and operator of Delaware Local Food Exchange, has been a leader in the clean eating movement from her store in Trolley Square.

“People know the basics to clean eating,” she says. “It follows what our mothers and grandmothers taught us. However, [clean eating] is not easy. Most of the focus is on healthcare (the results) and less on eating quality food [to begin with],” says Igou.

Delaware Local Food Exchange provides a bountiful selection of local produce, snacks, sundries and meat. Igou sources the highest quality meat and vegetable-based proteins for her customers and in-house prepared foods. Most popular is the grass-fed chicken salad, which can sell out within hours after it goes on sale.

Says Igou, “I’ve noticed a lot of customers going vegan for both the environmental and the health benefits. To meet demand, we stock fun vegan choices like enchilada pie, tempeh chicken salad and lentil loaf.”

In addition to clean eating, Igou says that her “typical fitness routine—yoga, meditation, core strengthening exercises, and a gratitude journal”—keeps her healthy.

While you might opt to skip the gratitude journal, you have plenty of options to choose from as you plan your 2018 fitness regimen. Join a gym, hire a personal trainer, or take a brisk walk. Just remember to eat well and move around a lot.

Giving the Gift of Experience

Some creative ideas for every personality type on your holiday list

This holiday season, let’s be a little more creative in our gift-giving. Instead of buying essentially inconsequential things, let’s think about creating memories. Here’s a list of fun, local experiences that the various personality types in your life will be sure to remember.

For the Art Enthusiast

Painting with a Twist has taken Delaware by storm with its mantra: Sip. Paint. Relax. Four locations in New Castle County offer a fun night out with step-by-step painting instruction from local artist instructors. Classes include all materials—easel, paint, and mat—as well as complimentary adult beverages and soda.

In addition to its typical lineup, Painting with a Twist Wilmington owners Stephanie and Jay Pomante host two recurring special events—Paint Your Own Pet (PYOP) and Painting with a Purpose.

PYOP allows you to submit a quality picture of your dog or cat (or other pet) to have it pre-sketched on your canvas by one of the instructors before you arrive to the class.

Bi-monthly Painting with a Purpose classes raise funds—50 percent of the sales—for a specific nonprofit organization. The 2018 February and March recipients will be, respectively, the Pennsville Community Arts Center and the Alzheimer’s Association.

1812 Marsh Rd., #409, Wilmington, 746-2907, paintingwithatwist.com.

For the Nature Lover

Longwood Gardens is “anything but dreary” during the winter months, says Patricia Evans, communication manager. New next year, in tandem with its Winter Blues Festival (to be held in March), Longwood will have blue flowering plants throughout the main conservatory.

“It will be filled with plants like poppies, hydrangea, cornelius,” says Evans. “The Conservatory will be a picture-perfect setting for amateur and professional photographers.”

In addition, there will be blue-inspired workshops and lectures like “Fabric to Dye For,” where participants will be able to make their own indigo dye vat.

Evans recommends purchasing a membership to save on food and classes. The best part about membership levels two and above is that “you can be flexible in who you want to bring to visit the Gardens,” says Evans. So bring your mom, dad, friend or significant other with you as you explore the great outdoors, indoors.

1001 Longwood Rd., Kennett Square, Pa., 610-388-1000, longwoodgardens.org

For the Handy(wo)man

NextFab’s Woodshop. Photo courtesy of NextFab

NextFab is Wilmington’s newest makerspace, where artists, woodworking enthusiasts, computer whizzes and entrepreneurs can learn, grow and make things. Located in the West Center City neighborhood of Wilmington aptly named the “Creative District,” the third NextFab (there are two in Philadelphia) occupies 10,000 square feet in a former photography studio.

Says Laate Olukotun, director of marketing: “November and December are the busiest times in the space because people (members) are making gifts for their family and friends.”

Plus, to get you into the holiday spirit, NextFab will offer “…a handful of holiday workshops like ‘Make Your Own Electric Snowflake,’ where you will solder and work with circuit boards,” says Olukotun. This class is open to members and non-members ages 10 and up.

In addition, new this year, NextFab will offer four woodworking class (gift) packs, which will include a fully guided experience through a series of discounted classes and include a NextFab membership. Here are the options:

$50 – Make Your Own Cutting Board
Pilot Membership:
• Access to classes for one month
Included classes:
• Orientation
• Shop Safety
• Wood Preparation

$150 – Learning the Lathe
Pilot Membership:
• Access to classes for one month
Included Classes:
• Orientation
• Shop Safety
• Intro to Lathe
• Bowl Turning

$250 – Woodworking Foundations
Community Membership:
• Three days/month for two months
Included Classes:
• Orientation
• Shop Safety
• Wood Preparation
• Table Saw
• Finishing Basics
• Hand Tool Basics

$500 – Complete Techniques
Community Membership:
• Three days/month for four months
Included Classes:
• Orientation
• Shop Safety
• Wood Preparation
• Table Saw
• Finishing Basics
• Hand Tool Basics
• Intro to Lathe
• Bowl Turning

503 N. Tatnall St., Wilmington, 477-7330, nextfab.com

For the Sports Fan

The 2018 Wilmington Blue Rocks offer entertaining minor league baseball. Instead of splurging for full or half-season packages, try one of the more affordable Mini Plans. There are three packages: 6, 9 or 12 games; day of the week, and the flex plan. All Mini Plan holders receive: A member gift (next year will be a Blue Rocks cap), an invitation to the member appreciation picnic on July 24, tickets to fireworks or giveaway games, and a flexible ticket exchange policy (and much more). In addition to those holder benefits, “each plan provides customers with a dedicated sales representative,” says Stefani Rash, director of ticket sales.

If the Mini Plan is not enough, give a full-season plan so your recipient not only receives a commemorative booklet, but also a plaque with his or her name on their season seat.

801 Shipyard Dr., Wilmington, 888-2015, milb.com.

For the Aspiring Writer

Have a budding writer in the family? Whether they’re bloggers, poets, fiction or nonfiction writers, the 2018 Bay to Ocean Writers Conference hosted by the Eastern Shore Writers Association has something for them. The Saturday, March 10, conference at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Md., will have hands-on learning workshops focused on the “craft of writing,” specific genres, publishing and marketing, and social media for writers. The keynote speaker will be critically acclaimed author Christopher Tilghman, author of five novels who teaches at the University of Virginia.

Register by the end of the year for the early-bird price of $95. Regular price is $120 for non-members; $95 for members; and $55 for students with valid ID. The registration cost includes continental breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks and all sessions, including the keynote.

Chesapeake College: 100 College Circle, Wye Mills, Md., easternshorewriters@gmail.com, easternshorewriters.org.

For the Beer and Wine Aficionado

The Dogfish Head From Grain to Glass two-hour tour leads you through off-limit parts of the brewery for a more in-depth look at the brewing and distilling process. The tour costs $30 per person with a maximum tour capacity of 20, so register early. In addition to the beer and cocktail tastings, you’ll walk away with Dogfish Head pint and shot glasses.

During the off-months, tour times may vary, so call ahead to ensure tour start times. Tours are booked on a first-come, first-served basis and are for those 21 or older.
6 Cannery Village Center, Milford, 888-dogfish, dogfish.com.

Total Wine & More offers more than just libations and gifts. It also hosts various beer, wine and spirits classes for the serious enthusiast at its Claymont location on Naamans Road. Topics range from introductory wine classes to an advanced class focused on refining one’s palette (I hear Super Tuscan wines are quite fine). Total Wine & More also arranges private wine or beer classes for a minimum of 14 attendees up to the capacity for the room. Visit their website for a list of upcoming classes.
Northtowne Plaza, 691 Naamans Rd., Claymont, 792-1322, totalwine.com.

For the Rock Fan

Firefly 2018 pre-sale passes are now sold out, so why not head to Wilmington’s darling theater, The Queen. Now managed by Live Nation, The Queen has “turned it up to 11” with its rock-heavy lineup thanks in part to Talent Buyer Christianna LaBuz, who has brought more regionally and nationally known acts to the historic venue. Here’s a short list of notable upcoming performances:

February: The Wailers (2/8); Less than Jake (2/16);
Blues Traveler (2/22)

March: Anders Osborne (3/15); Drive-By Truckers (3/28)

Still interested in attending Firefly? It will be held at Dover International Speedway on June 14-17, 2018.
Or if your recipient loves all types of music genres, consider a digital music subscription to one of the popular streaming sites like Spotify, Pandora or Apple Music for an on-demand, ad-free experience.
Firefly: 1131 N. Dupont Hwy., Dover, 855-281-4898 (ticket support), fireflyfestival.com.

The Queen: 500 N. Market St., Wilmington, 730-3331, thequeenwilmington.com.

For the Athlete

Open from late November through February, the Riverfront Rink is the perfect place to bring the family or your significant other for a leisurely skate. The ice rink holds up to 350 guests and admission is only $8 for adults and $5 for children. Skates can be rented for $3 per person. Open skate is available Monday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m. and skate sessions (1.5 hours minimum) are in effect Friday through Sunday at times posted on the website. The Riverfront Rink will be open through March 4, 2018. If you’re feeling extra generous this holiday season, the rink can be rented for private parties for 150 guests starting at $2,500.

308 Justison St., Wilmington, 650-2336, riverfrontrink.com.

For the Home Cook
(who takes pictures of all their food for Instagram)

Delaware Technical Community College (DTCC) offers a wide range of personal enrichment courses for those who want to expand their knowledge or technical abilities. All courses are hands-on and led by a strong network of adjunct instructors.

“This spring, there will be a range of culinary classes including vegan cooking, dumplings and tapas, samosas and flatbreads, and sushi,” says Lisa C. Hastings-Sheppard, senior special programs director in the Office of Workforce Development and Community Education.

In addition to its culinary classes, says Hastings-Sheppard, “we offer three photography courses—introductory, intermediate and advance—which allow budding photographers to learn about technique, composition and most of all, how to capture a great shot.”

And to complement all the photos you’ll be taking, DTCC will provide a Photoshop class, where individuals can learn how to enhance and edit their work. The DTCC Continuing Education spring course catalog will be out soon, so make sure to check your mailbox.

George Campus, 300 N. Orange St., Wilmington, 830-5200; Stanton Campus, 400 Stanton-Christiana Rd., Newark; 454-3956, dtcc.edu.

Gifts With Good Taste

Here’s a smorgasbord of satisfying food and drink options that are easy answers to your gifting dilemmas

The clock is ticking, and you still haven’t finished your holiday shopping. In addition to buying for family and friends, you need presents for your dog-sitter, housekeeper, and administrative assistant. You’ve also got a stack of event invitations, which means you need to stock up on host and hostess gifts.
Lower your stress level by relying on a present that’s sure to please. Everyone needs to sup and sip. Here are a few delicious ideas.

A bottle—or more—of cheer

This go-to gift is the usual choice for the person who’s throwing the party. You can’t go wrong with a bottle of wine or a six-pack. But it’s also ideal if you know that several people on your shopping list have a penchant for a certain type of beer or a local wine.

Many area purveyors are offering special releases or packages during the season. Dogfish Head, the big daddy of Delaware’s craft beer scene, has released a 12-pack with four varieties of ales, including Sixty One, an exclusive that is a hybrid of continually hopped 60 Minute IPA and Syrah grapes. The other ales in the pack are 60 Minute IPA, 90 Minute IPA and Indian Brown Dark IPA. Look for the set at stores throughout Delaware. dogfish.com.

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant has released Reindeer’s Revenge, a four-pack of an American-style Belgian golden ale with flavors of grapefruit, spice, and banana. For the holidays, you can also purchase four-packs of Russian Imperial Stout and 750-milliliter bottles of Iron Hill’s special reserve selections. (Buy a case of reserves and you’ll get 10 percent off.) Iron Hill’s growler gift pack includes the 64-ounce bottle, two glasses with the company logo and a $20 gift card. ironhillbrewery.com.

Local brewers aren’t the only ones highlighting the season. Chaddsford Winery’s Holiday Spirit is a spiced red wine with a hint of sweetness, cinnamon and cloves. You can drink it warm or cold with an orange peel. chaddsford.com.

If you’re not sure what your wine-lover likes, consider a gift card from Penns Woods Winery, also in Chadds Ford. You can buy $25 to $200 cards online. They’re delivered via UPS. pennswoodsevents.com.
Frank Pagliaro of Frank’s Wine in Wilmington says many customers are buying his wine-of-the-month club memberships for friends. “That always seems to be a huge gift item,” he says. “For $149.99, you get a bottle each month and the opportunity to purchase more of that wine for 25 percent off during that month.” He expects that bourbon, rye, and Irish whiskey will be popular gift items since these categories of spirits are “on fire” right now. frankswine.com.

Don’t know whether they like Grey Goose or Tito’s? Give the mixologist in your life all the fixings for the perfect cocktail with a subscription to the Shaker & Spoon Cocktail Club. The monthly delivery is a box with three recipes and everything needed to make 12 drinks—except the alcohol. shakerandspoon.com.

Spirited weekend

If you have a serious Dogfish fan in the family, buy him or her the Spirited Weekend package offered by Dogfish Head Distilling Co. Held from Jan. 12-14, the weekend includes two nights at the Dogfish Inn in Lewes and guided tours of all the Dogfish Head properties in coastal Delaware, including Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Dogfish Head Brewings & Chesapeake & Maine. That’s not all. The package also features an exclusive bottle of Rum Casked Whiskey in a handmade wooden box, a Moscow Mule happy hour at Striper Bites (the restaurant next to the inn), a fireside chat with Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione, a mixology class, and a discount code to use on spirits at the Milton brewery. Transportation to the Dogfish Head properties is included. dogfishheadbrewery.ticketleap.com.

Winter coffee break

Gifts that go down easy aren’t limited to booze. This season, Brandywine Coffee Roasters, started by Brew Ha Ha! founder Alisa Morkides, is offering Doe Run, a limited release blend of Gustavo de Jesus Rivera Colombian micro lot and Costa Rica Cereza Roja Natural. It’s a light roast combination that will take the chill off winter mornings. According to Morkides, it’s a full-bodied blend with tasting notes of cocoa, raspberry, cranberry, and ginger snaps. brandywinecoffeeroasters.com.

The roast is also available at the Brew Ha Ha! cafés, which are now selling holiday latte drinks, including Candy Cane Latte, Frosted Gingerbread, White Mocha Matcha, and Salted Caramel Mocha. brewhaha.com.

Carnivore’s delight

For the meat-eater in your family, consider The Meat House’s Butcher’s Club Membership. The recipient will receive a choice of one to 12 options each month for six months. Selections might include filet mignon, jumbo shrimp, cowboy steaks, prime New York strip or rib-eye. If you just want to purchase a special item from the Chadds Ford shop, peruse exotic sausages made with wild boar, alligator or pheasant. themeathouse.themeathouse.com/pa-chaddsford.

You can also sign him or her up for the Stock Yards Steakhouse Club, offered by Harry & David. There are three- , six- and 12-month options. Despite the name, the selections feature more than red meat. An oven-roasted turkey comes in November, for instance, and spiral-sliced ham is the April feature. harryanddavid.com.

Local favorites

If you’re traveling during the holidays, and want to give your hosts a taste of the First State, there are plenty of options.

If you’re not going far, Grotto Pizza sells frozen, shrink-wrapped bake-at-home pizzas. grottopizza.com.
Claymont Steak Shop uses a special wrapping process for those who want to transport subs out of the immediate area. claymontsteakshop.com.

Bring your Delaware “transplant” a sub from Claymont Steaks. Photo Anthony Santoro

And both of these Delaware-based businesses offer gift cards. “They’re popular as stocking stuffers and thank-you gifts for clients and employees,” says Demi Kollias, owner of Claymont Steak Shop, which has three locations in New Castle County.

Put together a package of local ingredients, including products from Wilmington Pickling Company. You can find them at Locale BBQ Post in Wilmington’s Little Italy. (Dan Sheridan owns both businesses.) localbbqpost.com.

The pickles are also available at Janssen’s Market, which increases its supply during the holidays to meet demand. janssensfinefoods.com.

Add a box of chocolates from Govotos, which has been part of area family holidays since it opened in 1894. There is a location downtown as well as one in Talleyville. Prefer to send by mail? The shop ships orders from Oct. 1 through May 15. Gift certificates are also available. govatoschocolates.com.

There are several area bakeries that sell goods that are beloved holiday staples. Serpe & Sons Bakery in Elsmere reopened in October 2016 after a devastating fire. Once again, you can grab some Italian pastries or cookies and a slice of tomato bread for yourself. serpesbakery.com.

You can also buy Italian goods, from panettone to homemade cannoli to prosciutto, at Papa’s Food Market in Little Italy. Search Papa’s Food Market on Facebook.

Bountiful basket

Those who don’t want to DIY a gift basket can turn to the pros. In north Wilmington, Janssen’s Market is the go-to place. “Gift baskets are always popular,” says Paula Janssen, who owns the store with her

A bountiful gift basket from Janssen’s Market. Photo courtesy of Janssen’s Market

parents. But not just any gift basket. “Fruit baskets are no longer as common—very few families can eat an entire basket of fruit before it goes bad,” she notes. She says the team prefers to work with the giver to personalize a basket to suit the recipient’s preferences. It may include several pieces of fruit.
Note that Janssen’s is still the place for hard-to-find items that were once holiday staples. Picture plum pudding, fruitcake, mincemeat and stollen, a fruit bread.

Meal plan

When all else fails, there’s the gift card to the recipient’s favorite full-service restaurant. “You’re not giving just food; you’re giving an experience,” says Xavier Teixido, owner of Harry’s Savoy Grill and co-owner of Kid Shelleen’s Charcoal Grill & Saloon.

You won’t be the only one opting for an easy way out. “Each year, our gift card sales increase,” Teixido says. It helps that restaurants like Harry’s Savoy Grill offer completely digital transactions. Not only can you buy them online, but you can also send them digitally to the recipients, who can redeem them using their mobile phones. “You need a last-minute gift, you can send it to them or print it out and take it to their house,” says Teixido, who acknowledged that many people still feel more secure with a card in hand. harryshospitalitygroup.com.

Get in Line for CP Furniture

Executive Director Andrew McKnight says the furniture is all handmade and of the best quality. Photo courtesy of CP Furniture

Offshoot of nonprofit Challenge Program offers standardized but distinctive pieces, appealing to more residential and commercial clients

Trainees of the Challenge Program—a Wilmington-based nonprofit that provides construction and life-skills training for Delaware’s at-risk youth—are known for creating custom pieces for area establishments. Think honeygrow, the bar tops at all Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen locations, other local restaurants and some Philadelphia companies.

Now, helmed by founder and Executive Director Andrew McKnight, the organization is entering a new phase with an offshoot program called CP Furniture. Distinctive, handcrafted pieces are being standardized and incorporated into this new furniture line, opening the door for residential and commercial clients—and more clients in general—verses the custom piece approach.

“We decided that with a line of furniture, focusing more on manufacturing and less on custom work, we could better utilize our workforce and increase margins and profits,” says McKnight, who explains that all profits will go directly back into the Challenge Program.

By standardizing design, CP Furniture can bring in graduates of the six-month Challenge Program and offer them fulltime positions with benefits. McKnight describes a CP Furniture position as a transition job from the Challenge Program into entry level outside employment.

McKnight says the CP Furniture pieces are premium quality, so customers can expect a higher price point (Prices were not available at O&A press time). Depending on the piece, the furniture is made with custom fabric, hand-tied springs—all handmade and of the best quality, he says.

Right now, he’s focusing on the Mid-Atlantic region, but in the future, national orders aren’t out of the question. Visit cpfurniture.org to see options like sit-stand desks for the office or at home, tables, seating—like the contemporary Lillian Chair available in walnut, cherry, oak, birch and maple—entertainment consoles, side tables and more.

“I hope we do better than break-even,” says McKnight. “I hope we become a thing. We’re manufacturing furniture, employing significantly more grads. We want to create a buzz around it and market it and make money to put back into program.”

Comfort Food, Local Sources, Exotic Spices

Bibimbap with steak from Homegrown Café. Photo Jim Coarse

Those are some of the trends area restaurants are adapting for the cooler months

What you put in your mouth has surprising parallels to what you put on your body. The restaurant world—much like the clothing world—follows fashions and trends.

Think of it in terms of that scene in The Devil Wears Prada, in which Meryl Streep’s haughty magazine editor Miranda Priestly explains to 20-something assistant Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) the precise provenance of her blue Rayon sweater, from haute couture runway item to the department store rack, to her back.

Food isn’t so different, with trends often starting at the “top” of the industry and gradually trickling down to where you and I are exposed to new flavors and ideas as our regional and local chefs incorporate them into their own kitchens and menus.

One of the great advantages of being in this sweet spot between New York City and Washington, D.C., is that many of our area chefs possess both an awareness of the trends, and the confidence to create some of their own.

So, with the change in seasons from hot and soupy to clear and crisp, we took some of the area’s leaders in the culinary field aside to chat about what they look for in a fall/winter menu, what trends they’re seeing among their peers and competition, and what they’ll be plating for the hungry masses now that cooler weather has kicked in.

Two words that dominated our conversations would be no surprise to anyone who has hunkered down for a long, dreary Delaware winter: comfort food.

Less than a trend, it’s more of a human need to seek out those foods that make us think of the warmth and safety of home, says Amanda Nichols, chef at Cantwell’s Tavern in Odessa. But she indicates that even comfort foods should be prepped with the bathroom scale in mind. 

That Homey Feeling

“I’m not afraid to put lots of butter and cream in things, but I do think that healthier comfort food is going to be the trend this year—people finding classic comfort foods and trying to find healthier ways to prepare them. So, what I’m looking forward to is maybe I’ll use a little less butter,” says Nichols, laughing.

At Home Grown Café in Newark, owner Sasha Aber agrees that it’s important to create that feeling of home during the cooler months.

“Fall and winter are always exciting,” she says. “The bright fruits of summer go, and people are always looking for those warming foods. That’s when we transition to root vegetables, heartier salads and different sides.”

That change also means more density in the dessert menu, with things like apple cider bread pudding and maple syrup crème brulee.

“You’re not hibernating, but you’re not getting your nutrients as much from the sun, so if you can watch your portions, you can still enjoy some of those richer desserts,” Aber says.

Nichols is also seeing a trend toward one-bowl meals, similar to what might be found in a ramen restaurant, but adapted to American tastes. In the red, white and blue version, the bowls take elements usually served separately on the plate and layer them together, creating more complex flavors.

Layering flavors is also one of the goals for David Banks, executive chef for Harry’s Hospitality Group and co-owner of Harry’s Seafood Grill and Harry’s Fish Market in Wilmington. The seasonal trend is to exotic spices and herbs—Mediterranean, Moroccan and Indian—that complement the season.

“As chefs,” says Banks, “we’re all looking for the new flavor profile. We go through our Italian stage, then we go through our Asian phase and then Latin phase, and now I’m on to the Indian phase—those chutneys and spices and aromatics that lend themselves not just to meat, but to vegetables. They’re just great flavors.”

Aber agrees, and that’s a reason her team has long been incorporating flavors of Africa, India and the Middle East.

“Mexican, Indian, whatever you can think of, it’s on our menu because it’s all made fresh and it fits together, so I think we’re unique in that aspect,” she says. “Because we’re smaller, we have that freedom. We run specials twice a week, but if something comes in, we can use it right away. We have a lot more freedom to experiment, and I think our customers expect that from us. They’re looking for something a little different and unique, and we deliver that to them.”

Comfort foods like cassoulets and chilis will appear more often on Banks’ cool-weather menus, as well as game dishes that will often incorporate duck, venison and lamb. But given the fact that seafood and fish are in both restaurants’ names, the fruits of the ocean get their due, as well.

Gourd Season

“For Harry’s Seafood Grill, I always look to October through March as Florida stone crab season,” says Banks. “That’s just a great product that’s literally in season only during that time—they’re not allowed to catch them at other times of the year.”

As far as vegetables go, everyone we spoke to is excited about the squashes, gourds and pumpkins of late fall. They also agreed that the long-percolating farm-to-table movement has expanded to the point where restaurateurs and growers have reached a happy equilibrium. Chefs now know their customers expect to find locally sourced produce on their menus. Meanwhile, the number of farmers of local and heirloom produceas well as sustainably farmed meats and artisan goods like cheeses and pickleshas increased dramatically.

The Hilton Christiana in Newark has reinvented its on-site Hunt Club restaurant into the Market Kitchen and Bar, and Robert Fratticcioli, executive chef, takes the farm-to-table philosophy seriously, looking to source everything he can—fruits and vegetables, meats, beer, and even ice cream—from local producers.

A portion of Christiana Hilton’s herb garden used in dishes for Market Kitchen and Bar. Photo Matt Urban

Those include beer from area brewers, ice cream from Woodside Farm Creamery in Hockessin, and beef for short ribs, flatiron steaks and burgers from Reid Angus in Frankford.

“We’re trying to stay true to our concept of using local, so we’re touring farms in the area looking at things they pickle and jar and trying to do that ourselves through the year using Delaware-grown products,” he says.

Additionally, Fratticcioli buys apples and cider from Milburne Orchards in Elkton, Md. “We’ll run off their calendar for next summer to incorporate their produce in specials from breakfast through dinner,” he says.

And as if farm-to-table wasn’t local enough, Fratticcioli has crossed over into patio-to-table, growing heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers and a wide selection of herbs in the hotel’s own garden. During the winter months, you’re likely to see the examples of the hotel’s summer crop show up in the form of house-made pickles and other preserved delicacies, he says.

The Ugly Squash

To feed Home Grown Café’s focus on locally-grown, Aber says the restaurant lives up to its name by building its seasonal menu around what it gets from its membership in a community supported agriculture (CSA) program that always has a diverse selection of heirloom varieties, including purple and yellow carrots and “ugly on the outside” squash.

“It seems like every fall and winter we do something with that and it’s always really good,” she says. “I just take the flavors as they come and understand that the variety might not be around, but that you use what’s there, because that’s when it’s fresh and delicious.”

With all the focus on using locally sourced ingredients and preserving the summer crop for use during the winter months, it might seem that the restaurant world is stepping back to where the subsistence farmer might have been at the end of the 19th century —using ingredients from root to leaf.

“We’re figuring out how to use things that we’d normally throw away to make something else,” says Cantwell’s Nichols. “In our business, you have to save every penny you can.”

The 26-year-old chef rediscovered the joys of using the entire food and paring down what gets thrown away when she encountered some cost issues after taking over the executive chef role at Cantwell’s. Suddenly, she was reminded that those parts of meats and vegetables typically seen as waste could instead help build the foundations of other dishes. Greens from carrots, for instance, can be incorporated into a vegetable stock. Vegetables cooked down in the stock can be pureed to create the base for a sauce.

Fratticcioli is doing much the same in his kitchen. “We’re using the whole vegetable,” he says, citing the restaurant’s use of the stems of roasted cauliflower to make cauliflower rice. “What you want to do is cut down on your waste by finding ways to use the whole product,” he says.

For her part, Aber stresses that Home Grown Café has been ahead of the root-to-tip curve for some time.

“We’ve been focusing on using all ingredients all along,” she says, noting that even corn cobs go into vegetable stock. “We’re not one of those restaurants getting in things pre-cut and pre-chopped. We get the whole ingredient in all the time and that helps us look at things differently.”

Dining At a Discount

Discount mobile app Spotluck is bringing savings to diners in Wilmington and now Newark—and it’s generating major business for local restaurants

Hotel and airline prices vary from day to day, so why shouldn’t the same be said for restaurant meals during off-peak times?

That’s the thinking behind discount mobile app Spotluck, helmed by Bethesda, Md.-based entrepreneurs Cherian Thomas and Bradford Sayler. The app launched in 15 Wilmington restaurants like Ernest & Scott, Del Pez and FireStone in July and since late August is now available at a handful of Newark locations, including Home Grown Café, Caffè Gelato, Klondike Kate’s, La Casa Pasta, Margherita’s Pizza, Catherine Rooney’s, Arena’s Deli & Bar and more.

Spotluck is a free app available for iPhone and Android users that solves the perpetual “where should we eat” dilemma in a fun way, with algorithms that fluctuate depending on the day, weather and time. For example, the founders don’t believe it makes sense to pay as much at a restaurant on a rainy Tuesday as on a pleasant Friday night, so the former would have a bigger discount. In the app, users can spin a wheel once per day to receive 15-35 percent off to dine at one restaurant randomly chosen by the software—and a 10 percent loyalty discount to all of the app’s other local restaurants.

“It’s a dining adventure, a dining experience—and encourages you to live a little,” says Thomas. “Wilmington is destroying it. It’s doing incredible.”

Between mid-July and mid-August, 5,000 new users signed up in the Wilmington area, and so far, this growth has been mostly through word-of-mouth. Thomas expects that number to double and triple soon, especially when Newark stats start coming in.

The app launched on the East Coast in 2014 and now services neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Maryland, D.C., New York and more.

“We created this two-sided market place that’s a win-win,” says Thomas. “A lot of times the business wins or the customer wins. But with Spotluck, the restaurants win, incentive is smart, and it reaches the masses facing the dining dilemma—whether it’s a husband and wife, coworker, or roommate, everybody argues about where to eat.” Spotluck solves that recurring problem by picking a place at random, he says.

No restaurant chains can participate in the app, and Thomas celebrates the individuality of each participating restaurant. He says the app is very neighborhood-centric, and he wants to highlight the uniqueness of each establishment and its individual story and atmosphere.

David Dietz, owner of BBC Tavern and Grill, is all in. “Spotluck is different from most platforms. To me it’s built with the restaurant in mind,” Dietz says. “Obviously, business is slower on Monday than on Friday. With Spotluck the discounts change based on the day of the week and even the weather. The customer is going to get a bigger discount on a rainy Monday when people are more inclined to stay in than on a sunny Friday when people go out with friends.”

Dietz says the Spotluck owner dashboard also provides insights into guests’ demographics. It shows him how many people have used their Spotluck discount at BBC—250 from July to August—the average age of these guests (42), and what Zip codes they’re coming from.

“Diners have come from 32 different Zip codes already,” Dietz says. 

Joe Van Horn, proprietor of Chelsea Tavern and Ernest & Scott Taproom, has seen similar results, with 220 Spotluck diners between July 14 and mid-August. “It’s free for the consumer and they don’t pay anything out of pocket, like with Groupon, so for some reason, review-wise people aren’t as vicious,” says Van Horn. “And it’s fun.”

For more, visit spotluck.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.”

Burgers Worth Trying

We think you’ll like these local creations

Chelsea Cheeseburger – Chelsea Tavern

Arguably the best burger you can get in downtown Wilmington, the secret here is quality ingredients. Premium beef patty, beer-braised onions, aged white cheddar cheese and on a fresh brioche bun, with of course the bacon add-on. Pair it with hand-cut trio fries and a few of the quality craft beer selections. Makes for the perfect burger experience.

— Tyler Mitchell, Graphic Designer

Kid’s Famous Charcoal Grilled Burger – Kid Shelleen’s Charcoal House & Saloon

What sets it apart? Is it the simplicity of quality, fresh ground chuck? Is it the famous char-grilled flavor? The powerful Wisconsin cheddar? Is it the vine-ripe tomato and crisp iceberg lettuce? Yes, it’s all of these. Simply delicious.

— Matt Loeb, Creative Director & Production Manager

The Dirty Burger – Home Grown Café

This burger is piled with brisket and short rib, cheddar Jack cheese, bacon, tomato, caramelized onions, a secret sauce, and topped with a sunny-side-up egg. Somehow this is also available in vegetarian form, although I haven’t tried that option yet. Arguably a little pricey at $16.50, but remember, this is Home Grown (Main Street, Newark), which means ingredients always made from scratch, with a local, health-conscious focus.

— Krista Connor, Senior Editor & Media Manager

Turkey Burger – Buckley’s Tavern

I know, I know, this historic Centreville tavern has long been known for its Buckley’s Burger. However, I’m a bit of a turkey burger fan and this is a go-to sandwich for me. The key to Buckley’s turkey burger is the lemon herb vinaigrette coupled with arugula. They add guacamole and top with Monterey Jack to provide a healthy yet satisfying alternative to their house favorite.

— Jerry duPhily, Publisher

The Tavern Special – UDairy Creamery Market

The Tavern Special is my favorite burger at the UDairy Creamery on Market Street. It’s a simple, straight-forward burger, just Monterrey Jack cheese, mushrooms and caramelized onions. But three things make it a standout: wonderfully fresh beef, coming directly from the farms of UD’s Ag Department; a choice of regular, ranch, or Old Bay-flavored handmade potato chips, and the option to easily (perhaps too easily) add an ice cream chaser at the same counter. 

— Mark Fields, Contributing Writer

Hereford Beef Burger – Goat Kitchen and Bar

There aren’t a lot of special components to this delicious burger, but the meat is fresh and tender and cooked to juicy perfection. The Hereford Beef Burger ($13.50) does come with one magic ingredient—pimento cheese, which gives an added flair to what would have been a great burger regardless. It also comes with bacon, lettuce and tomato and, for an extra 50 cents, you can add a fried egg to the combination. And the house-made pickles are worth the price of admission to the North Wilmington eatery all by themselves.

— Kevin Noonan, Contributing Writer

Aged Cheddar Burger – 8th & Union Kitchen

Inventiveness is the name of the game at 8th & Union when it comes to burgers, and several could likely make this list. The Smokey marries Gouda and a BBQ dripping aioli for delicious results. With bacon, egg, Swiss and mushrooms, the Kennett is basically two daily meals on one plate. But the Aged Cheddar Burger edges out the others with a sweet, earthy combination of caramelized onions, crispy shallots and sharp cheddar. Its flavor and texture make it a burger that will bring you back again and again.

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

The Scorpion – Grub Burger Bar

For me, spice is the spice of life. That’s why I love the culinary adventure North Wilmington’s Grub Burger Bar serves up in the form of the “Scorpion,” a super-juicy burger topped with pepper Jack cheese, grilled jalapeños, and Grub’s own Trinidad moruga scorpion sauce. Not for the faint-hearted, but spice lovers, rejoice. P.S. Looking for something less adventurous but equally tasty? Grub’s Jive Turkey (ground turkey seasoned with pesto and topped with bacon, Swiss cheese, sprouts and avocado) or Guacapotle (cheddar cheese, chipotle aioli and house-made guacamole) burgers could be right up your alley.

— Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer

Big Bold Blue Burger – Iron Hill Brewery

Iron Hill Brewery on the Wilmington Riverfront is well-known for both beer and tasty burgers. One of the many burger choices is the Big Bold Blue Burger, which is quite a mouthful. For $15, you will have various flavors exploding in your mouth, thanks to the Danish blue cheese, the Applewood smoked bacon, fried onion rings and a soft brioche bun.

— Olivia Ingman, Intern

Best of Philly Burger – Brandywine Prime

Brandywine Prime’s reputation as a top steakhouse in the area is well established, but on Friday nights it’s the burgers that bring them in. That’s Prime’s Half-Price Burger Night, a promotion that started eight years ago and is still going strong. The beef is top quality, so you can’t go wrong with any of the selections. I recommend the Best of Philly, a burger topped with caramelized onions, local mushrooms and Monterey Jack cheese served with house-cut fries on a Le Bus-baked brioche roll. You can get burgers any night at Brandywine Prime, but other than Friday they’re available only in the bar.

— Jerry duPhily, Publisher

Hangover Helper Burger – Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen

My burger-and-fried-egg obsession continues with this tasty item from another Main Street eatery. It’s beefy goodness enhanced with tater tots, bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce. What more is there to say?

— Krista Connor, Senior Editor & Media Manager

Peppercorn Blue Burger – Tonic Bar & Grille

For those of you who tend to order the wedge salad at restaurants where it’s offered, this is a burger for you. Gorgonzola melted on a black-pepper crusted beef patty, dressed with roasted red peppers. Tonic has earned a reputation in downtown Wilmington for its steaks, but their burgers should not be overlooked—particularly this one. It’s a burger with bite. For more, see tonicbargrille.com.

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

Redfire Burger – Redfire Grill & Steakhouse

My first introduction to a Redfire burger was several years ago at Burger Battle, back in the days when the event was held on the grounds of Twin Lakes Brewery. It was the best burger I tasted that day and many others agreed, as it was named a People’s Choice winner that year. The Redfire features aged cheddar and maple pepper bacon, but it’s the addition of Redfire’s own Thousand Island dressing that sets this burger apart.

— Sophie duPhily

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 Cocktails Worth Trying

A few drinks we think you may enjoy

T.S.O.H. Mule – Trolley Square Oyster House

Like a drink that’s spicy yet refreshing? Yes, I realize that doesn’t make sense, but don’t knock it until you try it. With the T.S.O.H. Mule at Trolley Oyster House, you can build your own mule. My favorite is the Jalapeño Tequila with ginger beer and fresh lime.

— Matthew Loeb, Creative Director/Production Manager

Davie Jones’ Locker – Copperhead Saloon

Maybe it was the seafaring—or rather, sea-sinking—title that originally drew me to this house specialty cocktail at Copperhead Saloon, a refreshingly charming bar half-hidden away off Kennett Pike in Greenville. It’s the kind of place where Robert Louis Stevenson, Zelda Fitzgerald, Jesse James and Jane Austen could all sit down together and enjoy stimulating conversation, I’d like to believe. This particular cocktail is a rum-lemony blend, but there are others to choose from, too, featuring equally period-specific language like A Maiden’s Blush and Gallows Humor. The bar also includes classic cocktails categorized by pre-Prohibition, Prohibition and post-Prohibition styles. 

— Krista Connor, Senior Editor & Media Manager

Lavender Drop Top – House of William and Merry

Made with Grey Goose, Chambord, lavender honey, fresh lemon juice and lavender sugar rim, this is a refreshing, unique cocktail that is not too sweet or overpowering but has an unusual summer twist. With the appealing scent of lavender—often used to help bring on sleep—this beverage has a calming effect at the end of a long day.

— Julie Wenger, Out & About Contributor

The Classic Margarita – Cocina LoLo

I make this recommendation with cautious optimism. Right now Cocina LoLo is “closed for the summer but will reopen in September.” I hope that’s true, because their Classic Margarita is exactly what a margarita should be: Blue Agave Tequila (Gold tequila? Who wants that?), Cointreau and fresh-squeezed lime. No neon yellow or green nasty sour mix. Perfection. If you like tequila and a little kick, I also recommend the Hey Mamacita, served at LoLo’s sister restaurant, Merchant Bar (currently open). Jalapeño-infused tequila, Mezcal, lemon, fresh pineapple juice and vanilla. It’s the perfect balance of not-too-spicy or sweet.

— Marie Graham Poot, Out & About Contributor

Frozé (frozen rosé wine) – Constitution Yards

As a vino enthusiast, it’s sometimes challenging to find other offerings to gratify my grape-loving palate. In the heat of the summer, I usually enjoy a chilled dry rosé. Now, I’ve found my wine in the ultimate summertime form—as a frozen drink. This recent national trend has hit Wilmington’s Constitution Yards, where the bartenders make the concoction themselves and assured me “it’s really made with a rosé, not white zinfandel.” (White zinfandel is often a cloyingly sweet wine; rosés can be either sweet or dry.) The slushy, just-a-hint-of-sweet Frozé is perfect for hot nights along the river. But I warn you, it goes down easily. Cheers!

— Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer

Basil Smash – Ubon Thai Cuisine

A local veteran in the restaurant industry recently shared with me a disturbing lament: the fear that bartending was in danger of becoming a lost art, and that newbies were relying too much on premade mixes for their drinks. That vet would be proud to meet Ty Naughton, Ubon’s young mixologist, who makes most of his drinks on the spot with fresh ingredients whenever possible. Other than the ingredients simple syrup and basil, Naughton’s recipe for the Basil Smash is a radical departure from the “traditional” version: replacing gin and lemon slices with Knob Creek Rye and lime—as well as adding bitters and a touch of St. Germaine.

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications